Awarded to Equal Experts UK Limited

Start date: Wednesday 1 November 2017
Value: £2,000,000
Company size: large
Her Majesty’s Passport Office.

Her Majesty’s Passport – Digital Application Processing – Delivery Team Supporting Casework Team

9 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 4 large

14 Completed applications

7 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Friday 7 July 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 14 July 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 21 July 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
By 2019 we need to create a new service delivering front end and back end back end capability for all users / application types.

Suppliers will be responsible for activities/deliverables alongside existing Agile team members.

We expect teams consisting of;
- Front End / Back End Developers
- Business Analysts
Latest start date
Monday 7 August 2017
Expected contract length
Up to 2 years
Organisation the work is for
Her Majesty’s Passport Office.
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
HMPO's 2020 vision moves passport applications online for the majority of customers and shifts assessment to a risk based, digital approach which will increase the capability to identify fraud.

The DAP project is responsible for building the capability to deliver an in house case working, workflow and checking capability to support the production of passport applications, currently the responsibility of an external provider.

With HMPO's contracts with existing strategic partners coming to an end in 2019, the DAP service has to be ready to take over all application processing by this date.
Problem to be solved
To achieve the HMPO Transformation agenda, DAP needs to introduce risk-based approaches to application assessments, resulting in automation of low risk applications and more time for in depth examination of higher risk cases
By 2019 we must create a new service for application processing which meet users’ needs.

Delivering the front end and back end back end capability to support the User Case working screens required to service all users and all application types. The Team will need to work closely with the User Researcher s and Content / Iteration Designers and the wider Agile Team.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a user the HMPO passport staff need a system that automates passport applications where safe and practical to do so.
To enable them to concentrate on the more complex cases that can never be automated.
So that HMPO can achieve its 2020 vision and 2019 contract objectives and build the capability to deliver an in house case working, workflow and checking capability to support the production of passport applications.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Over the last 12 months we have almost completed work on the initial Discovery Phase for British Overseas Territories (BOTs). However we are now concentrating on UK Adult On-line Renewal applications through our new Digital service.

We have been working with users to identify casework needs and have completed some prototypes but to continue moving at pace and meet the 2019 delivery timescale to have created a service by which applications can be processed and which meets our user needs, we need to recruit specialist skills to support the continuation of this work.
Existing team
There are currently two cross-functional teams working on these services and capabilities. HM Passport Office anticipates the supplier team will work with these existing capabilities, as well as build new ones for the provision of shared services from this platform.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Central London (near to Victoria / Westminster/ Fleet Street)
Working arrangements
We expect the supplier to:

- Work collaboratively with existing cross-functional teams transforming application processing.

- Focus on evidence-based skills transfer between supplier and civil servant team members.

- Be on site at least four days per week collaborating with teams and User Researchers Content/Interaction Designers.

- Be responsible for travel and expenses to normal workplace.

- Align service design and development with the HM Passport Office strategic technical architecture and technologies.

- Be aware that this arrangement may also be used by other Programmes within HM Passport Office and across the Home Office.
Security clearance
SC Clearance is required. HM Passport Office will support the clearance process

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Breakpoints to assess progress and quality will be set at the end of alpha and beta phases.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • We want to recruit an established team who have a good working relationship – who can work well together and blend their skills set together to meet objectives.
  • Team members need to be self-starters and self-managing, capable of working at a fast pace
  • Excellent communicators both from wider team perspective and with users and stakeholders alike.
  • looking for clear evidence of how the proposed team has moved an organisation and its people forward on a journey from a staid way of working to a new concept.
  • We want to utilise an outcome based model rather than a headcount one to allow flex in the resources needed to meet the work.
  • All Team members must meet the essential criteria as set out GDS job description requirements for the roles supplied which at a high level are.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Proven experience of working in an agile development environment with designers and developers and product managers to create new digital products and services
  • Previous experience within government services.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets your organisation’s policy or goal
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
  • Evidence of ability to provide high quality professionals
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Do you have any idea of budget at this stage?
In the region of 2million pounds over the 24 month period.
2. One of the Essential Questions looks incomplete. "All Team members must meet the essential criteria as set out GDS job description requirements for the roles supplied which at a high level are." Could you please clarify what you are looking for?
Apologies the word count impacted on this. We would expect the roles to cover the following skills:
- Business Analyst
- Full-stack Developer (Node & Java); could be split into front end and /or back end developers
3. Looking at the specification there is no mention of technologies that are expected to be used on the programme. Does this mean that the department is looking for a technology agnostic provider or do you have any technologies which it is important to have significant experience of?
The technology that we are using to build the platform is already defined. New capabilities will need to be agreed with our architecture teams.
4. Part of our approach is to ensure that our projects will deliver quantified benefit for our customers. We are typically engaged early in the project lifecycle to support business case generation and assessment of total cost of ownership and Return on Investment over an agreed period. Does a business case already exist for this project? If so, can you please share the anticipated benefits overview?
Further detail will be shared on the successful bidder’s contract start.
5. If a business case does not exist, is HMPO receptive to us supporting this initiative before any significant investment in technology is made? This will protect HMPO’s investment via a business case linked to improvements covering a) revenue generation b) cost reduction c) cost avoidance d) risk reduction and d) customer experience/satisfaction.
Further detail will be shared on the successful bidder’s contract start.
6. Please advise if an official project plan is available with indicative timescales for delivery?
This will be supplied to potential suppliers who are invited to the next phase
7. What, in your opinion based on what we know today, is the biggest risk faced by this project? What could stop this project from moving forward?
Management of cross-Departmental dependencies creates the most significant risk to impact upon delivery timescales.
8. Has the process, resources (internal and external) and timescales been agreed with HMPO stakeholders at this stage?
The high level delivery timescales have been agreed and interim milestones are indicative and have been shared with stakeholders. We are replacing existing legacy systems and therefore have a hard delivery milestone of April 2019.
9. Has a specific investment budget been allocated based on the estimated total value of the engagement?
The spend for this project falls under the wider HM Passport Office Transformation spend.
10. As part of this process, will we be allowed to meet HMPO stakeholders to understand what key decision makers see as a successful outcome for this engagement and how to best approach the project – both technically and commercially?
The successful bidder will be required to interact with key stakeholders throughout the development of the project.
11. Is HMPO able to share a copy of the evaluation / success criteria and the weighting of each that has been agreed with stakeholders / decision makers? We understand the business requirements though not clear if this is the same as buying criteria.
This will be supplied to potential suppliers who are invited to the next phase.
12. In your experience, what makes one external partner more successful than another? How can we add value when working with HMPO above and beyond delivering technical skills? e.g. drivers for innovation, shared-risk model, knowledge transfer as organisation moves to self-sufficiency, leveraging investment as a new revenue stream etc.
Teams within HM Passport Office are a balance between Supplier and Civil Servants and need to be fully collaborative and, where appropriate, suppliers are expected to upskill the team.
13. Has any work been done to improve the current process architecture? For example, has HMPO implemented or have plans to implement process improvement techniques such as Lean Six Sigma?
Work undertaken to improve our process architecture has involved a number of industry standard approaches including; Lean and Continuous improvement, and HM Passport Office’s own ‘Operational Excellence’ Programme. This work will continue as we move through the phases of the project.
14. What level of experience do HMPO stakeholders have with business process management methodologies and technologies? For example, is the differentiation between workflow automation and benefits offered by more mature business process management suites clear, or is this an opportunity for us to help clarify HMPO requirements to ensure best choice of technology prior to investment?
HM Passport Office has a significant level of experience around business process management methodologies. There may be opportunities to make suggestions around possible technology as part of the project in the future.
15. Is there agreed business/solution architecture available for HMPO?
Further details will be shared with the successful supplier.
16. Is there a clear IT roadmap for products that HMPO want to work with e.g. defined solutions covering document management, self-service portal, integration?
This is in development. Further details will be shared with the successful supplier.
17. Does HMPO IT have a clear mandate for Software-as-a-Service or on premise solutions?
18. Is HMPO open to vendors potentially providing solutions on a fixed-price or alternative basis that will reduce the total cost of ownership over the life of the project?
We will be evaluating on Time & Materials only, as advertised in the Contract Notice.
19. Please confirm who from the HMPO (roles, job titles) will review the bids so we can tailor content accordingly.
Details are still being finalised but reviewers will be made up from the following job roles:

Service Manager
Product Manger
Portfolio Director
Senior Project Manager
Chief Technology Officer
Commercial lead
20. Please provide a breakdown of how technical weightings will be divided per essential skill and experience?
This will be supplied to potential suppliers who are invited to the next phase.
21. Have existing third party suppliers been working with HMPO to help shape HMPO's thinking on TOM's? If so, who has been involved to date?
Third-party suppliers have been used to support the development of Target Operational Models. This work is not relevant to this procurement, and details of the Supplier are therefore withheld due to commercial sensitivity.
22. Does HMPO have an Agile methodology you are working within e.g. Scaled-Agile Framework (SAFe) or Disciplined-Agile-Delivery (DAD)?
No, we have a flexible blended approach; taking the best from the industry standard models as applicable.
23. Can HMPO outline what work has been completed to date on the proposed operating model?
This is restricted information, which will be shared on the successful bidder’s contract start.
24. Is there a dedicated Product Owner for this project?
There are several Product Owners, alongside a Service Manager.
25. In our experience, lots of suppliers tend to sub-contract and use contractors to deliver projects like this. Does the HMPO have a strong preference for permanent staff vs. contractors, who may fall within IR35?
No, providing you still meet the essential criteria.
26. Can you please outline steps and dates in the procurement timetable, up to and including supplier award, i.e. proposal or presentation dates?
This will be supplied to potential suppliers who are invited to the next phase.