Awarded to Valtech Ltd.

Start date: Monday 13 November 2017
Value: £2,200,000
Company size: SME
Civil Service Human Resources (CSHR)

Recruitment Platform for Government Beta

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

10 Completed applications

7 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Friday 8 September 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 15 September 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 22 September 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To design and build 3 services meeting user needs and Digital Service Standards:
- Civil Service Career site & publishing system; probably Wordpress
- Cloud based recruitment platform providing a front-end candidate experience, integration with recruitment systems/services
- Technical framework: infrastructure (hosting, dev tools, testing), integration layer, shared services/components
Latest start date
Wednesday 1 November 2017
Expected contract length
2 years
South West England
Organisation the work is for
Civil Service Human Resources (CSHR)
Budget range
£1.5m to £2.2m

About the work

Why the work is being done
CSHR want to modernise the digital recruitment service and experience offered; after completing Discovery/Alpha projects researching and developing our understanding of recruitment user needs and some investigation around the technical framework required. We want to design a user experience optimised for all users and develop a technical architecture able to integrate modern cloud based services across the whole recruitment journey. We want to build a platform to replace the current Civil Service Jobs system and develop/enable shared components/services across the digital products within our portfolio: Learning Platform for Government, Fast Stream and Early Talent Recruitment and Civil Service Careers site.
Problem to be solved
To meet current and future recruitment needs, the Civil Service needs a modern cloud-based technical architecture that integrates recruitment platforms and services to deliver a complete customer experience that meet all user needs. The solution needs to identify, integrate and share technical capabilities and services across a range of products and meet GDS standards. To do this, we need a delivery team with the capabilities of technical design, UX design, data modelling and service design leads, full stack and front-end developers, delivery manager, user researchers, content designers to join the existing internal team to deliver the outputs required.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a
Candidate, I need to find and apply for jobs in the civil service, so I can progress my career.
Hiring manager, I need an easy way to manage my vacancies, to get the right person and minimise time investment.
Recruiter, I need an easy way to manage a large and complex set of vacancies, so recruitment can be quick, efficient and achieve good outcomes
CSHR, we want the technical flexibility to swap in and out recruitment systems, to meet future recruitment needs, avoid vender lock-in and gain efficiencies from having more control over the continous improvement process.
Early market engagement
We have met with a number of cloud based recruitment service providers to understand how they can meet our user needs and support our proposed high-level technical architecture and target operating model. During the Alpha stage we developed a prototype candidate interface working with 2 Applicant Tracking System (ATS) suppliers to understand the technical options of CSHR owning and buiding a separate front end and linking at a data level to multiple ATS systems as part of the back office process and service. For the Career site element we have worked with GDS to understand how we could re-use elements of their Wordpress campaign sites.
Any work that’s already been done
CSHR Digital team have completed full discovery and alpha phases of the project that have identified a detailed set of problem statements and user needs and established an understanding of the high level technical framework required. During Alpha we developed a front end prototype and working with 2 ATS suppliers developed our thinking around the technical framework required to manage the recruitment experience and meet user needs. We have also begun to look at the wider enterprise architecture required to integrate the recruitment, learning and career site services managed by the Digital team.
Existing team
The internal team consists of a Service Manager, Product manager, Delivery manager, Head of UX, User Researcher and Senior Business Analyst and Stakeholder/Comms Manager. The delivery team will be required to work with the ATS supplier and also suppliers of commercial products that are used as part of the recruitment platform. There will also be a requirement to work with the delivery team who are delivering the Learning platform.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
101 Victoria Street | Bristol | BS1 6BU and London base tbc
Working arrangements
The core team is required to be co-located with the current team in Bristol, work on the Career site will require a London base. Remote working can be discussed, we are willing to provide some flexibility. We work Mon-Fri standard office hours. Travel will be paid to locations other than your agreed project base location. We operate standard agile working methodology with daily stand-ups, sprint planning, two-week sprints, fortnightly demos and retrospectives and use physical Kanban wall alongside digital tools such as Confluence/Trello. We would expect the proposed team to integrate with this way of working.
Security clearance
Basic security is required for all members of the team.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

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
  • Expertise in solutions that utilise Service Orientated Architecture and micro services (10 points)
  • Expertise in cloud technologies: design, planning. security, integration, whilst remaining Cloud provider agnostic (10 points)
  • Highly experienced in designing, developing and using APIs (REST/SOAP) and defining data structures and models for applications that can scale and deliver high performance and availability (10 points)
  • Be able to architect robust systems and display knowledge about system security risks and how to pragmatically mitigate them (10 points)
  • Experience of the analysis and architecture of BI and data models (10 points)
  • Experience of effective identification and use of open source software components (10 points)
  • Experience in relational and non-relational databases in multiple formats (10 points)
  • Experience with automated (testing) including TDD/BDD environments, continuous integration, delivery/deployment, particularly version control and source code management (e.g. GitHub), containers (e.g. Docker) and continuous integration (e.g. Jenkins) (10 points)
  • Expertise in Agile delivery (e.g., Scrum, Kanban etc.) as outlined in the Government Service Design Manual and using BDD and TDD (10 points)
  • Experience of delivery in Data Engineering and Data Management Services, especially in a sensitive data environment (10 points)
  • Expertise in coaching/mentoring less skilled people, leaving a legacy (10 points)
  • Experience of creating user experiences that comply to Gov.UK guidelines for design, interaction, accessability and assisted digital (10 points)
  • Experience of creating user experiences that are clearly and demonstrably meeting user needs and evidenced through interative testing and research (10 points)
  • Experience of providing a multi disciplined team who will work together and in partnership with internal teams and other suppliers to deliver projects (20 points)
  • Experience of meeting GDS Digital Service Standards (10 points)
  • Experience of service design to meet user needs and Digital service standards (10 points)
  • Be flexible with programming languages to meet business requirements (10 points)
  • Have a robust security management system which addresses physical, personnel, procedural and technical risks and must be willing to acquire Cyber Essential Plus certification in agreed timescales. (20points)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of recruitment platforms would be desirable (5 points)
  • Experience of GaaP products: Verify/Notify (5 points)
  • Experience of designing services to meet Assisted Digital requirements(5 points)
  • Experience of desigining a cloud based infrastructure and services to meet user requirements and provide value for money (5 points)
  • Experience of delivering to meet ISO27001:2013 (5 points)
  • ISO27001 certification and Cyber Essentials Plus Certified (5 points)
  • Demonstrable ability to design secure solutions in accordance with NCSC security design principles (5 points)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Outline how you will help CSHR achieve VFM throughout the Beta phase (90 points)
  • It's important the core delivery team contains a strong FTE backbone in roles critical to the success of the project. Propose your team structure that addresses this need (100 points)
  • Outline the experience and skills of the proposed team and how these will help to achieve a quality outcome. Please include CVs (100 points).
  • How will you ensure the skills and knowledge required will be maintained throughout the project and that staff changes will not impact delivery or continuity (100 points)
  • Outline using an example, how the team proposed will work collaboratively with internal teams/projects to deliver the project vision, translating the high-level product vision into an agreed/understood backlog. (100 points)
  • Outline how they intend to approach the project and methodology, including how they intend to collaborate and integrate with other project teams. (90 points)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers (20 points)
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions (20 points)
  • Take responsibility for their work; ensuring a no blame culture and encouraging people to learn from their mistakes (20 points)
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members and work with clients with low technical expertise (20 points)
  • Challenge the status quo and be comfortable standing up for their discipline (20 points)
  • Ensure there is clear and agreed leadership structure within your team (20 points)
  • Ability to work within a Programme context managing dependencies alongside the Agile principles for Project Delvery (20 points)
  • Be innovative and pro active promoting ideas for continuous improvement (20 points)
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you clarify the requirement for ISO27001 certification and Cyber Essentials Plus certified? Our assumption is that any hosted solutions would need to meet the requirements as specified in ISO27001 and CE Plus, but not that the delivery supplier itself necessarily needs to be ISO27001 and CE Plus certified.
The preferred supplier will be required to either be ISO27001 certified or make a commitment to achieve certification within agreed timescales. If certification is not feasible, then the supplier will need to commit to supporting an Authority led due diligence process.
2. Which programming languages are anticipated (or preferred) at this stage? We can see WordPress is preferred for the publishing system - but in terms of the recruitment platform is there a current preference and why? There are no technical resources mentioned in the internal project team, will there be access to any internal IT/Digital resource? Can you give some further detail about "suppliers of commercial products" so we can better understand the overall solution landscape - who we will need to interact with and why?
JAVA was used heavilly during our Alpha phase, but we're open minded about the programming languages which are used. We would like to use the right language for the job and are willing to negotiate.
3. There are 3 components of this contract, do you have an anticipated budget split between the publishing system, recruitment platform and cloud infrastructure?
It's hard to say with certainty right now, although as the publishing system will be based on an off the shelf CMS and templates with little dynamic content, this would most likely require the least amount of budget.
4. With regards team location, which roles do you see as essential on-site in Bristol and London. Can we assume that developers are not required on site as much as User Researchers (for example)?
In terms of location, we envisage the publishing system team to be based in London. We have office space challenges so would welcome this team working out of a suppliers office. In Bristol we would prefer the entire team to be predominately based there although we can discuss some degree of remote working. We do see the value of regular, face-to-face collaboration.
5. How quickly do you envisage a deploy of Beta?
We would target a deploy of the publishing system for the careers site beta before Christmas 2017 (in a limited form). We would want to release a beta of the job site by the end of March 2018. We expect to iterate this all through 2018.
6. What sort of support and iteration period is anticipated (or desired)? Can you detail the SLA required for BETA product support?
We can't specify the SLA for the beta product support. We would expect to do this as part of the chosen supplier's ongoing engagemdnt once we understand what it is we have delivered and how it needs to be supported.
7. Can you expand on the requirements around BI data. For example do you need the supplier to create insight dashboards for stakeholders? Will you require ongoing support from data analysts? How will this data be used by the organisation? Do you know which database formats are likely to be utilised in this project, or is this as yet undefined? Are there any recommendations based on Discovery and Alpha phases? What will be the editorial workflow for publishing vacancies? Who will be involved, what stages of approval are required? (This could impact the choice of OS software for the publishing tool)
The creation of dashboards will be supplied by the ATS. We require data modelling skills as a large amount of data will need migrating from the current to future ATS and for the abstracted candidate interface.
Data is used to measure the cost and effectiveness of our recruitment activity.
We may want to develop functionality to combine datasets from other HR sources but this is currently unknown. Data is a core part of this service and we require skilled people to analyse, model and use data.
Database formats and editorial flow of publishing vacancies will be agreed during project initiation.
8. How many content administrators will there be for the publishing tool? How are they organised? Have you mapped user roles for the publishing tool, if so can these be detailed at this stage? How will admin users be authenticated to publish content, is there a SSO architecture in place that we should be aware of? Are we to assume that all vacancies will be published in English and there will be no requirement for multi-lingual support?
Content adminstrator numbers are undefined right now. We would expect this to reach a theoretical limit of 200-300. Work is underway to define roles. We would expect it to consist of a version of a standard setup: Site admin (super user), section editors with publishing rights, content editors with content creation but not publishing rights. Authentication is TBC but most likely not SSO led.
Some vacancies will need to be offered as a Welsh language version. The textual content will be mastered in the ATS (dual language development will be done by the ATS vendor).
9. Will BPSS clearance suffice for all project team members? Could you please clarify what you mean by Data Engineering with an example?
BPSS is fine.
Data engineering refers to a subset of software engineering where someone has a high level of expertise in defining the structure and behaviour of data across a service made up of various micro-services. It also refers to the work to determine how we transition recruitment data from one ATS to another without loss of data or service.
10. Do all the ATS providers that you work with provide APIs to integrate with their systems? Do you foresee any problems with any of your providers?
The current system is not API first and we'll struggle to interact with its services via APIs. We are still going through the process of contracting a new ATS, and our requirements include the need to have access to services via APIs.
11. Please provide info on Data and User Volumes, No of concurrent users planned at any given point of time, Data Volumes by content – images ..etc
760,000 application a year, 190,000 online test each year, 43,000 job adverts created, 120,000 sessions a day.
12. Please provide planned NFR (Non-Functional Requirements) --Target rendering devices with browser versions / OS versions --Availability requirements --Performance requirements --Localization / Globalization, if so how many languages planned for?"
Site will need to work for a wide section of users accessing using PC, mobile and tablet. We currently support from IE9 and above.
Availability is 24/7 with any scheduled downtime outside of core office hours (7-7).
We would expect to specify availablity and performance KPIs as part of a project initiation.
13. Does application should support mobile? if yes, what are the platforms/versions it must support?
Yes, the application will need to utilise best practice in this area. For example:
* Progressive enhancement
* Responsive Web Design
* Mobile first design

46% of users are either on a mobile or tablet device.

A list of browsers and versions which should be tested with are listed here:

Top 10 browsers used on current platform:
1. Chrome
2. Safari
3. Internet Explorer
4. Edge
5. Samsung Internet
6. Firefox
7. Safari (in-app)
8. Android Webview
9. Amazon Silk
10. Android Browser
14. Do we need to integrate with Social media?
Decision not currently made, but we would imagine that a career site would have a level of integration with social media channels, as would job adverts on the job website.
15. How many users are there in current system?
~2.5 Million
This includes circa 2 million non-civil servant accounts & circa 500,000 civil servant accounts
16. Do we need to migrate data? If yes, what is the size of the data? Which database is used in current system?
Yes, we'll be needing to migrate users across, along with basic user related information. Size is unscoped, but we can confirm that the database is MySQL. It's also envisaged that we'll need to migrate organisational information (e.g. organisation name, logo, email address)
17. What is current system technology stack?
Not sure if this is relevant, as we're using SaaS and therefore don't own any of the stack.

For current ATS it's:
18. What are the standards & compliances current system following?
WCAG AA, HTML5, CSS3, ISO27001, UK Legislation, Cyber Security Essentials
19. Can you please outline steps and dates in the procurement timetable, up until supplier award i.e. Proposal or presentation dates?
Evaluation of initial evidence - w/c 25th Sept
Publish Request for Proposal to Shortlisted Suppliers- w/c 25th Sept
Evaluation of proposals - w/c 9th Oct
Supplier Presentations - w/c 16th Oct
Contract Award - w/c 23rd Oct
20. We note Wordpress is mentioned in the Summary of work. Have the outputs of Alpha confirmed this technology choice?
The choice is based on a number of factors:
We wish to utilise an existing Wordpress theme.
Wordpress is used for a number of other content channels, such as blogs, which will quicken any potential integrations.
It is a publishing platform that many developers are familiar with.
21. Can we ask who the current ATS supplier is?
The current ATS supplier is WCN
22. Can CSHR confirm whether the roles listed in the 'Existing team' section are expected to be full-time on this project?
The internal roles listed are all full time on the project.
23. In the 'problem to be solved' section, a list of capabilities is listed that is required from the delivery team. Is the supplier expected to provide all of these capabilities or will these be shared between the supplier and CSHR?
The internal team listed will provide capabilities around the Service and Product management, Business Analysis , User insight and user testing; we are expecting the supplier to provide the capabilities on the more technical and specialist roles listed.
24. In the 'problem to be solved' section, a list of capabilities is listed that is required from the delivery team. Is the supplier expected to provide all of these capabilities or will these be shared between the supplier and CSHR?
The internal team listed will provide capabilities around the Service and Product management, Business Analysis , User insight and user testing; we are expecting the supplier to provide the capabilities on the more technical and specialist roles listed.
25. In the 'working arrangements' section, it is stated a site in London will be required. Are CSHR expecting the successful supplier to provide this space?
Ideally yes. We are constrained for space in London.
26. This is a big piece of work with quite a broad scope. Do you have any fixed deadlines or milestones, and if so, what are they? What might be the minimum viable product?
Yes: publishing platform to be ready in a limited beta by end of Dec 2017.
We would like a limited version of the candidate job site live by the end of March 2018.
We want to migrate all recruitment from the current platform to the new platform by end of 2018 (configuration and preparation of new ATS is out of scope for this piece of work, but integration of new ATS with candidate job site IS in scope).
The specifics of a MVP would be agreed with the chosen supplier during a project initiation phase.
27. What sort of measurements do you use to evaluate how well the existing service is performing? What are the most important things for the new service to achieve, and how are you planning to measure them?
Within recruitment three of the most measurements are:
Time to hire
Cost of hire
Quality of hire
Within the digital service we focus on the above and also:
New Vs returning visitors
Job searches per user
Job adverts viewed per user
Time spent on job advert
Application form conversion rate...
28. Have you already signed up with one or another of the ATSs?
No contracts or agreements are in place with any ATS suppliers as part of this project. This will be covered by a separate procurement exercise.
29. Which aspects of the recruitment platform will the ATS take care of, and which parts need to be built as part of this work?
ATS is used to create vacancy; create make up of the application form; publish vacancies to job sites; capture and compute candidate assessment; manage communication with candidate; process pre-employment checks - it is essentially the workflow management tool for the person hiring and professional internal recruiters.
The creation of a candidate website; the means of integrating the ATS with it; the integration tools for other recruitment services is within the scope of this work."
30. The text in 'Early Market Engagement' implies that you might be planning to integrate with more than one ATS. Is this the case, and if so, why?
There are a number of pre-existing ATS currently used in other government departments. Jobs from those ATSs need to have a way to be published to the candidate website.
31. Leaving a legacy' is one of the required skills for bidding on this contract. Could you give us a sense of what are you hoping to achieve here?
As we progress through the project we will eventually be in a 'steady state' BAU mode where we will want to take more internal responsibility for the management of the service and to do this will nessessitate the supplier helping train and support internal staff.
32. What technologies do you use for CS Careers, Fast Stream and the Learning Platform, and how old are these services?
CS Careers doesn't yet exist. Fast Stream uses a number of technologies but Scala is the main development technology. The service is less than 2 years old. The current Learning Platform is based on Drupal/Moodle however it is also being rebuilt from the ground up and there are no plans to re-use existing technology.
33. Under nice to have, it states that experience of recruitment platforms would be desirable, is that working with or developing them?
Any knowledge / experience of working with recruitment platforms would be advantagous, as would recruitment API's, business processes and how they are set up.
34. What's the thinking behind using Wordpess?
It is widely used in government including for the Campaigns site which will allow us to build on existing arrangements. Also, the market is well stocked with expertise and is simple to use and maintain in future.
35. How many integrations will there be?
Key areas include (but not restricted to): posting jobs, applying for jobs, pre-employment checking, integration with 3rd party providers.
36. Do you have preferred hosting provider, or are you looking for advice?
No preferred provider, but we would be seeking advice on solutions to meet our requirements. We have done some research. We would need to meet security standards and services built would not be hard coded to the hosting environment.
37. Can you share the problem statements?
We will not be sharing these as part of the procurement exercise.
38. Some integrations are pre-built between Oracle and Taleo, have we looked at / considered these.
At this stage we have not and this will be looked at more through our ATS procurement on G-Cloud 9.
39. Can we share integration requirements?
Key areas include (but not restricted to): posting jobs, applying for jobs, pre-employment checking, integration with 3rd party providers.