Awarded to Marvell Consulting Limited

Start date: Monday 18 December 2017
Value: £3,000,000
Company size: SME
Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) in Home Office Security, Science and Innovation

Licensed use of animals in science copy

5 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 0 large

8 Completed applications

6 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Monday 18 September 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 25 September 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 2 October 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The alphas entail the designing and testing, with real users, of multiple solutions to the 5 problems identified in the discovery, and the demonstration of their technical feasibility.

The private beta will build the best solutions from the alphas in production-ready code, alongside ongoing user testing.
Latest start date
Monday 4 December 2017
Expected contract length
Organisation the work is for
Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) in Home Office Security, Science and Innovation
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The use of animals in experiments and testing is regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Licences for establishments, projects and individuals are managed by the Home Office, in England, Scotland and Wales.

The contract for the existing animal science licensing software is due to expire in August 2018.

The Home Office is looking for a suitable digital replacement that enables the Home Office to meet its regulatory obligations under the Act and fully meets user needs.
Problem to be solved
The digital solution must facilitate end-to-end licence management for establishment, personal and project licences.

Establishment licences reflect the facilities of the establishment. Personal licences reflect the qualifications of the individual.

Complex project proposals are assessed before a decision on a project licence is made. These proposals require the remote collaboration between several parties.

All licences require regular updates.

Historic, current and future data must be secure, but accessible to relevant parties to help ensure compliance.

The solution must be available to all users by August 2018. Meaning work must successfully be assessed at end of alpha and private beta phases.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Licence applicants/holders work at universities and bioscience companies across the UK in pharmaceutical development, academic research and safety testing.

Various named officers within establishments have roles in the application and management of licences.

In 2016:

• there were 2,631 active project licences, 542 new project licences and 1,012 amendments
• there were 16,178 active personal licences, 3,424 new personal licences and 591 amendments
• here were 167 active establishment licences, 3 new establishment licences and 159 amendments.

Home Office staff assess and process applications, inspect establishments and respond to Parliamentary questions and FOIs.
Early market engagement
Not applicable
Any work that’s already been done
A detailed discovery identifying user needs and exploring pain points has been carried out internally.

Research took place at several establishments around the UK.

The work resulted in the identification of 5 alphas, which will be explored in the next phase of work by the chosen supplier.
Existing team
The team that worked on the discovery is now allocated to other projects, but available for consultation.

The team from the Home Office that will work alongside the chosen supplier includes a product manager, a service owner and subject matter experts are available.

Some liaising with the incumbent supplier may be required.

Access to inspectors and end users for research will be arranged.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
There’s flexibility with location, but close cooperation and some co-locating will be necessary.

The Animal Science Regulation Unit is based in London and Croydon.

Contextual research is essential, so travel to the various universities and companies around the UK will be required.

The working arrangements will be reviewed and adjusted to find the style that’s most suitable.
Working arrangements
The team must use agile methodologies, with regular stand ups and show and tells.

Contextual research should be recorded and stored securely so the research assets can be given to the Home Office. User research must be carried out in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct ( ) .
Security clearance
All contractors working on the project will need to undergo a CTC security check.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Home Office travel and subsistence policy
Exit Activities
Ethical Wall

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
  • Accessibility and assisted digital: You must have experience building, or demonstrable knowledge of how to build, inclusive services that everyone can use
  • Multidisciplinary team: You must have the necessary, skilled professionals required to fill all roles within the delivery team
  • Prototyping and usability testing: You must take a user-centred approach to iterative design
  • Data—led decisions: You must make design and build decisions based on understanding of data rather than opinions
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Government delivery: experience of (or detailed understanding of) successfully designing, testing and building digital services for government
  • Government service design: experience (or detailed understanding of) using the digital service manual and design patterns, following the technology code of practice and style guide
  • Agile phase and service assessments: experience taking digital services though alpha and beta assessments

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology (25%)
  • How the approach or solution meets the requirement (20%)
  • Identification of risks and dependencies (5%)
  • Team structure and capabilities (10%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Willingness to fully integrate with Home Office staff to form a single team, with clear, unified objectives (2%)
  • Ability to work openly together, honestly tracking progress, sharing problems, and glad to learn from the valuable mistakes we make along the way (4%)
  • Open-minded, collaborative approach to problem solving, showing recognition in the value of everyone’s contributions (4%)
  • Unafraid to challenge the status quo, a desire to get to the nub of the problem, an appreciation of how legacy services can sometimes differ from the intended solution (4%)
  • Demonstrable evidence-based approach to decision making; using insight from user testing to influence designs, rather than it being used to validate assumptions (3%)
  • Sensitivity towards spending taxpayers’ money and ensuring value (3%)
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please could you provide an indicative budget for this project. This helps us decide if there is a match between your expectations of what's involved and ours?
We are not proposing to disclose the exact budget for this programme of work at this stage as we are looking to the market to confirm the team size and duration required to deliver the new service by August 2018.
2. What risk assessments have been carried out relating to this project, and what mitigations will suppliers need to have in place?
No specific risk assessments have been carried out regarding the delivery of the Alpha and Beta phases of the service (covered by this tender).
However, we would expect suppliers to understand the sensitivity of the data that the service uses and design solutions that include appropriate security measures and architectures.
In addition, we would also expect suppliers to identify, log and manage the risks to the delivery of the project to the required levels of quality, scope and time constraint.
3. What assessment has been carried out of the data to be held, and what classification level has been determined?
The vast majority of the data is Official. There may be intellectual property that would carry the Sensitive handling caveat.
4. With regard to the title of the requirement – “Licensed use of animals in science copy” – is the word ‘copy’ a typo?
Yes, this is a typo.
5. Will this service need to meet the Government Digital Service Standard?
Yes, the standard can be found here:
6. What liaising with the incumbent supplier is expected - do they have technical skills to help steer the architecture and implementation approach, or would we be liaising with them more from a design/consultancy point of view?
There is no expectation of the need for knowledge transfer from the supplier of the current platform that supports this service. There may need to be some engagement if/when the need for migrating data from the existing platform is identified.
The team that carried out the discovery on this service will be available for consultation when needed. Indeed, one of the discovery team is expected to be closely involved with this project in the role of Product Manager.
7. "Agile phase and service assessments: experience taking digital services though alpha and beta assessments", please can the buyer confirm whether a single example or multiple examples are required in the 100 word response?
The supplier may choose to use either one or multiple examples – whichever best demonstrates the required skills and experience.
8. You state: Complex project proposals are assessed before a decision on a project licence is made. These proposals require the remote collaboration between several parties. Please could you elaborate upon the collaboration element, specifically around whether the new solution is delivering the collaborative requirements or integrating with collaborative tools eg. office365 or G suite
The purpose of the Alpha phase is to assess the feasibility and suitability of solutions to meet the users' needs. We've been deliberately non-specific about whether collaboration on documents should happen on-platform, off-platform or on an integrated existing platform.
The Government Digital Service guidance on choosing technology tooling ( should be used to help make sensible technology decisions as well as any constraints imposed by data security and governance requirements.
9. Will you consider updating the current legacy system or is it simply not fit for purpose?
The existing service doesn't meet the government's digital service standard. It was built before the standard was established. We shall be replacing the legacy system.
10. Are you able to provide the key discovery document(s)
The information will be available to the successful supplier.
11. Could you please confirm if this assignment will fall outside of ir35?
At this time the role has been deemed as outside of IR35 however, in the unlikely event that the features of the engagement change, a further assessment will be made which could change the determination.
12. Is the incumbent supplier eligible to bid for this work?
Yes but we would point out that the incumbent has no unfair advantage given that the two solutions (legacy and new) are so different.
13. What does 'end-to-end licence management' encompass?
This includes the general administrative tasks require for licensing and regulation, such as licence applications, application withdrawals, renewals, amendments, approvals, rejections, revocations, licence fee payments, reporting, reviewing and more.
14. We'd like to ask you to reconsider publishing a guide budget for the project, for several reasons: (a) doing so is in line with current norms for transparency in procurement. (b) agencies need to determine whether the available budget is realistic for them - to avoid wasting your and their time bidding if this isn’t a good match (c) this is an Agile project which can be developed to different degrees of user-led iteration, according to the funds available.
The inclusion of a budget is one of the few optional items of information within the DOS advert. We do not plan to disclose the budget to encourage competitive pricing. The Authority is looking to the market to define the number and type of resources required to deliver the required outcome on time. Further information on the pricing approach will be provided to short-listed suppliers.
15. Has a budget been approved for this project?
Yes. Please note that the programme is subject to the Cabinet Office Spend Controls process.
16. It states, "A detailed discovery identifying user needs and exploring pain points has been carried out internally" but then makes one or two references to further user research. Can you clarify the scope of continued user research?
Much of the research during an alpha phase is made up of usability testing to quickly design, test and iterate service prototypes. More details can be found in the service manual
17. Can you please describe the type of user interface that may be required by both Home Office staff and licence applicants?
The interface between all user groups and the service will be determined through a design, test and iterate approach - so it's impossible to accurately describe it up front. That said, the interface is expected to follow the best practice and design patterns detailed in the service manual
18. Will the user interface need to be responsive, i.e. to work on desktop, tablet, mobile, etc.?
The service must be built to work on all devices that users access the service through. Supporting common browsers and devices is an important part of ensuring the service meets the service standard. More information can be found here
19. Given that the data is sensitive, will the Home Office be happy with a suitably secure cloud based solution?
A suitably secure cloud-based solution would be fine. More information can be found here
20. Will any further information be made available to those selected from this submission prior to preparation of proposals?
A little more detail about the 5 alphas will be sent out to the shortlisted suppliers
21. Is there any requirement for use “in the field” by inspectors that you mention?
Some inspections do take place 'in the field', so this is a user need that will need to be met. How the need is met, is yet to be determined - and is likely to be influenced by timeframes.
22. What is the timescales for decision making and award of contract?
Please note that these timescales are subject to change. We plan to be able to confirm the short-listed supplier on 10th October. Suppliers will then have two weeks to prepare and submit a proposal which will be followed by a presentation to the evaluation panel. We hope to confirm the successful supplier by the end of November.
23. Is there any type of payment processing required in order to gain a license?
Yes, annual fees are associated with personal and establishment licences. Establishments are invoiced for these fees on an annual basis. This happens offline, and may continue to happen offline.
24. Will the scores from the first round be taken into account for the overall evaluation score?
25. There is a relatively high weighting on cultural fit. Could you give us a summary of how you see yourselves? If you were a chocolate bar, what kind would you be and why?
Cultural fit isn’t evaluated at this first stage and there will be another opportunity to raise questions about the next stage of the evaluation if you are shortlisted. The Home Office DDaT blog might give you an insight into our culture and preferred ways of working and further information about the Home Office can be found here
26. Can you share the weighting for the scoring for the initial Skills and Experience submission?
Where no weighting is provided, the sub-criteria are equally weighted. The scoring methodology is the standard DOS scoring methodology (0 to 3)
27. Please can you share the outputs of the Discovery with all bidders / shortlisted suppliers?
Please refer to Q10 above,
28. Will the Product Manager and Service Owner be full time on the project?
The product manager will be working full time on the project. Most of the service owner’s time will be spent managing the animal science regulation unit, but will regularly attend show and tells, and be available when decisions need to be escalated.
29. Is the incumbent solution provider eligible to bid for this opportunity?
Please see Question 12 above
30. Please can you share the “Additional terms and conditions” documents you listed in the opportunity?
The Home Office travel and subsistence policy will be shared with the short-listed bidders.
Exit Activities will be agreed with the successful supplier and will focus on handover, knowledge transfer and help with re-procurement if required.
An Ethical Wall clause will mitigate against any unfair advantage held by the successful supplier in the event of re-procurement.
31. Are you expecting the chosen supplier to provide space for your people to co-locate with us?
There should be space for the product manager to co-locate with the team on a flexible ad hoc basis. And there should be the opportunity to invite other stakeholders to regular show and tells when required. Depending on circumstances (security clearance, office space etc) it could be more appropriate for the work and/or the show and tells to take place on the Home Office estate.
32. What is the key driver behind replacing the current system? E.g. doesn’t meet user needs / cost saving / out of support / outdated technology / etc.?
The existing system only meets 3 of the 18 requirements of the service standard. Its commission and design predates the standard. Among other things, it’s not very accessible, the level of security impedes effective use, it doesn’t meet all user needs, it requires a number of workarounds and it’s not open source.
33. What does the current software solution do? I.e. what functionality does it provide?
It enables users to apply for new personal and project licences, and amend existing personal and project licences. It doesn’t facilitate the management of establishment licences.
34. Please can you share the deadline for the written proposal and likely presentation date(s)?
Please refer to Question 22. The proposed deadline for tender responses is during the last week of October. The shortlisted suppliers will be invited to present their proposals and take part in an assessment during the week commencing 20 November.
35. Will the Home Office cover expenses for travel to Croydon and travel and accommodation required to visit other sites?
Travel and accommodation expenses to sites within the M25 (including Croydon) will not be covered by the Home Office. Travel to establishments for research outside of the M25 will be covered.
36. Would the Home Office sponsor the CTC security checks for the team?
37. What are the “five problems identified in the discovery” / “five alphas”?
In short, the 5 alphas will tackle the following problems.

How might we:

1. enable establishments to manage their licences?
2. facilitate the secure collaboration and sign off between multiple specialists on a project proposal?
3. present project licence data, to relevant people, in a way that helps everyone understand the licence’s restrictions
4. facilitate the management of personal licence holder profiles
5. enable the regulation unit to effectively report on the industry?

A little further information about these alphas will be sent to the shortlisted suppliers.
38. “The work resulted in the identification of 5 alphas, which will be explored in the next phase of work by the chosen supplier.” - Can you please list these 5 Alphas and confirm that the chosen supplier will deliver all?
See Q 37 above for some information about the alphas. And yes, the successful supplier will be expected to deliver them all.
39. Can you give any indication of the shape of team you’re expecting from suppliers?
We expect the team to look something like the following:

• User researcher
• Interaction designer
• Content designer
• Technical lead
• Delivery manager
• Business analyst
Private beta:
• 50% User researcher
• 50% Interaction designer
• 50% Content designer
• Technical lead
• Delivery manager
• Business analyst
• Senior developer
• Senior developer
• Senior developer
The skills and abilities the individuals have is more important than the job titles. More information on how these professions work in government can be found here
40. For clarity, please can you confirm whether the Home Office will be providing any other roles for the project?
There is currently no plan for the Home Office to provide any other roles to the delivery team for this project.
41. What are the key limitations / shortcomings of the current solution?
The current system was assessed against the 18 criteria of service standard in 2015. It only passed points 7, 10 and 18. More information on the service standard criteria can be found here
42. Would you need the whole team to be CTC cleared by the time the project started?
There would be no immediate need for the all team members to initially handle live data or work on the Home Office estate, so CTC wouldn’t be an immediate requirement.
43. Are you able to provide (say) guest access to the legacy system, e.g. to shortlisted agencies?
The legacy system is only available over a secure Home Office network, so access isn't something we can arrange for shortlisted suppliers. The successful supplier will be able to access the system, but it isn't expected to be necessary.
44. How many users are there of the current system and will this change? Can you please breakdown by Home Office and others?
User volumes from 2016 and listed in the advert. The number of licence holders doesn’t dramatically change year-on-year. In addition to the number above, there are 5 Home Office licensing officers and 20 Home Office inspectors.
45. Please provide information about any legacy data which need migrating into the new system, for instance: what information needs to be exported
(examples would be helpful); what format is the data stored in; can the
current data be exported in a (standards-compliant) format and if so
which format(s)?
The type of data that needs to be migrated includes historic and current licences. These include, among many other things: permitted procedures, laboratory details, harm vs benefit analysis and so on. It is the data that's collected at the point of licence application. More details on licence applications can be found here - .
Some of the data is in an Access database, some is in MongoDB, and some is encrypted documents.
46. Question 45 continued.
Apologies for the limited previous response. We now have further information regarding this question. The data is stored in a MariaDB / MySQL database. Most of the data held is plain text, although some is stored in an html type data format. The simplest export would be a MySQL data dump, which could then be imported into another instance of MySQL. If an extract in JSON, XML or any other format was required, then additional effort would be needed to generate either an API or similar. A schema overview of the data will be shared with the shortlisted suppliers.