Awarded to IBM United Kingdom Ltd

Start date: Monday 6 November 2017
Value: £285,000
Company size: large
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Developing a "Moving to a new post" FCO public beta digital service

3 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 2 large

5 Completed applications

1 SME, 4 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
Develop a public beta service for FCO and other staff to move to a new post abroad. Developed in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, user-facing forms will be adapted to GOV.UK-style. This work builds on detailed Discovery and Alpha work, resulting in front-end and back-end prototypes, underpinned by extensive user research.
Latest start date
Monday 23 October 2017
Expected contract length
On or before 31 March 2018
Organisation the work is for
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The FCO is seeking to improve experience for its staff when they move from the UK to a new job in one of the FCO's 280 posts worldwide. The current process of moving to a new post is stressful and inefficient with situation likely to worsen. Our Discovery and Alpha work to date indicates the current service is ripe for digital transformation. This work, to develop a public beta digital service based on the alpha, needs to be completed by the end of this financial year.
Problem to be solved
Creating an efficient digital service to support staff to move to a new post. Where "edge cases" cannot be supported by the service, these will be routed through to the appropriate teams. We anticipate the bulk of the work to comprise:
1. Creating a customer-facing user-friendly interface in GOV.UK style format for staff moving post;
2. Creating a staff-facing user-friendly interface for FCO staff processing post moves;
3. Developing a secure working database in MS Dynamics, linked to source FCO data and with business logic rules operational, to ensure the full functionality of the digital service.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an FCO or Partner Across Government staff member moving to a new post, I need a simple digital service which lets me know how much expenses and baggage allowance I will receive, what is needed from me at each stage, and manages my expectations of where I am in the process, so that I can have peace of mind and focus on my core work.
As an FCO staff member processing moves to new posts, I need a simple digital interface which allows me to access key information about the post move, so I can manage my workflow efficiently.
Early market engagement
Discovery and Alpha phases complete, and soft market testing discussions held with a number of suppliers, though there is no "incumbent" in place. Relevant findings include:
- the need for suppliers to be expert in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as this will be the environment in which the digital service is built;
- the need for suppliers to be able to create user-facing forms in MS Dynamics Web Portal which follow GOV.UK style - though we already have the styling code for simple form versions of these;
- the need for suppliers to be able create "role-based access control" to the underlying database structures;
- the need for suppliers to be fully-familiar with the GDS Service Manual, as the digital service is likely to be run through an internal FCO GDS-style Service Assessment.
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery and Alpha phases complete.
Front-end prototype developed using GOV.UK prototype kit; back-end prototype developed in MS Excel.
Initial database logic and business rules developed, as well as data sources identified.
GOV.UK format simple style sheets created for the MS Dynamics Web Portal available at
Over 40 hours of user research conducted.
The preferred supplier will be expected to use all of these as the starting point for the Beta work.
Existing team
The supplier will be working within the Digital Transformation Unit as part of the "Moving to a new post" team which currently has in place:
- Product Owner
- Senior Business Analyst (who also covers ongoing user research)

Suppliers should propose the team and personnel they think will best provide a fully-functional agile team. Not all staff need to be full time on the project. However, to allow us to compare bids fairly, please provide a 2 week sprint price for the following sample full-time team:

1 x Scrum master
1 x Senior developer
2 x Developer
1 x Tester
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Main location will be FCO's office in King Charles Street, London, although travel will also be required for some working at FCO sites in Milton Keynes where forms are processed and where some developers sit.
Working arrangements
The supplier is expected to provide resource which can be on-site in London or Milton Keynes during business hours Monday to Friday. The resource should:
be collaborative and work effectively with the existing Product Owner and Senior Business Analyst team members;
be expert in agile approaches including sprints, daily standups, retrospectives, and working to agreed definitions-of-done;
be comfortable talking to non-technical staff and translating their requirements into technical terms;
be a good listener;
where appropriate, be innovative and propose changes to processes;
be able, unaccompanied, to meet technical and non-technical staff and represent the FCO Digital Transformation Unit well.
Security clearance
Staff working on FCO premises must be at least SC cleared. If required, FCO will initiate SC clearance though please account for up to 6 weeks to receive clearance. If relevant, please provide a plan for how this potential delay will not impact on timely delivery of the required outcomes.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Ideally we would like to pay the supplier on a Sprint or Bi-sprint basis. To assist with terms of IR35, deliverables will be agreed on a per sprint basis.

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
  • At least three examples of developing complex database structures, ideally in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • At least one example where you have created a MS Dynamics implemenation or development which had a user-centric design/UC experience within the Dynamics environment
  • At least one example where you have created a MS Dynamics implemenation or development which passes data to other applications via both API and Dynamics pdf reports
  • At least one example where you have created a MS Dynamics implemenation or development using the Dynamics Web Portal which had a user-centric design/UC experience
  • Evidence of deployment of role-based access controls in MS Dynamics
  • Evidence of regularly applying automated testing in MS Dynamics environments
  • At least five examples of delivering projects using user-centric agile methods
  • Experience of working in line with GDS Service Manual standards and knowledge of wider industry-standards
  • Experience of successfully delivering public beta digital services in a public sector environment
  • Experience of designing user-friendly interfaces in line with GOV.UK style
  • Evidence of using using prototypes, testing, iterating and user research to inform user-friendly digital services
  • Proven successful development and maintenance of back-end technologies, databases, use of APIs, meeting data standards, search functionality, and experience of GitHub
  • Proven successful development and maintenance of open source CMS including build of responsive templates and site publishing tools that meet the needs of content editors and website managers
  • Technical expertise of front-end, UI web development, building engaging templates and responsive web design that work across browsers and devices
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have a track record in designing and delivering Microsoft Dynamics 365 in a public sector environment
  • Have a wider awareness of GDS direction of travel and 'Government as a Platform' / 1HMG proposals
  • Experience in undergoing and passing GDS assessments

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 FCO's wider goals
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Evidence of the Supplier meeting the technical criteria
  • How the supplier has identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Appropriate team structure and resourcing
  • Proposed control the supplier will give to FCO technical staff to maintain the system and how they will achieve the knowledge transfer
Cultural fit criteria
  • Working in multidisciplinary teams with other suppliers
  • Working with technical and non-techincal staff to understand requirements
  • Building good relationships and trust with teams both with and without departmental sponsors
  • Quickly joining teams and understanding their needs
  • Experience working in an agile manner
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Given that the government best practice approach is to use open source and open standards for developing digital services, would you consider proposals based on such an approach on an equal footing in order to evaluate the value for money and other benefits?
See our response to Question 4 (below).
2. The Cabinet Office/GDS has specified that open source and open standards should be used in developing digital services. This project would seem to be very suited to such an approach. What evaluation was done that resulted in the specification of the Microsoft tech stack please? What were the considerations that made it best suited?
See our response to Question 4 (below).
3. You requested a capped Times and Materials proposal for this requirement. Is there any flexibility with this?
The FCO require a high quality product produced in an agile manner with sprints. We do expect requirements to change and evolve as we build the software and research it with users. We therefore suggest suppliers include a two sprint contingency, clearly marked, as part of their bid.

Depending on the price and how far we have got through the list of requirements, it is possible that there may be sufficient budget for a further couple of sprints at the end.
4. Linked to Questions 1 and 2 (above), could you explain why the FCO are using Dynamics?
The FCO already licenced Dynamics, staff are using and it provides most of the requirements already. It includes:

• Web portal for end users;
• Back-end view for processing staff;
• Ability to generate PDFs;
• Ability for administrators to edit all the above easily.

We already have open source stylesheets for the Dynamics web portal to look like GOV.UK and suppliers should build on those.

It is possible to submit data to the Dynamics back-end by API; if they wish, suppliers can therefore suggest a fully open-source alternative to the front end. Replacing the back-end is not a requirement.
5. From a supplier perspective, it is difficult for us to provide a matrix type response within the portal’s 100 word limit. Is there any possible solutions around this?
Understood. Our preference would be for suppliers to briefly outline which 5 projects they have delivered (if possible, including a URL). However, if further details are required, then the FCO will request these as part of the decision making process to select the successful supplier at which point a matrix style response, with the projects on the left and the different requirements at the top, would be very useful.
6. There was mention of dealing with other suppliers (such as Pickfords) and other Partners Across Government (Passport Office). How will these impact this project?
Data used currently by staff being posted to FCO overseas Posts is used differently by different parties.

At the moment all our partners still require a pdf form, so the journey is likely to be either:

1. User fills in details, system generates a form which the user prints out; or

2. User fills in details, this is verified by an FCO staff member who then presses a button in the system to send a pdf to the correct partner.
7. If any additional work is required how will this be covered?
If additional work is required, this shall be carried out as part of a Contract Change to the existing contract awarded to the successful supplier.
8. Could you provide further details regarding the start date of 23 October?
Our preference is to start on this date linked to the usual time allocated to the procurement process used to contract on the Digital Outcomes framework. However, we can be flexible (so if the successful supplier cannot start until a week or two later, then that would also be acceptable too). It’s about finding the right supplier to deliver a high quality product produced in an agile manner. At a later part of the decision making process suppliers will be asked to supply us with how and when they can resource the team.
9. Could you provide any further details on work carried out so far on this requirement?
The FCO have a clear understanding of what is required based on what has been carried out previously. Front end prototype already developed and now this needs to be built into Dynamics. The back end is less well developed, though one aspect of the work, algorithms to calculate allowances, is complete.
10. Linked to Question 8, could you explain your timeframe for selecting the successful supplier within 4 weeks of going to market?
Further details on the FCO’s timeline is shown below:

Close date for proposals: Monday 2 October;

Evaluation, review of case study and further clarification leading to shortlisting: Tuesday 3 October to Monday 9 October;

Possible presentations (if required): Wednesday 11 October;

Standstill: Friday 13 October to Thursday 19 October;

Start date: Monday 23 October
11. We have concerns about trying to price this requirement . Could you provide some further details on this?
The FCO prefer suppliers to use our guide for the make-up of the team to deliver this (as part of our initial details in the Existing Team part of the original requirement uploaded to the Digital Outcomes portal).

To assist suppliers, please provide your commercial proposal with breakdown of costs direct to Mark Froud (email: but also please ensure that the overall cost is uploaded to the Digital Outcome portal as well.