Awarded to Rainmaker Solutions

Start date: Wednesday 25 October 2017
Value: £54,800
Company size: SME
Institute for Apprenticeships

Institute for Apprenticeships - digital services

13 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 2 large

19 Completed applications

15 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Friday 22 September 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 29 September 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 6 October 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Carry out a discovery phase to formalise our user requirements for the delivery of internal facing services for the Institute of Apprenticeships.
Latest start date
Friday 20 October 2017
Expected contract length
1 year
Organisation the work is for
Institute for Apprenticeships
Budget range
Up to 60k on the discovery phase plus 10% contingency, there is further budget for alpha and beta to be confirmed should the contract be extended.

About the work

Why the work is being done
We are responsible for:

- Supporting employers to create new apprenticeship standards which include a proposal, standard development, assessment plan and funding bands allocations.

- Advising Government on Apprenticeship funding.

- Quality assuring the delivery of the End Point Assessment and co-ordinating across government to ensure quality across apprenticeships.
Problem to be solved
We need to research the digital systems available to us and plan an approach to deliver automated ways of working to replace the manual and process heavy ways of working.
Who the users are and what they need to do
We have the following users:

- Institute team members - to manage the approvals process on behalf of our route panels as well as provide management information.

- Trailblazers - the employer groups who develop apprenticeship standards with support from the Institute

- Route panels - the employers we convene to ensure quality apprenticeship standards are being developed

- Boards and committees - the employers and stakeholders who are responsible for ensuring the Institute is compliant with it's statutory responsibilities
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have multiple pieces of research and work streams validating the types of services we would need to develop for our internal teams and the membership including process mapping from end to end.

We're working closely with our sponsoring department, DfE, and our partner agency, ESFA, to understand the services that already exist in Government.

The Institute has been working on a shared discovery with ESFA on the challenges our processes are causing for users of downstream systems.

This will inform our discovery phase so that we can use existing research to determine the relevant systems we need to implement.
Existing team
There are two members of the digital team the supplier will be working with but they will also have to work directly with multiple stakeholders across the Institute. Expected roles in this team are Service Manager and Product Manager but we expect to carry out multiple roles as we're a small team.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
151 Buckingham Palace Road, London.
Working arrangements
The supplier should be embedded into the Institute so that they can access the stakeholders they need.
Security clearance
Baseline Personal Security Standard

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
  • Experience in the planning and delivery of a user centred agile discovery, alpha and beta phases - 5%
  • Experience of conducting user research - 2%
  • Experience in the ability to deliver evidence based estimates and approaches for discovery, alpha and beta phases - 2%
  • Experience of adapting / integrating existing technologies for internal facing systems - 2%
  • Experience of adapting small scale solutions to meet new user requirements - 2%
  • Experience of working with an organisation which is at the beginning of changing the culture to a more agile way of working - 2%
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of delivering digital services for a small and limited user base - 1%
  • Experience of self certifcation through a sponsoring department - 1%

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology - 25%
  • How the proposal represents value for money - 20%
  • Discovery and alpha high level plan - 15%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a embedded team with the Institute - 7%
  • Be solution focussed rather than commercially minded - 3%
  • Transparent and collaborative decision making - 2%
  • Experience working with NDBPs with a close working relationship with their sponsoring department - 2%
  • Experience of designing services for users that may demonstrate aversion to change - 2%
  • Team structure with roles and responsibilities - 1%
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Hi, We understand that you want the supplier team to be onsite for the discovery phase. Post discovery, would you be happy with hybrid onsite / offsite delivery for alpha, beta and live to achieve best value for money?
Hybrid on site / offsite delivery for future phases would need to be confirmed at the time.
2. You state an Oct 20 start date. Is there a specific driver for starting on or before this date?
Delivery deadline of April 2018
3. You state an Oct 20 start date. This is only 2 weeks after the close date for applications. What is the process and timeline between close of applications, award and start?
9th October - shortlisting
13th October - written proposals expected from shortlist
16th October - confirm shortlist
17th - 20th October - meet suppliers and award contract
w/c 23 October - kick off.
4. You state an Oct 20 start date. Is the business team available to start in this date?
Date has moved out by a few days and yes the team is available
5. The budget is relatively small for a typical GDS Discovery. Can you explain the logic behind this figure?
We have a fixed budget for the entirety of the project
6. Do you have any expectation on the roles and duration for the Discovery phase as described?
No, we're looking for the supplier to suggest what we may need in line with GDS guidance.
7. You state “...there is further budget for alpha and beta to be confirmed should the contract be extended”. Can we conclude that there may not be a procurement for subsequent phases and that the Institute may award those phases directly to the supplier being awarded the Discovery.
We've yet to confirm the purchasing approach through our sponsoring department. We will determine as part of the Discovery phase.
8. Can you please clarify the meaning of this nice to have skill? “Experience of self certifcation through a sponsoring department”
DfE are our sponsoring Department and are able to self certify digital service development phases with minimal GDS involvement.
9. One of your cultural fit criteria states “Experience working with NDBPs with a close working relationship with their sponsoring department”. Can you please expand upon the arconym used and provide more context as to what you’ll be looking for here?
Typo. It should of been NDPB = Non Departmental Public Body.

Some of our decisions cannot be made independently so if there is experience of this working relationship if may be advantageous to the Institute.
10. Could you clarify "self certifcation through a sponsoring department"? What kind of certification is this referring to
GDS service standards
11. What does "evidence based estimates" refer to? Is this regarding estimated savings and other outcomes of the new digital service? Or something else?
The ability to provide justification for any costs/charges
12. What does "evidence based estimates" refer to? Is this regarding estimated savings and other outcomes of the new digital service? Or something else?
The ability to provide justification for any costs/charges
13. Will the research, already undertaken, be made available to the appointed organisation?
14. Will you be able to provide access to the internal users identified?
15. Do you have any technology pre-requisites, at this stage?
No, as we are currently on the DfE shared services platform the systems we implement should be compatible.
16. You've mentioned that the contract length is 1 year. What sort of shape do you envisage the Discovery assistance taking? For example, are you looking for a supplier to advise on your developing roadmap and help you introduce Agile approaches, supporting you on an ongoing basis during a period of business change (e.g. a retainer model over a year)? Are you planning a shorter, more focused piece of work to help you scope out different systems/options under consideration, which will allow you to move towards implementing some of these as a next step (e.g. a short-term scoping project)? Something else?
The contract length is set at one year so that we have flexibility in the contract to extend depending on the outcome of the discovery phase.

We're planning a shorter, more focused piece of work to scope out different systems/options under consideration during the discovery phase. which will allow us to move towards implementing some of them as a next step.
17. How did you undertake the research work you’ve already done to date? Was an external supplier involved?
We have ran two piececs of research we organised and managed. The shared discovery was managed by ESFA who did employ a supplier to carry out the work.
18. Please can you provide the outcomes of any work that has been carried out to date at this stage?
We will share at shortlisting stage
19. Can you provide access to any of the existing systems in use to suppliers at this stage to carry out some initial discovery work?
20. What are the existing technologies in use? What needs to integrate with the new system and what are you seeking to replace? What is the functionality that each of these systems currently provides to your team? What are the positives and negatives about these current systems? Where are the current inefficiencies?
As the Institute is still in the start up phase there are no relevant formal systems in place to manage the creation of Apprenticeship Standards.

We currently use a series of tools to manage parts of the work load which we envisage being replaced with the digital services.

We have mapped the end to end process to identify the potential improvements and a fully joined up solution that removes the manual steps is the main objective of this work.
21. How many users interact with the current internal systems?
85 across the different locations, we expect the Institute team to grow once we are responsible for Technical Education but final numbers will not be confirmed until April 2018.

We have over 2700 employers involved in the creation of apprenticeship standards and this list is likely to grow who we expect to be able to access any services we develop as they are responsible for the development of Apprenticeship Standards.
22. Can you provide more detail on the role and responsibilities of the Service Manager and Product Manager?
Please see the GDS outline here: