Awarded to Kainos Software Ltd

Start date: Thursday 1 March 2018
Value: £36,000,000
Company size: large
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Defra Digital transformation Partner

13 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 6 large

21 Completed applications

9 SME, 12 large

Important dates

Friday 20 October 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 27 October 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 3 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To carry forward current development into the next stages of the agile cycle, ie into Alpha and Beta with the option to move beyond
Latest start date
Monday 8 January 2018
Expected contract length
Up to 2 years
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Budget range
Up to £20 million

About the work

Why the work is being done
Assisting Defra group to transform its public service delivery in a digital and Agile manner
Problem to be solved
There are currently x5 prototypes in the discovery stage of the Agile Development Cycle. DEFRA requires a supplier to to carry forward this development into the next stages of the agile cycle, ie into Alpha and Beta with the option to move beyond. Possible delivery of the appropriate service lifecycle for other projects within the Programme which may arise from the current discovery/prototyping.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Defra and Defra customers to support the delivery objectives of the department and wider government
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Defra Digital Transformation Prototype DOS 2-call-off-contract - Assisting Defra group to transform its public service delivery in a digital and Agile manner. To develop a prototypes/proofs of concept to replace core business critical legacy operational systems
Existing team
Established core team including business experts and core management team and, possibly, other Defra suppliers, seeking business partner to work as a collaborative team.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Working arrangements
On site in Defra offices for majority of time with some scope for remote working upon agreement
Security clearance

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
  • Evidence developing digital services that integrate with legacy information systems/services in demanding transaction based operations. Evidence services that have been developed, the approaches adopted and the issues encountered/resolved. 10
  • Evidence your capability to mobilise 5-10 agile development teams with the requisite mix of skills and the profile for getting to this level within 2 months of contract award. 10
  • Ensure developed services pass GDS Service Standard assessments at key transition points between development phases. Evidence strong experience of these assessments and that your approaches work in practice. 8
  • Ability to scale up development teams quickly to meet customer demand. Describe how you can achieve this with reference to previous work. 6
  • Proven capability to work collaboratively in multi-supplier environments. Describe your approach provide and examples of where this has been used. 6
  • Bidders should demonstrate through examples their capabilities to develop digital services using a range of Open Source technologies (list available on application) and their experience integrating with customer technology. 4
  • Proven capability in developing digital services that are compliant with GDS Service Standards. 2
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Where possible suppliers should be experienced in delivering within large scale public body deliveries with multi-faceted workstreams

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and Methodology 22
  • How approach meets user needs 22
  • How approach meets Defra requirements 20
  • Estimated timeframes for the work and experience of ensuring timebound delivery 18
  • How risks and dependencies are identified and proposed approaches to manage them 16
  • Team Structure (capacity & capability) 14
  • Value for Money 12
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers.
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions.
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes.
  • Take responsibility for their work.
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members.
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Be comfortable standing up for their discipline.
  • Can work with clients with low technical expertise.
  • Knowledge and expertise sharing.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent supplier from the Discovery phase? If so, are they eligible to respond to this opportunity?
Yes there is an incumbent for the Discovery phase and they are eligible for this opportunity.
2. Could you specify which Defra locations where you expect the teams to be onsite please?
Primarily Crewe, but potential for work at Weybridge and Warrington.
3. Could you please provide the list of Open Source technologies you are looking for experience in from the supplier?
Too early to define – please demonstrate examples of working with a range of Open Source technologies.
4. Could you please confirm the security clearance you will require? It will be useful to know, for example, if BPSS is sufficient or if you will require teams at either CTC or SC
Initially BPSS will be sufficient for the vast majority, although a small number of roles may require SC.
5. GDS Service Standards - there are 2 similar questions about this. Could you please clarify your response expectations for each of those questions.
1 - Proven capability in developing digital services that are compliant with GDS Service Standards.

Defra are looking for assurance that supplier’s digital capability and delivery methodology aligns to GDS delivery and service standards.

2 - Established approaches to development that ensure developed services pass GDS Service Standard assessments at key transition points between development phases. These should be described and evidence provided to demonstrate the bidders have strong experience of these assessments and that their approaches work in practice.

Defra are looking for experience delivering a service that has gained approval via the GDS service standards assessment.
6. Can you confirm the timeline for the progression and completion of the next stage for successful candidates post the Nov 3rd submission date?
Please see current expected working timelines below, noting this is subject to change e.g. subject to governance board availability and approval.

Tues 14 11 17 Programme Board approve shortlist
Wed 15 11 17 Proposal (spec) to shortlisted suppliers
Mon 27 11 17 Proposals returned
Thurs 30 11 17 Presentations / Final moderation
Tues 05 12 17 Programme Board approve
Wed 06 12 17 Award Contract
Post 06 12 17 On-boarding
Tues 02 01 18 Commence Build Activities
7. Would the core management team from DEFRA include Program managers and Business consultants?
Yes, plus project managers. Business consultants will be available as appropriate.
8. Please can you supply a list of the Open Source technologies experience required, as you state a list will be available on application, I note in your response to a similar request you stated “too early to define” but can you at least clarify which ones you are using a part of your prototyping with Kainos and state when a full list will be made available?
Current proposed technologies to be used to deliver the Proof of Concepts are listed below. Please note that these are not fully finalised at this point and maybe subject to change. In addition this list does not include all technologies that will be used for the final solutions which may include additional open source technologies and could include proprietary technologies as well.

Development Technologies:

Node.js + express FOR Web Applications
Dropwizward + Java for API
Data Store - SQL Azure

Supporting DevOps Verification Stack:

Selenium WebDriver
9. We are assuming the development skills requested will be focussed on both Front end and Back end development needs on a 50/50 split, can you confirm our assumption? or inform whether the Development work will be either primarily Back end or Front end ?
We do not believe it is a 50/50 split – more like 40/60 in favour of backend.
10. To help us qualify in or out can the output from discovery please be shared?
The discovery phase is still in progress so we are not in a position to share outputs.
11. The prescribed DOS response format (situation, work, results, with respect to a single delivery) does not lend itself to the question regarding open source technology as it would only allow us to demonstrate a limited range of the technologies we support. Please can DEFRA offer some specific guidance on how to respond to this question?
The format of the answer is down to the supplier, however we would expect to see example(s) of work utilising Open Source Technologies that are relevant and referenceable, examples of other technologies that a supplier may support are not relevant.
12. Do you have a road-map for delivery of alpha and beta phases (and option to move beyond) for the 5 discoveries conducted?
Alpha and Beta builds would take place throughout 2018 and 2019. The specifics of those phases are dependent upon the discovery and proof of concept phase currently underway.
13. “Under location you say "No specific location, eg they can work remotely". However for working arrangements " On site in Defra offices for majority of time with some scope for remote working upon agreement". Can you please clarify, what is your preferred option? If we can work remotely, are you open to using a mix of onsite and near-shore or off-shore teams?”
The primary location will be Crewe, although some work may be located at Weybridge or Warrington. There may be limited opportunities for remote working, although the assumption should be that the vast majority will be on site.