Awarded to e3 media ltd t/a Great State

Start date: Tuesday 23 January 2018
Value: £350,000
Company size: SME
Ministry of Defence

Defence Total Reward/Benefits Calculator

11 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 3 large

14 Completed applications

11 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Wednesday 15 November 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 22 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 29 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To develop a digital tool to enable members of the Armed Forces and potentially civilians working in Defence Equipment and Support, to better understand the totality of their Reward package, both financial and non-financial, and the implications of a change in their circumstances, as an aid to retention and recruitment.
Latest start date
Monday 15 January 2018
Expected contract length
2 years
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Defence
Budget range
A maximum of £500,000 is available for development. There will then be a requirement to maintain and update the calculator
The outcomes will be delivered through a number of work streams – Regulars employment offer, Regulars comparison with those working outside Armed Forces, Regulars average career lifecyle, Regulars change of circumstances, Reservists employment offers, DES (civilian) employment offer. The supplier and authority will work together to define the outcomes of each workstream.
The supplier will have the option of either developing the existing calculator or introducing a new one, depending on which is the most cost effective.

About the work

Why the work is being done
There is already an on-line tool to provide Regulars with a summary of the main benefits from being a member of the Armed Forces. This is an important retention tool and we now wish to develop it further (either by enhancing the existing tool or introducing a new one) to present a wider range of benefits and the impact of a change of circumstances, with the option of further extending it to cover Reservists and some Civil Servants.
The tool needs to be at an advanced level of maturity by 31 March 18
Problem to be solved
Service Personnel/civilians do not understand the value of the employment offer, with the current benefits calculator providing only a basic readout of the benefits package. Its value as a retention tool is therefore limited. In addition, many of those who use the tool, exit before they have answered all the questions, so the new tool needs to be quicker and simpler to navigate. SP also need an easy means of establishing the impact of a change in their circumstances, including the impact of new HR policies due to be implemented over the next two years and change of employment type.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a member of Armed Forces/civilian in MOD I need to fully understand the associated benefits, remunerative and non-remunerative, in order to inform a decision on my career choices
As a member of Armed Forces I need to understand the implications of a change in my circumstances, including moving between Regulars and Reserves and between different Reserve employment types, in order to inform any decisions I take and understand my entitlements.
As a member of public I need to understand the benefits of being a member of the Armed Forces, so I can decide whether to join.
Early market engagement
Some pre-market engagement was undertaken in Dec 16/Jan 17 with regards the cost and timeframe of developing a new calculator. Estimated costs varied from £100,000 to over £300,000, although there have been some additions to the requirement since then.
Any work that’s already been done
The Navy has undertaken research into the experiences of serving personnel with the view of creating a digital tool to improve retention. Two other pieces of work have been undertaken in the last year to define the employment offer and the value placed on different elements by Service Personnel. Some additional research may need to be undertaken
Existing team
The supplier will work with an in-house ‘virtual’ team, comprising the sponsor (in MOD Head Office) and HR, Comms and Information Systems & Services business lead, for the MOD as a whole and for the Navy, Army, RAF and Defence Equipment and Support.

They will also need to work with the supplier of the existing calculator,
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The main locations are below, but it may be possible to do a lot of the work remotely:
High Wycombe
Working arrangements
The supplier does not need to be based in a specific location but will need to travel to a number of Defence sites and possibly the offices of the existing supplier.
The sponsor, based in Main Building, will need to be kept updated on at least a weekly basis, but this can generally be done by conference call, although there may be a requirement to attend some meetings in London.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel 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
  • Have demonstrable experience of successfully delivering digital projects at speed, that meet Government Digital Services Standard, with clearly identified deliverable and timescales. (3%)
  • Have demonstrable experience of successfully delivering digital solutions that present employees with their Reward package (3%)
  • Have good planning, coordination, communication and project management skills. (2%)
  • Have demonstrable experience of working with Agile methodologies to create digital tools based on user needs, that are intuitive and easy to use on all devices (2%)
  • Have technical knowledge of digital hosting environments, including experience of mitigating security and cyber threats to digital tools (2%)
  • Have understanding and experience of digital tool metric software(2%)
  • Have demonstrable experience of working with third party stakeholders. (2%)
  • Be able to demonstrate relationship management. (2%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have worked with the UK military, other nations military (1%)
  • Have experience of using government platforms for hosting (1%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution (8%)
  • Approach and methodology (4%)
  • How the solution meets user needs (8%)
  • How the solution meets business need (8%)
  • Estimated timeframes for the work (5%)
  • Identification of risks and dependencies and approaches offered to manage them (2%)
  • Value for money (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers (2%)
  • Be familiar and comfortable with public sector ways of working (2%)
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions (1%)
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes (1%)
  • Take responsibility for their work (1%)
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members (1%)
  • Be able to work with clients with low technical expertise (2%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. You mention that the current phase is Alpha. Can you confirm whether the phase you are tendering for is Alpha or Beta? Can you also confirm whether you have an incumbent development partner working with you, or has the Discovery work been done internally within the MOD?
The tender is for delivery through phases Alpha to Live, as defined within the GDS Service Design Manual, plus a requirement for a limited amount of additional user research, and maintenance and updating of the tool once it has gone live.

The current supplier only undertook discovery work for the Royal Navy. All other discovery work has been undertaken by MOD staff. The service must pass all assessments against the Digital Service Standard.
2. In the interest of open procurement, are you open to applications from suppliers who have created similar digital products before for bespoke requirements similar to this (e.g. online tools for internal employee use, tools dealing with financial information) but not under this specific use-case of an employee reward package calculator?
Yes, although ideally we would like the supplier to have the ability to draw on someone with experience of reward packages, to help us determine what is important to staff.
3. Do you have an incumbent supplier in place for this project?
There is an incumbent supplier who helped develop and is supporting the existing tool, which was developed for the Navy and then extended to the Army and RAF as an interim measure. However, there is not an incumbent supplier providing a solution for the new, enhanced requirement.
4. Will the existing supplier be bidding for this and if not then why?
It would not be appropriate to comment on particular bidders.
5. Is the existing system a bespoke or COTS offering?
This is a bespoke system, delivered on an enterprise grade COTS CMS and based on a more basic requirement which is in need of modernisation.
6. What is the procurement timetable?
The intention is to go out to shortlisted suppliers in early December with the aim of having a new contract in place by the middle of January 2018.
7. Does the Government baseline personnel security standard apply to all supplier staff engaged with the project, or all staff in the supplier?
Only for supplier staff engaged with or given access to the project material.
8. How strictly will you apply this item of essential skills and experience? "Have demonstrable experience of successfully delivering digital solutions that present employees with their Reward package" - Would equivalent/relevant experience be acceptable?
Equivalent/relevant experience will be considered, particularly if the supplier is able to draw on someone with expertise in reward packages.
9. You allude to pre-market engagement and subsequent requirements. Can we see the detailed requirements?
Please email Stuart Brearley at
or, in his absence, Gerry Cavanagh at
10. What technology stack is the existing system written in?
It is integrated into the Navy Sitecore Solution, using Sitecore 8, ASP.NET 4.5+, c#, MS SQL Server
11. With regards having experience of using government platforms for hosting, does this 'nice-to-have' item preclude hosting a solution on public cloud (i.e. Amazon Web Services)? Do you have a particular government platform in mind?
It needs to be delivered on a government approved and accredited hosting solution.
12. Are there any particular requirements arising from this being an MOD system over and above the normal diligence levels we would apply to citizen data on public websites?
13. What are the browser compatibility and accessibility requirements?
The service needs to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA as a minimum as well as being compatible with all browsers in accordance with point 10 of the Digital Service Standard. Digital Service standard guidelines for Brower testing / compatibility can be found at

It should be easily accessible over the internet and via mobile as well as from the MOD’s internal network.
14. Can you tell us: a) what technologies the existing tool is built in b) what expectations you have for the new technology stack if a total replacement is proposed? c) are there any technologies that you will not entertain? d) if a packaged solution would be acceptable?
a) Sitecore 8, ASP.NET 4.5+, c#, MS SQL Server
b) We expect the successful bidder to propose a solution in collaboration with the MOD that can be delivered and accredited within an approved government hosting environment.
c) No, as long is the solution meets the Digital service standards and can be security accredited.
d) A package solution may be acceptable if the product can meet the Government Digital Service standards which require all new source code to be open and reusable. We would need to be able to update content without relying solely on the supplier.
15. Please can you confirm if a mix of onshore and offshore would be acceptable for activities during the development phase, with onshore only for any activities that utilise real data activities (e.g. UAT / migration type phases) ?
Yes, provided the supplier can demonstrate how they would meet our security requirements and make themselves available to interact/speak with the MOD customers should they need to.
16. How often does the current calculator get updated?
At present the calculator is updated manually by the supplier once a year, mainly to reflect new pay tables, but in future we want to update it on a more regular basis, with both the supplier and the MOD having the facility to do so. Some of the updates will be substantial, to reflect new HR policies.
17. What was the outcome of the pre-market engagement
The user research has been incorporated into the more detailed requirement, which is available on request from Stuart Brearley at
18. Do you envisage the tool working in the same way as the current one, with the user inputting some personal details, or will it be more in the form of a long list of benefits?
We would like the information to be tailored to the individual as much as possible, in order to make it engaging and relevant. Some of the issues as present are the relatively low hit rates (around 60,000 per annum on average for the previous calculator) and users logging out before they have answered all the questions and obtained a projection.
19. Will user research and analytics on the current tool be made available to the winning supplier?
The user research by the Navy focused on retention issues for Naval Personnel, whilst the research covering all three Services focussed on the value of the current Offer. We will aim to make this available to the winning supplier.
20. What analytics have been undertaken on the current calculator ?
The analytics relate to the number of hits, the length of time spent accessing the calculator and completed user journeys. This will be made available to the winning supplier.
21. What government platforms might the tool be hosted on? Is Verify one of them?
No, Verify is not. We are not looking at the tool containing any personal data in the first phase of work. This may be considered in a later phase, but is likely to ruled out.
The tool is likely to be hosted on Platform as a Service, which is a UK Cloud, based on AWS, and possibly Notify.
22. Will the tool be used as a communications piece for new policies?
Yes, we anticipate the tool being a valuable tool in informing personnel of the current Offer and the impact of new policies, such as the Future Accommodation (which will increase the accommodation choices for Service Personnel) and the Flexible Engagement Systems (which will allow Regular Service Personnel to work part-time for a period and/or limit the number of nights they are away from their normal place of work in a year).
23. How do potential users find the tool?
There is a link from the Services internal and external websites to the tool, but we need to make it more accessible in the future. The existing tool’s launch was supported with a targeted Internal Communications strategy using both internal messaging and social media. Once the new tool has been introduced a concerted (and on-going) communications effort will be required.
24. What format is the data in for the current calculator and will it be made available to the winning supplier?
The data is in a sequel database and Excel and will be made available to the winning supplier.
25. What is your definition of a total reward specialist ?
We would like the supplier to be able to advise us on the benefits we should be presenting and their relative experience. Whilst they will not need to be specialists in presenting total reward packages, they will need to be able to access someone who is.