Awarded to risual Ltd

Start date: Tuesday 13 March 2018
Value: £340,000
Company size: SME
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ; Analysis and Data Directorate (ADD)

Improvements to statistical and geographical databases and open data publishing tools / processes

6 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 3 large

5 Completed applications

4 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 21 November 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 28 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 5 December 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Developing database assets for DCLG's Analysis and Data Directorate, comprising a programme of tactical improvements to existing assets and supporting migration to new cloud-based alternatives.
Latest start date
Wednesday 28 February 2018
Expected contract length
Up to 12 months, and completing no later than 1 year after agreed start date
Organisation the work is for
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ; Analysis and Data Directorate (ADD)
Budget range
We anticipate appointing a team of 2 to deliver the required outcomes, comprising of 1x senior and experienced Database Architect, and 1x Database Designer / Developer.

Suppliers will be expected to provide timesheets for approval and invoicing only being permit for work actually undertaken.

Candidates will be assessed by the criteria set out below and we may also choose to invite candidates for face-to-face interviews

About the work

Why the work is being done
The aim is to deliver a package of essential improvements to ADD's statistical and geographic databases and open data publishing tools / processes. This includes

(1) various priority enhancements to existing relational (SQL Server) and LinkedData databases and associated data management processes / tools.

(2) Strengthening and improving the overall data architecture and associated 'end-to-end' processes - including integrating with the Department's NoSQL (Mark Logic) technology and document stores.
Problem to be solved
(1) Enhancing ADD's open data publishing tools and data standards to enable more efficient and robust data release.

(2) Extend ADD's specialist data stores and tools, so that analysts and data scientists are better equipped to respond to current high-profile demands for new analysis and insights.

(3) Design and implement priority enhancements to existing statistical data stores and associated publishing tools.

(4) Enhance current analytical data stores to incorporate data gathered from Local Authorities.

(5) Support work to design replacement systems (utilising cloud-based technologies) and begin migrating current data.

(6) Help develop and implement data acquisition and management strategies.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The Data, Analytics and Statistics (DAS) team are permanent Civil Servants who support and develop ADD's analytical databases and associated technology.

Work to design and implement data acquisition and management strategies will involve collaboration with DCLG Corporate ICT colleagues, and the Department's Data Programme Board.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The DAS team has undertaken preliminary work on high-level designs and blueprints for items 1-5 above. This has been partly informed by a recently completed Discovery exercise, which identified and recommended various opportunities to improve current statistical data processing and publishing tools and methods.

This needs to be validated, leading to detailed design and implementation.

Priority enhancements will be delivered via DAS's existing technical and database infrastructure, comprising Windows Server running SQL 2016. Databases are accessible to users via a mixture of server and desktop tools - including SQL reporting services (server), MS-Excel, Stata, ArcGIS, Quantum GIS, R-Studio and Python.
Existing team
The supplier will be working with Data, Analytics and Statistics (DAS) ICT team.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
DCLG Headquarters, 2 Marsham St, London
Working arrangements
This is envisaged as a time and materials engagement with agreed outputs. It is expected that some of this will be achieved working onsite with role leads. Remaining work can be offsite.

Normal operational hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Security clearance
Counter-Terrorism Check (CTC)

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All IPR associated with outputs and deliverables produced shall be wholly owned by DCLG. Suppliers will be expected to document all activities during the assignment, and handover (including transferring knowledge and skills) to the permanent team in a timely manner.

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
  • (1) Have proven experience delivering projects using the agile project management methodology
  • (2) Demonstrate understanding and ability to deliver digital services / products to the Government Digital Service standards
  • (3) Have a track record of successfully managing and assisting in delivering IT projects within public sector organisations
  • (4) Have effective communications across organisational, technical and political boundaries, understanding the context
  • (4a) Makes complex and technical information simple and accessible for non-technical audiences. Is able to advocate and communicate what a team does to create trust and authenticity.
  • (5) Translate data into valuable insights that inform decisions.
  • (5a) Involves teams in analytics and synthesis to increase consensus. Collects, collates, cleanses, synthesises and interprets data to derive meaningful and actionable insights.
  • (6) Develop fit for purpose, resillient, scalable and future-proof data services to meet user needs
  • (6a) Demonstable understanding of how to expose data from systems (eg. through APIs), link data from multiple systems and deliver streaming services
  • (7) Produces data models and understands where to use different types of data models
  • (7a) Understands different tools and is able to compare between different data models. Able to reverse engineer a data model from a live system.
  • (8) Have knowledge of data engineering and specific technologies (particularly SQL Server)
  • (9) Plan, design, manage, execute and reports tests using appropriate tools and techniques and works within regulations
  • (9a) Ensures risks associated with deployment are adequately understood and documented.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • (1) Demonstrate experience of working in a challenging and complex private or public sector technical environment with regularly changing priorities.
  • (2) Show a strong knowledge of and experience working with IT technical services within the private or public sector

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • (1) Capability and experience - weighting 60%
  • (1a) Team structure, capability and experience
  • (1b) Proposed methodology and approach (inc. GDS Standards)
  • (1c) How the process and end deliverables will meet the user needs
  • (1d) Timeframe estimation
  • (2) Cultural fit (see Cultural fit criteria for method) - weighting 20%
  • (3) Pricing - weighting 20%
  • (3a) Standard price calculation assuming a 200 day assignment for both roles
  • (3b) EXAMPLE - Role 1: £700p.d x 200 = £140k and Role 2 £650p.d x200 = £130k - total price to evaluate £270k
  • When bidding, suppliers should provide the following:
  • (A) Full CVs for the proposed Data Architect and Database developer
  • (B) A short (1 page max) summary outlining (1) understanding of problems to be addressed and outputs to be delivered
  • (B)(i) A short (1 page max) summary outlining (2) suitability, skills and experience to successfully address problems and deliver outputs
  • (C) Proposed day rates and duration for each candidate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Have experience working within the public sector
  • Work transparently, collaboratively and as an extension to our team throughout
  • Work flexibly and have the ability to adapt to specific cultures
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there currently, or has there recently been, an incumbent carrying out similar work for the Authority?
No - all development work is currently undertaken in-house.
2. This is a relatively large, and obviously important, project which will need to be well-managed to deliver the successful outcome you are looking for. Considering GDS guidelines about team project roles, have you considered the need for project/delivery management by the supplier? Is there budget for delivery management oversight as well as the two technical roles, or would you expect some of the senior architect's time to be spent on delivery management in practice? Alternatively do you see this as a "bodyshopping" arrangement (more like digital specialists roles) where ultimate responsibility for delivery of the outcomes would lie with DCLG?
Project delivery will be managed by the existing in-house team. There is no budget for delivery management oversight. Our expectation is that part of the senior architect’s role will be to oversee product development by the databases developer, focused on ensuring that outputs align with business requirements and quality standards. DCLG will remain ultimately responsible for outcomes.
3. Do you have a roadmap of planned improvements in mind, or is that part of the service you would like from the supplier - consultancy on what improvements should be made?
Whilst broad priorities are clear, there is no detailed roadmap to deliver them over the 12 month assignment. The senior architect will be involved in shaping detailed implementation plans, which we will take forward using Agile methodologies – i.e. in 4-6 week sprints, with clear products and outputs agreed in advance.
4. (a) In the 'Working arrangements' you refer to onsite/offsite working. Do you have a feel for the split between working onsite and offsite? e.g. 1 week in 4, 2 days onsite 3 off per week etc..

(b) In the 'Additional terms and conditions' you refer to handover and knowledge Transfer of skills. Do you see this as an exit activity or would KT be part of BAU working?

(c) Have you a proposed methodology you wish the supplier to adhere to?
(a) Our current assumption - bulk of work will initially be undertaken on-site, offsite working limited (1 or 2 days per 10 working day period). This may change as assignment progresses - precise arrangements will be agreed during sprint planning.

(b) Both. KT should be happening as assignment progresses. We will need assurance (towards the end of the assignment) that relevant skills and knowledge have been transferred to the permanent in-house team.

(c) The assignment will be taken forward using Agile methodology and will ensure knowledge and skills transfer is captured as a user need during each phase/sprint.
5. (a) In the 'Budget range' section you refer to a team of 2 comprising of 1x senior and experienced Database Architect but in the 'Proposal criteria; section you refer to a Data Architect. Which is correct?

(b) In the 'Budget range' section you state you may also choose to invite candidates for face-to-face interviews, do you know roughly when this would take place?

(c) In the 'Any work that’s already been done' section you refer to a recently completed Discovery exercises. Who carried this out?
(a) The requirement is for 1 x Senior/Experienced Data architect. (plus one database developer).

(b) Likely to be week commencing 11th December.

(c) This work was carried out by an external consultancy.