Awarded to The Public Service Consultants (trading as The PSC)

Start date: Monday 19 February 2018
Value: £41,000
Company size: SME
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Consular digital strategy consultant

26 Incomplete applications

23 SME, 3 large

36 Completed applications

30 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Thursday 4 January 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 11 January 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 18 January 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Business analyst
Summary of the work
Devise a digital strategy paper for consular service, including a review of current services, opportunities for digitisation, and identifying new technologies which could be of benefit to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including a cost benefits analysis of recommended solutions.
Latest start date
Wednesday 24 January 2018
Expected contract length
Until 30 March 2018
Organisation the work is for
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Maximum day rate
Up to £1,500 a day for the right candidate

About the work

Early market engagement
Who the specialist will work with
You will be working with the FCO's digital transformation unit, comprising two service transformation managers and a product manager. The specialist would be expected to work closely with colleagues across the office, particularly within the consular directorate, to gain an understanding of the existing services offered.
What the specialist will work on
- Perform a review of the current digital consular services;

- Identify opportunities for further digitisation to further increase our productivity and service levels through digitising services and processes;

- Review and report findings in the form of a trend and gap analysis.

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
London with some travel to Milton Keynes
Working arrangements
The specialist would be expected to co-locate with the FCO's digital transformation unit in our offices in King Charles Street London. They will also be required to travel to our offices in MIlton Keynes as required.
Security clearance
All staff working on FCO premises must be at least SC Cleared or capable of being cleared to SC. Bidders must confirm clearance of nominated resources. If required, FCO will initiate SC 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
  • Experience of writing digital strategy documents for complex institutions with multiple stakeholders (15%)
  • Up to date knowledge of the digital landscape and able to identify and understand new technologies (10%)
  • Experience in creating an ambitious but achievable digital strategy acknowledging legal and budgetary restraints including evidence that companies have followed this strategy to positive effect (10%)
  • Able to understand departmental priorities and assess benefits of potential solutions against them (5%)
  • Understanding of the GDPA and its implications (5%)
  • Able to quickly understand sometimes complex services and processes (4%)
  • Quickly joining teams and understanding their needs (3%)
  • Experience working in an agile manner (3%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Direct experience in devising a digital strategy for a government department (3%)
  • Good understanding of the Government Digital Service and digital service standard (2%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Working with global teams in distributed offices (4%)
  • Working within a small digital team (4%)
  • Working with tight security controls (4%)
  • Working with technical and non-technical staff to understand requirements (4%)
  • Building good relationships and trust with teams both with and without departmental sponsors (4%)
Assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can the authority please confirm if this role will be inside or outside of IR35 legislation
The FCO shall consider whether an handover period can be inserted into the contract which enables the FCO to buy a service (linked to milestones and/or sprints) rather than resources, so that this will remain outside the scope of IR35. Further discussions shall take place on this with the successful supplier.
2. Will there be a T&S budget set for the required travel.
Yes, but the majority of work will be undertaken and delivered from the FCO's Main Building in central London.
3. Can the Authority please confirm the IR35 status of the contract?
Please see response to Question 1.
4. Can you please confirm that the day rate of £1,500 a day is correct?
As indicated in the published material, £1,500 is the ceiling rate. The reason for this is that the FCO are looking for someone more in the strategic analyst area rather than a business analyst. However, there is no actual strategic analyst listed within the individual requirements of the DOSS framework. On the basis of the above, the successful candidate should be able to interpret current trends from data and provide strategic items on gaps and future opportunities to improve digital services provided by the FCO's Consular Directorate.
5. Please can you let us know what's the IR35 status for this role?
Please see response to Question 1.
6. Please can you let us know what GDPA stands for?
The acronym should be GDPR and not GDPA as originally stated. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulations which comes into force in May 2018. Please ensure that you read this as GDPR as a result of this response.
7. Is this position outside IR35?
Please see response to Question 1.
8. Is this opportunity inside or outside of IR35?
Please see response to Question 1.
9. Under the essential skills and experience the Authority asks for: "Understanding of the GDPA and its implications " Does the Authority mean GDPR?
Please see our response to Question 6.
10. Is the role likely to go on beyond 31st March? Is this work going to be achievable by that date given a likely start date of end Jan?
Budget is only available in the current Financial year at present. As a result, all work with this requirement is expected to be completed before 31 March 2018.
11. If the supplier has an excellent capability match but has submitted a lower rate due rate card restriction on role (i.e. Business Analyst), can this be negotiated ?
Please refer to our response at Question 13 below.
12. Are you looking for a single resource or could we offer you a team as long as we meet your "budget"?
Our preference is for a single resource. However, if you feel that you could best meet our requirement by supplying more than one person then we are happy for you to suggest this as a solution.
13. Our company access limits us to a maximum per day rate of 700 GBP. But our proposed consultant rate is around 1000 GBP. Any suggestions - how to go about it pls?
Our preference is for suppliers to provide us with the consultant rate card that they feel fits our requirement, linked to our previous response to Question 4. If this does not fit your existing commercial offer using the DOSS framework, we suggest that you email Mark Froud (email address: providing the additional details in a separate email.
14. The specialist role as advertised is Business Analyst. The ceiling day rate that you have kindly suggested is higher than the day rate normally associated with this role. It is more aligned to a digital strategy consultant. This is making it challenging to complete the response accurately. Can you provide some further direction so that we can confidently submit ?
Please refer to our response to Question 13.
15. Due to limitations on the framework we are not able to submit candidates as high as the figures you have quoted. Will you consider candidates at higher rates than initially submitted at further on in the process please?
Please refer to our response to Question 13.
16. Can I confirm when application reviews will take place as well as interviews?
The provisional timeline we are working to with this is as follows:

- Bids close on Thursday (18 January);
- Technical and Commercial evaluation starts on Friday (19 January);
- Formal moderation of proposals shall take place on Tuesday (23 January) and shortlist for interviews known by close of play Tuesday (23 January);
- Informal interviews shall take place on Thursday (25 January) and the successful supplier will be contacted on Friday (26 January).
17. Given that the allowable rate is 1500, but we are restricted to only 800 because of our Business Analysis SFIA rates, do you think there is a way to work around this?
Please refer to our response to Question 13.
18. Grateful if you can confirm the scope of the requirement (in terms of whether this is just specific to Consular Directorate and British Nationals) or will it go wider?
The specific scope being looked at is Consular Directorate. However, if there is time, it can be extended to include external services and other transformation.
19. Can you provide details of the timeline for the successful candidate/supplier?
Please refer to our response to Question 17.
20. Could you clarify the level of security clearance required for this?
Our preference is very much staff who have active SC clearance is our preference.
21. Is the estimated day rate a ceiling or a target?
22. How do suppliers respond to the 2 Nice-to-Have questions?
As these cannot be uploaded to the DOSS portal, please email your responses (within a 100 word limit) to Mark Froud (email: