Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Wednesday 14 February 2018
Value: £295,000
Company size: SME
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Beta - domestic consumer energy efficiency advice service

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

3 Completed applications

3 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Monday 8 January 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 15 January 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 22 January 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Beta will develop our prototype domestic energy saving advice service into a service suitable for use by the public. The service takes user information about their property and its usage. It recommends actions and installable measures to save money on bills. It recommends any funding sources which may be available.
Latest start date
Monday 5 February 2018
Expected contract length
10-12 weeks from contract signing date to report publishing for BEIS.
Organisation the work is for
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Budget range
Our maximum budget for the 12 weeks of work is for approximately £450k exclusive of VAT. However, we anticipate that should the successful supplier elect to use resources created during alpha, that figure would be significantly reduced. This figure includes content development, to include extensive text and video.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Improving the energy efficiency of homes in the UK is important in achieving carbon targets and reducing consumer bills. Accurate, impartial advice is the crucial first step for consumers. Advice can include recommendations of measures consumers could take to improve the energy efficiency of their property, as well as an indication of eligibility for and referral routes for available support. BEIS currently provides the phone-only Energy Saving Advice Service. The requirement is to take this digital service to public beta.
Problem to be solved
Understanding energy efficiency improvements can be complex for consumers, needing to take into account the characteristics of a property and its occupants. There can be an information gap between consumers seeking to make improvements and being able to confidently take action. Eligibility for financial support can vary depending on individual circumstances, the property and its location. Referral routes can be complex and so discourage consumers from taking action. A digital service could reach a broader audience than the existing phone service; although some consumers will require assistance with the digital service.
Who the users are and what they need to do
All domestic property occupiers are potential users. They need tailored advice based on their property and personal circumstances, and access to direct referrals to schemes providing support. Users that are not to be prioritised in the first publically-available beta include landlords, and suppliers and installers of energy efficiency measures. There will also be an assisted element for users unable to use the digital service sitting alongside and using the same systems and data as the digital service.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery identified a role for government in being a trusted source of impartial advice. Discovery recommended:
a) a product prioritising users at a trigger point, in fuel poverty, and those seeking to reduce bills or improve comfort;
b) an assisted digital service sit alongside the digital service.
Alpha refined the user personas and built a prototype end-to-end advice service based on this, incorporating an inference engine to estimate bill savings. It also incorporated elements for consumers seeking to replace their boiler, or access finance for energy efficiency improvements. Links have been established with implementation of the Each Home Counts review
Existing team
The procured team will be working with employees of BEIS who will act as Service Manager and Product Owner. BEIS follows GDS Technology Code of Practice and also has its own Architectural Principles. The supplier will have to ensure that the solution is designed in alignment with these standards and approved by BEIS Design Authority.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The team are based at BEIS offices, 1 Victoria Street, London. We anticipate work may take place both here and at the successful supplier’s offices.
Working arrangements
The successful team would be open to co-locate with the BEIS policy team at BEIS HQ for at least part of the working week. Actual arrangements will be agreed at the outset of Beta. The service will be delivered in an agile way based on scrum principles which encourages open and fluid communication across the team. We expect the supplier to suggest and manage the approach that enables this, and we anticipate daily stand-ups along with regular show-and-tells. Users and stakeholders are across England and Wales so there will be a requirement to engage users from different regional areas.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

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 building easy-to-use consumer-facing responsive web applications that will run on different sized devices.
  • Experience of conducting and documenting user testing, and using findings to iterate project outputs and software development.
  • Experience producing content for public-facing websites, including text, graphical and video content.
  • Communicating complex issues using clear and concise language in both written and verbal ways to a variety of audiences and expertise levels.
  • Proven experience delivering projects using agile project management methodologies, particularly in developing and iterating prototypes based on user testing, and developing prototypes into functional beta sites suitable for public use.
  • Experience of developing digital services considering the needs of industry stakeholders.
  • Experience developing a digital service to integrate seamlessly with an assisted element provided by a separate supplier.
  • Proven track record of delivering complex software projects in the UK government sector in line with the GDS Digital Service Standard.
  • Experience working with multiple data sources to analyse how they relate to each other, and how to get maximum service value from them.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of the issues surrounding domestic energy efficiency, particularly in respect of consumer advice and consumer energy usage.
  • Understanding of both legal and data protection issues in using personal data with good understanding of issues arising from adoption of GDPR.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Awareness of recent technological developments in energy generation, energy efficiency measures and energy usage measurements, particularly with reference to ‘smart’ technology.
  • Experience of working across multiple government departments, including data-sharing protocol.
  • A familiarity with the principles of behavioural insight and behavioural change. Experience of applying these principles to consumer-facing services, particularly online.
  • Coaching, mentoring and upskilling people in agile techniques and roles to build capability within existing teams.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • Technical solution
  • Proposed programme of work and estimated timeframes
  • Team structure (with roles and responsibilities)
  • Value for money proposition
Cultural fit criteria
  • Working transparently and collaboratively across government.
  • A collaborative and sharing approach, actively seeking input from colleagues and stakeholders.
  • Adept at communicating technical ideas with non-technical clients, both in writing and verbally.
  • Proactive, willing to suggest and incorporate own ideas into the project with buyer’s support.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent supplier - i.e. did you use an external partner to build the Alpha, and if so who?
The external supplier we worked with to develop Alpha was Softwire Ltd.
2. Are you able and willing to share the outputs from the Alpha prior to a written proposal being provided?
We will share the outputs for Alpha, including the presentation deck and a link to the prototype site, with all shortlisted suppliers, prior to a written proposal being provided.
3. Is the requirement more than encoding and publishing video content? Would we be required to produce and film the videos?
There is an element to produce content which may include video content, but we would anticipate a wide range of content formats will be developed. This requirement is also to further develop the end-to-end service, and will likely include refining existing APIs, developing the service technology stack and testing both technically and with users. We would expect any video content to be produced by the supplier to accurately communicate particular issues associated with improving domestic efficiency in a consumer friendly way.
4. Would we be required to apply known energy efficiency rules to the content or do we need to apply domestic energy industry expertise and best practice to establish rules?
We will work with the successful supplier to ensure that content produced is in line with Departmental positions on energy efficiency and energy efficiency measures. The alpha services utilises – and the beta supplier will be required to use – a model owned by BEIS which can be used to calculate energy savings for households. If this does not answer the question could you clarify what information is required.
5. “Experience of working across multiple government departments, including data-sharing protocol.” – is this question pertaining to the collaborative working across departments or data interfaces?
We would anticipate the supplier would be able to demonstrate collaborative working across government departments, with particular reference to data-sharing protocol and data interfaces.
6. What platform has the prototype been developed on and do you expect supplier to continue with that platform to develop Beta?
The technology stack used for the prototype consists of Wordpress, PHP and AngularJS, however the Department is open to alternatives that could be delivered within the project budget and time parameters.
7. You mentioned that you believe that existing code and assets could be used to reduce the cost significantly. Do you have a view on whether this would be your preferred route, or you would prefer a re-implementation?
The Department is open to suppliers developing new code and assets during beta, provided that the project can still be delivered on budget and within time parameters.
8. Can you confirm if you plan to meet AA accessibility within the Beta and whether you can do you own accessibility audit within the department, or have separate budget to procure it (£5-7k)?
As we do not anticipate that the service will require a GDS service assessment, we are happy to work with the successful supplier to develop arrangements around accessibility and an accessibility audit. We would not anticipate providing further budget for this.