Awarded to Automation Logic

Start date: Monday 12 March 2018
Value: £3,000,000
Company size: SME
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Defra Digital Transformation service Transition design, Devops & Webops delivery

10 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 5 large

19 Completed applications

8 SME, 11 large

Important dates

Monday 29 January 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 5 February 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 12 February 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To carry forward iteration of current hosting, infrastructure as code and test and verification products to support the programme as it moves into the next stages of the agile cycle, ie into Alpha and Beta with the option to move beyond.
Latest start date
Monday 26 March 2018
Expected contract length
Up to 2 years
North West England
Organisation the work is for
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Budget range
The call off contract will have a maximum value up to £3 million

About the work

Why the work is being done
Assisting Defra group to continue to transform its public service delivery in a Digital and Agile manner
Problem to be solved
Within the programme there are currently x5 prototypes in the discovery stage of the Agile Development Cycle. DEFRA has developed hosting, infrastructure as code and automated test and verification solutions and services to underpin this work and now requires a supplier to further develop and iterate the functions of this solution in line with the needs of the programme. Defra needs a supplier to support the development teams and to interface with the existing WebOps and Service Management teams to ensure we iterate the continuous integration, infrastructure as code, test and verification automation products and services.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Defra and Defra customers to support the delivery objectives of the department and the 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 other Defra suppliers. Defra is seeking a business partner to work as part of a collaborative team
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Working arrangements
On site in Defra offices for the majority of time with some scope for remote working upon agreement
Security clearance
Baseline standard, DBS. May possibly be some requirement for higher level 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
  • Proven capability in developing and iterating hosting and platform management services including tools/methods such as Infrastructure as Code, Continuous Integration and Development and automated testing and verification solutions. 10
  • Provide evidence/examples of proven capability in service management design and experience of transitioning developed services into existing Service Management functions. 10
  • Abilty to ramp up to meet customer demand for DevOps, WebOps and Service Transition design teams. How will you meet customer demand for scale or pace of capability development. 12
  • Ability to work in multi-supplier environments. Evidence this together with your approach to ensure successful collaborative development and examples of where this has been used. 8
  • Bidders should demonstrate through examples their capabilities to support development of digital services using a range of technologies and their experience integrating with customer technology choices 4
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Suppliers to have some experience in delivering within large scale deliveries with multi-faceted workstreams (SMEs to detail where they have played a part in such deliveries). 1

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology 18
  • How the approach meets Defra requirements 14
  • Estimated timeframes to on board 6
  • How risks and dependencies are identified and proposed approaches to manage them 10
  • Team structure (capacity & capability) 10
  • Value for money 10
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. At the first Essential Requirement, please clarify 'proven capability'
Please provide examples of services that you have developed, the approaches adopted and the issues encountered
2. At the last Essential Requirement, what are the 'customer technology choices' ?
Technologies include, but not limited to, MS Azure, AWS, OVPN, Bastion, GIT lab, Jenkins ,Key Vault, SonarQube, Selenium, JMeter, Cucumber, Owasp Zap4
3. The opportunity states '1' for 'Nice-to-have skills and experience', could you clarify the evaluation weighting ?
Scores for 'Nice-to-have skills and experience' will be 5% of the total
4. Can you please confirm if BPSS will be acceptable for security clearance purposes or if separate DBS checks would also be required?
BPSS will be sufficient
5. The first stage responses add up to 45% - could you describe how this relates to the 70% overall mark - does this mean that the second stage proposal is worth 25%? Is there a direct correlation between the proposal criteria and the 1st stage markings, e.g. the 18% for approach and methodology - is this a combination of the 10% and 8% for the 1st and 4th essential criteria?
'Technical competence' is given 70%. We are awarding 25% for the Essential skills and experience and 5% for Nice to have. 40% will be awarded at stage 2. There is no correlation between the Proposal criteria and 1st stage markings but for the shortlisted suppliers who proceed to stage 2, their scores from stage 1 will be added to their stage 2 score.
6. The proposal criteria appear to add up to 68 rather than the 70% allocated for quality. Could you confirm where the other 2% lies?
Please refer to the answer to Question 5
7. Can you confirm that you expect this work and the team to be outside of IR35
We are tendering for a service and assume the supplier is aware of any issues, our expectation is that the service is outside of IR35.
8. In the light of previous Defra tenders, could you confirm that only 3 will be shortlisted for stage 2
Thank you for pointing this out, we should have stated that x4 (four)suppliers will be shortlisted for stage 2
9. One of the criteria asks for evidence of ramping up and scaling teams. Please could you give an indication as to the size and scale of team you envisage for this requirement?
We anticipate a core team of around 5-8 resources but please note that the majority of projects within our programme are still in discovery stage and therefore we cannot confirm at this stage the number of projects which would enter build and require support. Therefore this would be a minimum requirement.
10. If the proposed team were to reside outside of the Crewe area can reasonable travel and subsistence allowances be claimed?
We do not expect to pay expenses for travel to work. We will cover expenses if we require travel away from the 'base' office
11. Can you please confirm the expected size and roles of the team you require?
"We anticipate a core team of around 5-8 resources but please note that the majority of projects within our programme are still in discovery stage and therefore we cannot confirm at this stage the number of projects which would enter build and require support. Therefore this would be a minimum requirement.
We would expect the roles required to include WebOps engineering, solution architecture and project support. We would expect the resources to be skilled in the solution set identified in our opportunity and be able to enhance the services and products already developed."
12. Could you confirm what you mean by 'Service Management Design'? Do you mean ITIL (or similar) based live service management design or GDS based Digital Service Design?
The digital service which are being developed will require a transition into live running. The current Defra model is a hybrid of ITIL and Digital Service Models. Whilst these are digital services to be transitioned there is a requirement to understand both of the approaches mentioned here in order to successfully design the service management wrapper which would be required.
13. As part of our engagement process we would run a discovery phase, inception and being the transformation process. The work would encompass coaching, training and engineering. When carrying out the engineering work would you feel comfortable that the majority of this is done remotely with the show and tells/feedback/presentations at the end of every sprint presented back on site?
The programme is fast moving and requires real-time collaboration with other development partners and Defra personnel. Our expectation is that while some off site working could be accommodated the majority of the assignment would require personnel to be on site and interacting on a daily basis to focus on deliveryof outputs to a challengiing timeline.
14. In reference to the Essential Skill "Proven capability in developing and iterating hosting and platform management services" do you require the supplier to host the platform and environments or will hosting, maintenance, 24/7 support etc be through existing service management functions provided by DEFRA?
Defra will be developing and hosting the services on existing cloud platforms - we do not require the supplier to host the platform and environments. The supplier will be required to work closely with existing webops resources to develop enhancements to the existing hosting and platform capabilities and this is why the experience is important.
15. When you refer to service management are you referring to service management as defined by the ITSM framework?
Yes, service management to GDS and ITIL standards, see question 12
16. Where you've asked for multiple examples to provide evidence of essential experience, how many examples are you expecting and to what level of detail, considering the 100 word limit for responses? The Digital Marketplace bidders guide advises us to provide one example in detail.
We defer to the bidders guidance. Bids will not be 'marked down' if a single example is provided (and re-used). Bidders may choose to provide more than one example.
17. Regarding your answer to Q12 can you please confirm what you mean by “Digital Service Models”? Does this mean that, in addition to requiring adherence to ITIL best practices, the Service model should: (i) comply with GDS based Digital Design principles and the Govt. Digital Service Standard or (ii) provide a hybrid model embracing other similar (to ITIL) best practices for Service management or (iii) provide a hybrid model embracing current Agile, Dev Ops and Lean approaches to Customers engaging with Pubic Services via automation and self-service functionality to multiple connected devices
The current model mentioned is ITIL based but is seeking to move to a position which can better support more agile focused delivery through Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment which complies with GDS based Digital Design principles and the Government Digital Service Standards.  Therefore a knowledge of these methods and standards would be required.