Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)

Delivery partner for the development of the Energy Customer Database

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
1 SME, 5 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
8 SME, 7 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 2 March 2018
Deadline for asking questions Friday 9 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 16 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work We require an experienced collaborative delivery partner to design and build a secure cloud database for ~8 million records. We also require service design, user research and front end development skills to design and build a service that meets user needs and engages energy customers.
Latest start date Monday 16 April 2018
Expected contract length 9 months
Location London
Organisation the work is for Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)
Budget range £1million to £1.5million

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done Our aim is a better functioning retail energy market. A key recommendation from the CMA’s 2016 Energy Market Report was the creation and management of a disengaged customer database. A disengaged consumer has not switched tariff or supplier in the last three years. There are approximately 8million disengaged customers, who can typically save £300 per year by switching supplier.
The purpose of this database is to drive customer engagement in the retail energy market by prompting more disengaged customers to switch supplier. Ofgem is creating the database and testing different services that can prompt engagement using the data.
Problem to be solved We need a delivery partner to work with us to create the disengaged customer database so that Ofgem (or relevant third parties) can setup and run services to prompt customer engagement. This includes:
• working with energy suppliers to set up data transfer and validation processes
• setting up ongoing operational processes for updating and managing data
• creating a variation of our Check Your Energy Deal service (website)
• understanding how users interact with the Website to iterate and improve the design
• creating the operational processes and MI needed to run the scheme
• support further developing services
Who the users are and what they need to do Energy customer – We need to make it as simple as possible for them to use the service and switch supplier – strip out complexity and jargon, remove the hassle, keep them in control.
Energy supplier – They will need to give us accurate data (as specified by Ofgem) in a timely fashion. They need to be able to update the data regularly.
Ofgem policy team – Through analytics and reports from the database, iterate the service design to improve effectiveness, plan further services.
Wider Ofgem team – Use data to inform wider understanding of disengaged customer group
Early market engagement N/A
Any work that’s already been done We have been through discovery, alpha and recently a private beta with a digital web based service, Check Your Energy Deal (CYED).
For CYED we created and populated a “tactical” (ie MVP) cloud database using AWS with ~10000 customer records from one supplier. We ran the service for 8 weeks prompting customers to switch through our responsive website. We made suppliers invite the eligible customers to use the service and we also used social media to prompt activity. The service integrated with an Energy Deal provider who provided real-time energy deal data. We tracked performance through Google Analytics.
Existing team We have a central Ofgem project consisting of (all full time equivalents) 4xPolicy and Comms Managers, 1xProduct Owner, 1xReporting Manager, 1xLegal Advisor. We are also recruiting a team to manage the relationships with the energy suppliers. All IT development, service design and user research has been carried out to date by external contractors.
We have chosen AWS as our cloud hosting provider, but have where possible tried to avoid vendor lock-in to ensure that the database is portable should this be required.
Current phase Alpha

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Ofgem: 9 Millbank, London, SW1P 3GE (moving to Canary Wharf in April)
Working arrangements The IT delivery team to be co-located with Ofgem at 10 SC Canary Wharf.
The IT delivery team will be co-sourced from April when we will have Ofgem IT resource (developers, BA) available to us. We will integrate these people into the team as and when they become available and flexibility to ramp up or down is important to us.
We take an agile, user-centred design approach and so any IT development work must be flexible enough to respond to changing information and needs, as our research develops.
No expenses will be paid to work in London office.
Security clearance Baseline Personnel Security Standard clearance required.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Ofgem shall have the right to terminate the Contract at any time, by giving 4 weeks written notice to the Supplier, and Ofgem’s liability thereto shall be for costs reasonably incurred by the Supplier up until the termination date. Suppliers must confirm acceptance of this term.
All title to and all rights and interest in the IPR’s in the Services delivered by the Supplier for the Customer under this Call-Off Contract (or by a third party on behalf of the Supplier), and all updates and amendments of these items, shall vest in the Customer.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • evidence delivery of digital services within a multidisciplinary agile team
  • have experience of large scale IT development with a number of third party integration points
  • evidence delivery of digital services using agile techniques (as in GDS Service Manual), that meet GDS Service Standards
  • have experience of developing services that have passed GDS Service Assessments and Accessibility assessments (WCAG2.0)
  • evidence user research with range of users to ensure good understanding of users and needs
  • evidence experience of developing appropriate technical architecture and functional design for large scale databases that contains personal and sensitive information (DPA definition)
  • evidence capability to design data validation processes to ensure only accurate data is added to the database
  • demonstrate understanding of the data protection act and the requirements of a data owner
  • demonstrate experience of designing websites with a high volume of users and content
  • demonstrate experience of the design and deployment of websites in a mobile-first manner
  • demonstrate experience of integrating with third parties using an API
  • demonstrate experience of setting up and use of analytics to inform service development and iterative design of services
  • demonstrate experience of creating reporting and management information package to enable operational teams to manage effectively
  • evidence collaborating with teams as they develop new operational processes to transition to a business as usual state
  • confirm willingness to co-source with Ofgem at Ofgem's London office, able to ramp number of contractors up or down based on Ofgem’s requirements
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • demonstrate experience of website development that has led to proven improvements in one or more of: user engagement, user satisfaction
  • evidence energy market experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Quality of proposed approach, methodology and timescales, including team availability and responsiveness
  • Understanding and identification of risks, dependencies, and offered approaches to manage them
  • Quality of project team and management structure (with roles and responsibilities)
  • Relevance and deployment of the skills and experience of the team
  • Overall value for money of end-to-end delivery
Cultural fit criteria
  • demonstrate their approach to engaging with suppliers who will be legally required to provide data
  • demonstrate how they will work transparently, collaboratively and share their approach with the project team and seek actionable feedback
  • demonstrate how you will take responsibility to challenge the status quo and stand up for your discipline whilst involving staff
  • evidence of working with a government organisation
  • evidence of working with clients with different levels of technical expertise
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Do you have a preferred or mandated technical stack for this? We do not have a mandated technical stack. We ran a private beta last year using AWS which was successful and have already started work to further develop the infrastructure to be used in the next trial. However, we are open to the bidders suggestion of what stack we use.
2. Can you please confirm this contract is outside of IR35? Yes
3. Is the proposal to follow the Alpha / Beta / Live and if so the proposed budget for the Alpha phase and indicative spend in Beta and Live? We expect the energy customer database to be built this financial year. We also expect to test one service this financial year. At the end of the FY we expect to be in a position to start national rollout of the service. Our aim is to co-source this work so that towards the end of the year we have built sufficient internal capability to manage the operation and continuous improvement elements of running of the database and the service.
4. Can you provide guidance on proposal evaluation scoring. Scoring will be in accordance with guidance published on Digital Marketplace.
5. Please could you clarify whether by 'mobile-first' you are referring to responsive web design or mobile native applications (or both)? Responsive web design, not a mobile native application
6. Can you please confirm the expected size of the team and the specific roles required? We will require the following functions. Tech lead, Developers, Business Analyst, Infrastructure/Devops. Quality Assurance, Delivery Manager, Service Designer, User Researcher. We will need technical presence at industry workshops to present our database design and functionality to energy suppliers/stakeholders and to give them chance to ask questions.
7. In the listing you talk about the Check Your Energy Deal (CYED) product. Would it be possible to access the private Beta. No
8. Is the new Customer Database an extension of the Check Your Energy Deal (CYED) project or is it seen as a data provider to the CYED service. The database will be the data source for any of the services that we run. We are looking to trial a variant of the Check Your Energy Deal service this year.
9. Was the Check Your Energy Deal (CYED) service developed internally or were you supported by a third party supplier? If a third party supplier was working on CYED will they be bidding for this project? The Check Your Energy Deal service was developed by a third party supplier. Any supplier registered on the Digital Marketplace can bid for this work, including the supplier who developed CYED, should they wish to bid, providing no conflict of interests exists.
10. Have you developed a high level architecture for the Energy Customer Database, tools such as Check Your Energy Deal (CYED) and integrations patterns with third party services for information about active deals etc? We used a version of the database for CYED Service. We have modified the design in initial work to build the new database. This contract will complete the build work and manage the process of adding customer data, involving testing the transfer mechanism and validating the data against our data dictionary standards.
Service design not yet decided, so "integration patterns" with potential third parties not yet confirmed. Integration could be required for address/postcode matching service, an energy deal provider and agencies providing actual customer contact. Service design/user research elements will help shape the service and inform the integration needed.
11. Has the MVP app already passed a service and accessibility assessment? Yes
12. Ofgem have completed private Beta. Also in response to questions we note "However, we are open to the bidders suggestion of what stack we use.". Is there any reason to assume that there might be some technical issues which have not been resolved and that Ofgem might benefit in a supplier either challenging or validating work that has been undertaken to date? If there are technical issues, can you please describe these at a high-level? There are no technical issues with the current stack or technical development.
13. Following completion of private Beta, has a team profile and roles to move forwards into public Beta been elaborated? If so what team profile and roles do Ofgem require a supplier to provide? We will require the following functions. Tech lead, Developers (approx 2-4 to start as we expect to have 2 Ofgem developers start in April), Business Analyst, Infrastructure/Devops. Quality Assurance, Delivery Manager, Service Designer, User Researcher. We will need technical presence at industry workshops to present our database design and functionality to suppliersand to give them chance to ask questions.
14. Could you please describe the data sources expected to be provided by the energy suppliers at a high level in terms of 1) volume 2) variety (i.e. .CSV, relational database, unstructured data) 3) Velocity ( i.e. how often the data sources update, weekly batch, overnight, daily, hourly, near real-time, real time). We have not confirmed the frequency of the data transfer between suppliers and Ofgem. There will be two different transfers - inserts (including updates to existing records) and removals. We have defined approx 65 fields that the suppliers will be sending to us.
15. Which of these approaches has Ofgem been following to date 1) Export, Transform Load or 2) Export, Load, Transform? We expect the suppliers to clean their data before they send it over to us - we will be creating a register which will collect data from suppliers in a standard format that we have defined.
16. Considering the nature of the data, could Ofgem please describe at a high-level what work has been undertaken already with respect elaborating or validating the threat assessment relevant to this project? We have designed the database in an appropriate way given the data that it will be holding. This is an iteration of the design that we used for Check Your Energy Deal. For this trial we had an external security contractor carry out an assurance piece and also completed two penetration tests. No significant issues were found.
17. The contract length is expected to be 9 months. Could you please describe the delivery roadmap, and characterise the goals any phases are seeking to achieve? Test data transfer process and compliance with the data dictionaries with the suppliers by June 2018, all suppliers providing live data by Dec 2018 and all 8 million records on the database by End of March 2019
18. Can you please outline the procurement timelines and next steps? We aim to shortlist by 21 March, receive written responses by 4 April, hold presentations (as required) around 10/11 April and notify successful/unsuccessful contractors by 16 April, with a start date tba.
19. How will Ofgem be assessing price? Price will be assessed as 20% of overall score, based on supplier's proposed maximum cap. Lowest price will get 5 points, all others will get lower scores relative to lowest price. Overall value for money will be assessed as part of quality (score tba), including an assessment of input days and average daily rates.
20. Will there an opportunity for suppliers to ask further questions / receive any further information between the shortlisting and final proposals? Yes, further questions will be encouraged from shortlisted suppliers throughout the tender period.
21. Can you provide more details on the anticipated scope of the single service you're looking to test this year? (to help us estimate a price that includes it) We are looking to trial a variant of the Check Your Energy Deal service - ie a simple process whereby we validate a user, tell them whether they are on an expensive energy tariff and then either show them cheaper deals, or signpost out to a third party which can do this. We would then look to facilitate the switch or handover to a third party to facilitate the switch. We need a service designer to help us shape what this will look like.
22. Have you already identified proto-personas and conducted user research for the type of companies, etc who will make use of the data api? Do you believe you have the information within Ofgem to allow this to be scoped at this stage? We have conducted significant amount of user research into energy consumers and will use this to shape the service that we implement. We will continue to carry out research at regular intervals to continue to inform the service design.
23. Your answer to Q10 suggests that you've started work buiding something. When pricing the project, how would you recommend we assess the value of the work completed to date? We have built the basic database infrastructure, database structure and transfer process for receiving data from suppliers. They are not complete but the basic structure is now in place. We think that this is a useful start point but are open to any solutions a bidder wants to put forward.
24. Could you please provide a link to the procurement / contract under which Check Your Energy Deal (CYED) was developed (as further background information)? It is not readily findable on DOS or contracts finder. Thanks We did not use the DOS framework for our previous procurement. However, results of the two trials that we have completed were published in Sept 17 and Feb 18 and are available on our website.