Awarded to Olive Jar Digital

Start date: Friday 1 June 2018
Value: £3,854,700
Company size: SME
Data Modernisation Division (DMD), Data Group, Department for Education (DfE)

Continued support for ASP, GIAS, and SPT services

6 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 2 large

2 Completed applications

2 SME, 0 large

Important dates

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


Summary of the work
We are looking for an agile partner to help us support and continually improve our digital services in line with user needs, and support the DfE team members through coaching and mentoring; building knowledge and increasing capability within the Department.
Latest start date
Friday 1 June 2018
Expected contract length
24 months
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Data Modernisation Division (DMD), Data Group, Department for Education (DfE)
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The DfE has a need to develop and maintain school data and information services, in this instance Analyse School Performance (ASP), Get Information About Schools (GIAS), and School Performance Tables (SPT). The DMD is responsible for these services and intends following agile methodology (Scrum/Kanban).

• Ongoing operation and development of services
• Involvement in encouraging maximum uptake of services
• Ensuring services meet accessibility standards
• Data protection and security in line with legislation and security protocols

The supplier will provide additional specialists to complete scrum teams resourced partly in-house, ensuring prioritised work is developed and released, meeting business goals.
Problem to be solved
The services are well-established and utilised . Integral to the DfE’s accountability agenda they provide data and information about schools (e.g. key school performance measures), offering the tools to drive up standards.

• Maintain continuity of services
• Development in-line with emerging policy and prioritised initiatives
• Addition of new year’s education data to services annual cycle, meeting delivery milestones
• Updating services content to meet policy and legislation
• Presentation of data supporting agile and iterative working with DfE
• Disaster recovery, ensuring services are maintained and supported
• Performance patching completed and defects addressed in line with SLAs
Who the users are and what they need to do
Almost 3.8 million users visited the services in 2017:

ASP (live 20th April 2017) – 112,654
GIAS (live 18th September 2017) – 245,102
SPT (full year live) – 3,438,066

ASP – Provides detailed performance analysis to Schools, LAs, MATs and Dioceses to support school improvement, and by OFSTED to inform inspections.
GIAS – A comprehensive database of educational establishments in England and Wales, accessed by schools updating data, and a point of reference for the public.
SPT – Designed to create transparency, inform choice, and provide increased accountability of educational establishments in England; key in assisting parents/carers in school selection.
Early market engagement
The three services are already in public-beta and there is a heavy continual development overhead currently requiring two scrum teams and a support team. The three teams consist of bought in roles and roles supplied by DfE. Six months of the year is spent updating data and policy with essential updates, with the remaining six months focusing on continual development and any other development work that is required.

The existing model has worked well with the right balance of skills and personalities and flexibility; we anticipate that the successful supplier will continue to work within this model. If a supplier wishes to provide an alternative, we would be interested in hearing their rationale and explanation of how this would improve the services.
Any work that’s already been done
All three of our services are in the public-beta stage (as of the below dates):

SPT – April 2016
ASP – July 2017
GIAS – September 2017

GIAS and SPT are publically available services, ASP is a secure service but an informative video can be found here:

Further information pertaining to discovery, alpha, and beta approach and meeting the GDS service design standard will be made available to sifted suppliers. The services still need to undergo live assessment within the next 1-2 years.
Existing team
The three teams currently consist of bought in roles and roles supplied by DfE, of the following makeup:

Support Team:
Senior Developer
Senior Developer
Junior Developer
Technical Architect

Scrum Team A:
Delivery Manager*
Business Analyst*
Product Owner*
Delivery Manager (0.5)
Senior Developer
Front End Developer (0.5)
Content Designer (0.5)
UX Designer (0.5)
User Researcher*

Scrum Team B:
Delivery Manager*
Business Analyst
Product Owner*
Delivery Manager (0.5)
Senior Developer
Front End Developer (0.5)
Content Designer (0.5)
UX Designer (0.5)
User Researcher

(Roles marked with an asterisk indicate roles supplied by DfE)
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
London and/or Sheffield preferred. Travel required to other Department for Education offices for co-located workshops (including Coventry, Manchester and Darlington). The Department does provide bookable meeting rooms, however these are limited. Therefore, the successful bidder will be expected to provide a space for co-located work.
Working arrangements
Typically the scrum teams will work in two-week sprint cycles which will be required to come together and co-locate for key sprint ceremonies (show’n’tells, sprint planning and retrospectives). High-level priorities will be managed month-by-month by the service owner, distilled to the scrum team during fortnightly sprints guided by the Product Owner, and monitored during daily stand-ups.

Suppliers will be responsible for providing their own suitable work arrangements/locations in order to achieve the required outcomes.

We expect the services to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with the necessary support.
Security clearance
Evidence of BPSS clearance and annual certification on information handling and data protection are required for all contractors. Workers are not permitted to copy/remove or share any data owned by DfE, additionally suppliers will need to ensure that any system holding DfE data comply with the government security policy framework.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
• All data must comply to GDPR regulations
• SLAs will be documented in the SOM
• All development must be completed within the UK and all data must remain in the UK
• The supplier must attend the Department open day and presentation day on the specified date; we will not rearrange for an alternative date.
• All contractors must complete security checks (BPSS clearance), information handling training, and data protection training prior to work commencing
• The supplier must adhere to WCAG 2.0 standards, score of AAA or AA

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
  • Full Stack Developer- Experience to include, not limited to: working in government using Agile/Scrum methodology to develop digital services to GDS standards, working to Gov APIs
  • (Cont.) - C# and .NET Framework/.NET Core, Hosting with Microsoft Azure, Redis cache, Azure search, Cosmos DB, App Services/web jobs, Azure Service Bus, Continuous Delivery (ARM)
  • (Cont.) - Visual Studio Team Services, Configured SSO SAML/claims-based authentication, JQuery/KnockoutJS/React/Jasmine/GDS FE toolkit/TDD/Service Oriented Architectures/RESTful API design/HTML/JavaScript/CSS/SASS, NodeJS/grunt/bower config, WCAG 2.0
  • UX Designer - Experience to include, not limited to: delivering digital, user-centred experience within an agile environment for a government department using GDS standards, keeping updated with toolkit on Hackpad/Page
  • (Cont.) - Experience presenting complex statistical information (preferably including school performance data or similar to users using GDS Toolkit and limitations)
  • Content Designer - Experience to include, not limited to: delivering digital, user-centred experience using Agile/Scrum methodology to design content to GDS standards and Design Principles, and Digital Service Standard
  • (Cont.) - Understanding of Department goals and objectives, experience writing succinct,creative, and compelling content for the web, strong teamwork and communications skills, ability to negotiate with stakeholders
  • User Researcher - Experience to include, not limited to: working in government using agile methodology in alpha and beta projects establishing user needs, displaying data, and translating to user stories
  • (Cont.) - Experience in Morae video recording, audio recording, Cloudera technology stack of: HUE, Impala SQL, Hive SQL, Oozie Workflows, Jupyter Notebooks, GDS awareness
  • Delivery Manager - Experience to include, not limited to: delivering change in government department, managing expectations, building/prioritising backlog, Agile delivery (Scrum/Kanban), managing scrum team, attending government standard change management boards
  • (Cont.) - Conducting show and tell demos, coaching and mentoring of cross-functional scrum teams, Microsoft Visual Studio Online, Azure, presenting changes at CAB, adhering to GDS standards
  • QA Tester - Experience to include, not limited to: working in government using GDS standards, keeping updated with Gov APIS,services, libraries, toolkits. Advanced QA skills for front and back-end
  • (Cont.) - Azure Express Route, NG and WAF Firewalls, Azure Cosmos DB/AzureRedis/Azure Search/Azure Appservices, Ruby, Javascript, BDD, Selenium, Mongo/Cosmos, Git
  • Business Analyst - Experience to include, not limited to: working in government using agile and non-agile methodology (Scrum, Kanban, Lean, User Journeys, Epics, User Stories), working with multiple stakeholders
  • (Cont.) - Domain knowledge in data processes, infrastructure (MS Azure and Secure Access) and people, knowledge of school performance and data processes, experience with GDS and knowledge of Government APIs
  • Front-end Developer - Experience to include, not limited to: working in government using GDS standards, keeping updated with Gov APIS, Javascript, knowledge of Razor (ASP.NET), MS Azure hosting
  • (Cont.) - Redis cache/Azure search/Cosmos DB/App Services/web jobs/Azure Service Bus/Continuous Delivery (ARM)/Visual Studio Team Services/JQuery/KnockoutJS/React/Jasmine/GDS FE toolkit/RESTful API design, HTML/JavaScript/CSS/SASS/NodeJS/grunt/bower config/WCAG 2.0
  • Technical Lead - Experience to include, not limited to: Lead development in architecting government solutions within Agile/Scrum from alpha-beta-live in accordance with GDS standards, keeping updated with Gov APIs
  • (Cont.) - Redis cache/Azure search/Cosmos DB/App Services/web jobs/Azure Service Bus/Continuous Delivery/Visual Studio Team Services/Creating high and low level designs on Azure platform/Test Driven Development/Behaviour Driven Development
  • (Cont.) - Government APIs/DevOPs/Test Automation/Infrastructure Automation/IaaS/PaaS/MS Azure/Unix Puppett/Microsoft Stack/.Net/C#/ASP.NeT/SQL Server, Ruby on rails/cucumber, HTML5/CSS 3/Javascript/Jquery/CMS/API design, Git.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Proven experience of working with Government departments to develop digital services
  • Domain knowledge of Government APIs and Services – including Gov Notify, Gov Verify Secure Access, School performance data, GIAS, GDS Registers
  • Proven experience and knowledge of displaying statistical information to users by doing user research.
  • Experience of providing on the job coaching in agile delivery on the specialist skills within the team.
  • Ability to develop software that complies to Government security guidelines and current OWASP risks; including supplier vetting, and supporting rigorous pentests and security accreditation.
  • Contingency and Flexibility – Ability to easily scale resources up or down based on project needs and substitute similar resources without any implication to the project.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical Solution
  • Value for money
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • How they will keep current view of user needs across all services
  • How they will apply skills to do what needs to be done
  • How they will meet GDS standards
  • How they will meet the deliverables of all services
  • How they will work with the Department
  • Availability; what will the hours of work be and how will these hours be managed
  • How will they work with other contractors
  • How will the interact with the in-house aspects of the team
  • How can they help us develop and build the Department's knowledge
  • Quality of the resource being supplied (ensuring approach, behaviours, and wethos all align with DfE's
Cultural fit criteria
  • Office space that the DfE can use for meetings with supplier
  • Coaching and mentoring of DfE staff to develop and build knowledge
  • Work flexibly with the Departmente.g willing to amend resource across services at short notice if required
  • Willing to go the extra mile at critical times to build a strong collaborative partnership
  • Be proactive in identifying issues and providing solutions in a timely fashion
  • Work collaboratively and engage with the DfE in-house team via regular liaison
  • Work collaboratively with other DfE suppliers and work flexibly regarding working practices, methodologies and availability
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please could you confirm who has been providing the support previously and whether they will be part of this future competition?
The current service provider is Olive Jar Ltd., who are a registered supplier on the Digital Marketplace. As such, they will have visibility of this opportunity, and can bid for the services if they choose to. Any bid from Olive Jar Ltd. Must be in accordance with the competition instructions that apply to all interested registered suppliers.
2. Regarding the department open day, is this an opportunity for suppliers to be briefed on the opportunity. If so, would it be possible to share the agenda/arrangements?
The department open day will be an opportunity for potential suppliers who are successful in the initial sift process to gain further insight into our services, and the team who supports them. There is currently no structured agenda, but the day will include a “show and tell” of each of the three services, and an opportunity to expand on some of the infrastructure behind these services.
3. Is there a specific field or area where we can input the costings or should we use the 100 words answer blocks on each role to include these?
Suppliers sifted for evaluation will be asked to provide a separate schedule detailing prices applicable to deliver the services, primarily used to establish day rates for each proposed service role. This information will be used to arrive an indicative annual price, by multiplying the relevant day rate by 220 (standard DfE working days each year), pro-rated for part-time roles. The suppliers will also be asked to provide other costs that could be incurred during service delivery. The cheapest indicative overall price will be awarded the maximum price score, with the price score for other suppliers based on proximity to this.