Department for Education

Alpha (B) - DfE intervention in an academy

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
2 SME, 1 large

Completed application

Completed application
1 SME, 0 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Wednesday 7 March 2018
Deadline for asking questions Wednesday 14 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Wednesday 21 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work 8 week Alpha(B) development of service to support DfE/ESFA intervention in academies to manage financial, management, governance or educational performance issues. Builds on completed Discovery and Alpha(A). Requires highly skilled, collaborative supplier experienced in delivering digital services that meet users' needs and GDS Digital Service Standards.
Latest start date Monday 30 April 2018
Expected contract length 2 week inception, followed by 8 week alpha phase, to be completed by 06/07/2018
Location London
Organisation the work is for Department for Education
Budget range Estimated value approximately £200,000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done DfE directly manages a growing number of Academies (c 7,500). The System Integration Programme aims to bring greater integration and sharing of data/information across 13 DfE systems currently used to administer academies. This should enable c1,500 internal systems users to concentrate on their core purpose (ensuring more good or outstanding school places in England) by reducing time spent inputting / searching for information. Future services will be delivered in phases: Alpha A (currently being delivered) and this Alpha B focus on two specific business areas; subsequent Beta phases will see development of 11 inter-related services, covering 50 business processes.
Problem to be solved Academy intervention requires a significant information sharing and interaction between different business groups and users. Discovery outcomes provide a comprehensive starting point for the design and development of the solution. We want to improve and integrate the way we administer academies and free schools to: reduce reliance on individuals and enable greater corporate knowledge; ensure people are supported by integrated and intelligent systems to be efficient and effective in their functions; automate manual processes; and ensure reporting and analytical capability is able to compete with the best.
Who the users are and what they need to do Academy interventions involve users across 3 DfE business groups (no external systems users). In each group Project Leads need accurate and up-to-date information on academy trust (performance, progress of applications from trust to other areas of DfE - eg sponsor/open a school, any other departmental interventions associated with trust) to make decisions and record progress/risks associated with their interventions; Project Managers need to know the number and progress of interventions in their region; Strategic Managers need data on trends, indicators and risks for the intervention programme as a whole.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done All suppliers shortlisted for evaluation will have full access to the data and materials available from the Discovery (completed December 2017). The successful bidder will also have the outputs from the current Alpha A (due for completion by 31 March 2018) phase of this project.
An Alpha A phase is currently being undertaken in one cross cutting area of our business. This tender is for an Alpha B in another cross cutting and related area of the business.
Existing team The Product Managers (who oversaw the Discovery and Alpha (A) phases) will be supported by a Service Owner, Service Development Officer, Communications Lead, and senior Business Sponsors representing the various parts of the business involved in academy interventions (who will work alongside the supplier to facilitate access to business users). A key user group has been established to represent business users.
Current phase Alpha

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place The supplier will split their time between DfE offices (primarily London - Great Smith Street, Westminster - but there may be the need to attend occasional meetings in the DfE offices in central Sheffield and Manchester) as well as allowing time for them to work at their own offices where required and agreed with customer in advance.
Working arrangements This is a full-time, 5 days a week arrangement primarily based at DfE offices to support an agile delivery. Time can also be spent time at their own offices when required and agreed with the customer in advance. The development team will host agile ceremonies (stand-ups, show-&-tells, review, retrospectives and sprint planning) which will be mandatory for the Supplier staff/team, and stakeholder workshops where possible.
Security clearance All contractors personnel should be cleared to the authority security clearance level of SC as a minimum and must be available to begin work with immediate effect following contract award. CV's will be required for the team to be assigned to project, evidenced at written proposal stage.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
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.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Recent and demonstrable experience in agile service delivery, including having been successfully assessed, in a previous project, against the GDS Alpha Service Standard
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of applying the principles of user centred design to the development of digital solutions
  • Can offer the right level of expertise, and resource the project within the specified timescales to allow fast and high quality progress
  • Can offer technical expertise to match business requirements with systems available on the market
  • Can communicate effectively to engage a wide set of users across businesses, capture and make sense of user journeys and effectively communicate the results widely, including to senior level audiences
  • Demonstrable evidence of leading an agile team as well as coaching, mentoring and upskilling people in agile techniques and roles to build capability within existing teams
Nice-to-have skills and experience Demonstrable experience of managing the entire project lifecycle, including the planning, design, development and delivery of digital projects in line with Government Digital Service Standards

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 4
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed approach and methodology
  • How approach meets user needs
  • How approach meets DfE requirements
  • Estimated timeframes for the work and experience of ensuring time bound delivery
  • How risks and dependencies are identified and proposed approaches to manage them
  • Team Structure (capacity & capability)
  • Value for Money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Ability to work transparently and collaboratively with our organisation and other suppliers (in working practice, decision making etc)
  • Ability to effectively share knowledge and expertise within the team and more widely
  • Ability to communicate effectively with colleagues with lower levels technical expertise
  • Ability to work at pace to deliver results that will make a positive impact on the business
Payment approach Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Does DfE consider this work to be in or out of scope of IR35? This work is out of scope of IR35.