Awarded to Olive Jar Digital

Start date: Wednesday 30 May 2018
Value: £351,800
Company size: SME
Standards and Testing Agency, Department for Education

Multiplication Test Check - Development, Quality Assurance and Technical Architect Services

5 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 1 large

1 Completed application

1 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Friday 20 April 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 27 April 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 4 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
DfE require a highly skilled supplier with experience in developing digital services for government that meet users' needs and in line with the GDS standards to complete beta and prepare the system for live. DfE are looking to secure Technical Architect, Full Stack Developers and Quality Assurance.
Latest start date
Wednesday 30 May 2018
Expected contract length
5 months
Organisation the work is for
Standards and Testing Agency, Department for Education
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
DfE are delivering a government manifesto commitment: ‘all children to know their times tables by the time they leave key-stage 2 (KS2) education’. In 2016 the government signalled its intention to introduce a multiplication tables check during key stage 2.

In 2017, DfE announced that the check would be delivered to Year 4 pupils with a national pilot in 2019 with the check being mandatory in 2020.

STA are tasked with delivering and launched the Multiplication Tables Check (MTC) project – the on-screen check to assess pupils’ ability to fluently recall their multiplication tables through a set of timed questions
Problem to be solved
Continuation of development on the check 'Single Page Application' (pupil interface) and administration application for the Technical Pre Test (TPT); scheduled for June 2018. This will include tasks such as moving the application services from the Department's Azure PAYG instance to the secure Azure Enterprise instance. Secure the solution components in response to the upcoming penetration test report. Ensuring the solution also meets the requirements of the Department for Education's Enterprise azure cloud ops team.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Headteacher/Teacher - I complete check administration (registers, access arrangements, generate pins, restarts, declaration) and view results, so pupils take the check.
As a Pupil - I take the check (using access arrangements if applicable) so I demonstrate fluent recall of tables.
As a Service Manager - I prepare check windows, monitor system performance and review MI so I identify issues.
As a Test developer - I upload check forms, review question performance to ensure check forms remain valid.
As a Helpdesk user - I need the ability to remotely view school screens see so I can support users.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery and Alpha have been completed. We have recently undertaken 2 Private Beta tests (one to check system performance and data collection, and the second to check pupils recollection times of their times tables)

A copy of the current coding is available here
Existing team
Senior Responsible Officer (Deputy Director), Product Owner/Project Manager, Deputy Project Manager - all within STA and, Agile delivery manager, Business Analyst, Data Analyst, User Researcher and User Design all working from another supplier
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The Supplier’s representatives may be required to attend meetings at DfE Office locations: London and Coventry.

Choice of premises shall be determined by the Buyer, in consultation with the Supplier and may take into account the Buyer’s intention to keep overall cost of Travel and Subsistence for all parties to a practical minimum.
Working arrangements
Kanban Agile Project Management - Daily stand-ups - A fortnightly sprint ceremonies in London - remote working with minimal travel to London expected.

We expect the supplier to work according to agile Kanban methodology, in line with the principles set out in the GDS Service Manual.
Security clearance
BPSS (Baseline security level) required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All IPRs (as defined) in the Project-Specific IPRs and the Deliverables shall vest in the Buyer unconditionally and immediately upon their creation. The Supplier shall procure all necessary permissions or licence from relevant third parties as necessary to allow the Buyer to receive the Services and use the Deliverables.

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
  • Examples of delivering services using agile teams practising Kanban Methodology, meet the Digital Service Standard/Tech Code of Practice and examples of passed GDS Beta Service assessments
  • Expertise in taking forward user research and usability testing to meet user needs to meet any set acceptance criteria (including assisted digital, users with access needs and accessibility audits)
  • Examples of in house expertise in developing production ready open source code for private/public Beta releases from Discovery and Alpha outputs (e.g. low-fi/hi-fi prototypes) and use of GitHub
  • Expertise in automated (testing) environments and implementing continuous integration, delivery & deployment using languages such as Ruby, Java Script, Typescript, Bash and SQL
  • Expertise in Target Architecture Design, Process and Operations Rationalisation & Design and Organisational Design.
  • Proven experience in scale on demand, high performance web based applications and practical application of encryption to ensure a secure online system at all times
  • Suppliers must demonstrate in their response proven capability of development in the following areas - NodeJS with SQL Server on Azure.
  • Some nuances require manual intervention so the application runs smoothly and data recorded accurately (time stamps from multiple devices). Supplier’s response must demonstrate full competency in this area
  • Experience in developing SPA’s – the check has been modified to behave differently to normal browsers; ensuring Pupils are focused and cannot accidentally navigate away, with standard features (refresh) disabled
  • Examples of tamper proofing of browser data with encryption is also required in the response
  • Accessibility - Supplier must show competence on how browser features, (ie speech synthesis), can be leveraged; inclusive of Apple devices and other platforms i.e. Linux, Windows (7 and up)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging internal stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation;
  • Demonstrate experience of designing and delivering an online platform or service;
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the schools sector

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence that your proposed approach and methodology for delivery will successfully deliver working software to meet user needs and meet specified acceptance criteria.
  • Proposed supplier team structure, with evidence to demonstrate a strong team and how their skills and experience will deliver the required outcomes.
  • Evidence that the supplier has an appreciation of the education and educational technology policy landscape and that the proposal is relevant to that context.
  • Evidence of how the proposal represents value for money.
  • Demonstration of ability to work with DfE/STA in-house teams with limited technical and agile expertise.
  • Evidence of the required technical capabilities to provide immediate impact and working software.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstration of a proactive approach, taking responsibility for work and resolving issues quickly, without an over reliance on the client team
  • Demonstration of working in a transparent and collaborative way with DfE in a remote working environment; including expertise of Kanban Agile methodology, and products such as VSO, Slack and Zoom.
  • Demonstration of an understanding of DfE’s need to deliver the best value for money solution.
  • Demonstration of ability to work in a modern digital ways within DfE and GDS formal procedures and policies
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you confirm which tool sets, Azure features and programming languages have been used so far in Alpha phase?
The following have been used so far in Alpha phase:

Tool Sets– Docker, VSTS, Travis, CircleCI and Gulp

Azure Features - Linux App Service, Web App for Containers, Azure Container Service, SQL Server, Application Insights and Table Storage

Programming Languages – NodeJS, Bash, Ruby and Typescript
2. Is there any incumbent supplier who has delivered Alpha phase?
‘Yes there has been an incumbent supplier that has led on the technical development, alongside a separate supplier who has led on user research etc, since the discovery phase which started in November 2016; the technical supplier framework that the incumbent (technical supplier) was procured under is set to expire shortly.’
3. Could the Authority please confirm whether it has any view on the desired team size and structure?
‘The technical development team the Department in place since Alpha, consists of 1 Technical Architect, 3 x Full Stack Developers and 2 x Quality Assurance specialists/professionals, it is expected that a similar level of specialist resources will be required under the proposed contract from Day 1. The Department also had a sister team of Business Analysts, User Researchers, Performance Analysts and User Experience professionals who have been procured under a separate contract and the appointed technical supplier will be expected to work closely with this team, Departmental digital and information assurance leads, and the core Civil Servant-led Project Team directly’.
4. Is there a Supplier Day available for this opportunity ?
There will not be a supplier day for this opportunity