Awarded to Olive Jar Digital

Start date: Friday 1 June 2018
Value: £177,320
Company size: SME
Department for Education

Schools financial benchmarking web development.

2 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 1 large

7 Completed applications

6 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Wednesday 2 May 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 9 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 16 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To finalise the development of the public beta school benchmarking website and work as part of the scrum team to prepare for the move to a post-live support, maintenance and development arrangement. We require web developers for infrastructure and Technical Architecture, software design, Quality Assurance and automation testing.
Latest start date
Friday 1 June 2018
Expected contract length
Up to 4 months
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
up to £200k

About the work

Why the work is being done
The purpose of the financial benchmarking website ( is to enable schools to make comparison between their own spending and that of similar schools in various categories. This information should be used by school leaders to inform their level of spending and to identify if, where, and how spending changes could be made to support pupil progress within the available level of resource. A public beta version of the new benchmarking service was launched in July 2017. The application is close to gaining LIVE status.
Problem to be solved
The retired tools were outdated, used old technologies and infrastructure, were difficult to maintain due to the lack of legacy skills in the market, were difficult to use and did not reflect the latest educational landscape and user needs.

The tool is in the final stages of public beta development. Development is needed to:
- implement accessibility improvements for users with disabilities or impairments;
- continue to implement requirements from user experience testing;
- develop an admin platform to allow automation of data uploads;
- to improve the process for cleaning data to upload.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a school governor, I need to compare my own school's financial data with similar schools in order to identify any potential areas of saving and learn from schools that perform better in a given area of spending.

As a school business (or office) manager, I require to understand the details of school finances so that I can look for ways to improve efficiency and to report my findings to the relevant bodies.

As a head teacher, I require an overview of my school’s finances to understand how they compare with similar schools to inform budget setting.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The schools financial benchmarking website has been recently fully redeveloped and a public beta version went live in July 2017. The site underwent a GDS live assessment in January 2018, which concluded with a number of recommendations to be implemented before the site undergoes another live assessment.
Existing team
The supplier will be working within a development team that consists of: Product owner (DfE); scrum master; business analyst; data developer; front end developer; user experience testers; web content writer.

This is a relationship between two suppliers and DfE where the internal decision making is done by the department but the UR/UX, Business Analysis and Scrum master services are with third parties. The project need is to supply appropriate levels of full-stack development with a heavy emphasis on data analysis and data manipulation.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Department for Education, Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT

Most of the daily work can be done remotely but attendance at meetings in London will be required occasionally. Well-tested and proven online collaboration tools are used for daily communication.
Working arrangements
The team will continue to hold daily meetings via online collaboration tools to triage new work based on feedback analytics, maintenance issues or policy changes. In addition, fortnightly show and tell sessions take place at the Department for Education in London to provide the opportunity to update the SRO on changes that were made and prioritise changes to be made.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) 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
  • Demonstrable experience in providing full-stack development with a heavy emphasis on data analysis and data manipulation
  • Demonstrable experience in using the following key platform components: Microsoft Azure (CosmosDB, App Service for Windows, Azure Search), ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web API, Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS/VSO), GitHub
  • Experience in working in a team in an Agile environment
  • Experience of working within the public sector in the last 3 years
  • Cyber Essentials
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience in building citizen-facing digital services
  • Experience in taking service through the GDS Service Assessment
  • Experience in working in UX driven environment
  • Experience in contributing to UX driven environment

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution: A solid understanding of the above technologies and how to apply these within a GDS guided environment A solid understanding of the GDS principles.
  • Understanding of available DfE data and its shortcomings: A robust understanding of DfE data and what is available e.g. Get Information About Schools (GIAS)
  • Approach and methodology: A solid understanding of Agility and the core principles, Inspect and Adapt culture, Scrum with demonstratable examples of how these apply.
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs: A good understanding of UX centric website development.
  • Value for money: Demonstrate a transparent financial structure and fair pricing for the service.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary team with our organisation and other providers: Demonstrable examples of how the selection process works to fit into a team and a wider organisation
  • Transparent and collaborative when making decisions: Explain your understanding of a transparent and collaborative environment and include demostrable examples of using Scrum core values: commitment, focus, openness, respect and courage
  • Take responsibility for their deliverables and work
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Why did you decide to split this opportunity up into Discovery/Alpha and then conduct a second tender for Beta?
The existing contract that the Department has for the development of the Schools financial benchmarking service terminates at the end of May 2018. As further development work is needed, we have published our requirements in order to complete this Beta development phase of work.
2. What are the services which are required under Cyber essentials? Or do we just need to Cyber Essentials Certificate?
We are asking potential contractors to hold a Cyber Essentials certificate. Cyber Essentials is the government backed, industry supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber-attacks. Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus are levels within the scheme.
There are a number of certification bodies that can be approached for further advice on the scheme; the link below points to one of these providers:
3. Are the incumbent supplier/suppliers bidding for this Beta development work?
We do not have any information on who is bidding for this opportunity and we will not be able to access this until the advert closes.