This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Friday 18 May 2018
The Home Office

Home Office Biometrics (HOB) – Application Development

4 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 3 large

6 Completed applications

1 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Friday 4 May 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 11 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 18 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Developing and supporting applications for HOB programme using an Agile methodology. Application development projects are focused on delivering and supporting: the DNA solution, the Biometric Services (API) Gateway, access portal, and mobile solutions. Key technologies are: Java, JBoss Fuse, WebServices, Microservices and Postgres. The scope covers development and system testing.
Latest start date
Monday 2 July 2018
Expected contract length
2 years
Organisation the work is for
The Home Office
Budget range
The budget is expected to be £8M. The team is expected to flex in size to meet requirements. Capacity will vary but is currently in the region of 34 developers, testers, release managers and project managers. Depending on future demand it may drop down to 20 over the life of the contract.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Home Office has existing biometrics systems whose contracts come to an end in 2019. The HOB programme aims to evolve these systems to provide continuity beyond 2019 and enhance their capability through a number of phases.
This procurement will support the HOB Programme evolution of its systems and services, including the introduction of new services through the provision of an application development capability. It will provide the development capability for the programme to deliver robust and resilient solutions to meet the user requirements.
Problem to be solved
The HOB programme requires application development teams to deliver and support a number of biometric services across a series of integrated and co-dependent projects delivered using an Agile methodology. The scope covers application development and system testing. Work packages will focus on: DNA solution, the Biometric Services (API) Gateway, access portal, and mobile solutions. The outcomes will be developed using a combination of core Java (including Spring Boot), JBoss Fuse, WebServices, Microservices, Postgres and workflow skills and experience.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users include, but are not limited to, law enforcement, immigration, border force and HMPO staff who need to use biometrics in a number of situations and locations including custody suites, mobile locations, borders, passport offices and visa application centres.
Early market engagement
HOB have run two supplier days, with over 90 organisations in attendance. The approach to application development and potential use of the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework was briefed to potential suppliers at the HOB supplier day in April 2016. Since then the HOB Programme have conducted market engagement events programme wide and for particular services and systems prior to procurements.
Any work that’s already been done
The Biometric Services Gateway (BSG) is already live and is now in a production maintenance phase. There is a roadmap of new capabilities being developed for the BSG. These developments are in various phases across Alpha and Beta. The DNA database development is in the Beta phase. Other items are in the Discovery phase.
Existing team
• The system (BSG) is in Live with a full development and support team currently in place.
• The projects in Alpha and Beta have project management, business analysis and architectural teams.
• The projects in Discovery have project management and are drawing on the programme Business Analysis and Architectural resource.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
• West Midlands (11-14 personnel) – Home Office Site, Birmingham
• London (23-30 personnel) – Home Office Site, Croydon
Working arrangements
Working arrangements are expected to be flexible and best configured for the project and supplier teams.
The HOB project team will be available during normal UK business hours. On-site testing and any collaborative working (e.g. design, requirements elaboration) will need to be conducted during these hours. Level 3 support needs to be provided outside of these hours.
Each service and system has a HOB project manager, Business Analysis and Architectural team, who will work with the development team to deliver the IT solutions. All development will be conducted through the HOB Development Environment connecting both the Croydon and Birmingham sites.
Security clearance
Supplier shall apply employee screening controls including verifying:
- Identity
- Nationality and Immigration Status
- Employment history
- Criminal History
All staff must hold or be prepared to undergo SC Security Clearance to operate on this project. Some staff in Croydon and in Birmingham must also be NPPV3 clearable.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
DOS2 Framework terms and conditions apply subject to elaborations, clarifications, additional terms and conditions identified at ITT stage for shortlisted suppliers and:
•Rate card and Travel & Subsistence.
•Conflict of Interest/Ethical Walls safeguards (applies to all sub-programme and ‘spin off’ activities whether procured via DOS or other contracting route).

Main charging approach:
• Fixed charge per Story Point delivered, based on Supplier's costs for team and agreed Story Points to be delivered.
• Delivery in fortnightly Agile Sprints for specified Epics/User Stories.
• Story Points for specified Epics/User Stories to be estimated using agreed Baseline set of User Story examples.

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
  • Experience of providing a level 3 application support service with supporting ITIL processes operating in UK business hours and 24 x 7 out of hours support.
  • The supplier has experience and can provide evidence of delivering development capability support at this level: across 5 projects and up to 44 development team members
  • Team experience of development using an Agile Scrum methodology, operating in sprints and aligning their development activities with other parallel work streams across split sites, ensuring coding standards are maintained.
  • Practical experience of working within a complex test environment aligning to the ISO 29119 standard.
  • Credible and referenced proof of team and individual experience in object oriented programming.
  • Experience of secure development practices for high integrity systems, working with mature and controlled software development processes and legacy systems.
  • Experience in Java, up to 17 developers and Spring Boot, Activiti and Web Service Development
  • Experience in developing on Public Cloud Hosting platforms and use of associated products (specify for all platforms and products).
  • Experience in JBoss Fuse and Forum Sentry, up to 8 developers
  • Credible and referenced proof of experience and excellent technical competence in object oriented programming with Postgres SQL database, Amazon RDS, Microservices and Workflow technologies and designing and running SQL queries
  • Experience of development pipeline tooling, specifically Git source code repository, defect tracking systems (JIRA and Confluence), continuous integration tools (Jenkins) and automated testing frameworks
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of ETL, data warehouse and reporting technologies and data migration from Oracle to Postgres
  • Demonstrate container experience using Docker
  • Teams should be self motivated, having an ability to work on their own initiative and without constant direction, but also be able to collaboratively with HOB staff.
  • Experience in other programming and scripting languages (e.g. C++, C#, .NET Framework, Python) and some familiarity with legacy technologies; Oracle 10, Oracle Forms and Reports, Windows Services and C programming.
  • Experience of working in relevant business domains i.e. immigration and law enforcement.
  • Experience of working in a multiple supplier delivery regime whereby a separate supplier is integrating the application into the end user compute platform and operating the live service.
  • Experience of working with an external “client side” technical design authority.
  • Experience of charging for development on a fixed Agile Story Point basis.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Tooling and integration
  • Delivery Capability – Development & Test
  • Support Capability - Level 3 support to production
  • Resourcing table and CVs - core team roles
  • Transition and Exit
  • On-boarding new projects
Cultural fit criteria
  • Security Management
  • Experience working with public sector organisations
  • Ability to work collaboratively with key stakeholders
  • Collaboration Approach
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you clarify the split of responsibility between the HOB team and the Application Development supplier, specifically the roles for which the supplier will be accountable?
The supplier will be accountable for delivering items defined in agreed work packages. Priorities for delivering those items are set by HOB and agreed with the supplier.

The supplier will be responsible for application designs, development and testing through to the end of system testing. HOB will provide the Product Owner, Solution Architects covering the conceptual architecture, Systems Integration and test resources to lead the test phases after System Test. There is a separate DevOps supplier with whom the AppDev supplier will need to work with.
2. In addition to development and test resources, does the Authority expect the supplier to include; Project Management, Test Management and Technical Architecture?
The Authority expects the supplier to manage delivery of agreed work. It is up to the supplier to propose what team they would need to deliver that work but typically we would expect a project manager/scrum master, system test resources and a technical architect amongst other roles (e.g. appdev engineers)

See also response to the question above.
3. Can you confirm the timelines for the projects in Discovery, Alpha and Beta. Are these expected to complete within the 2 years of this tender?
There are multiple projects being delivered all with different milestone dates. All current projects are expected to complete within the 2 years of this tender.

New projects may be initiated during the contract with completion dates that may be after the end of this contract period.
4. Can you confirm the associated timelines for this opportunity i.e. Stage 1, Stage 2 and Contract Award?
The indicative target timescales are as follows:
- Supplier submissions to Ad to be received by 18/5/18;
- Suppliers shortlisted to be notified by 23/5/18;
- Supplier Briefing Event to be held on 29/5/18;
- ITT to be issued to suppliers by 29/5/18;
- Supplier responses to ITT to be received by 12/6/18;
- Evaluation to be completed by 19/6/18;
- Contract award by 29/6/18 but subject to all approvals being received.

Suppliers will be kept informed if the above indicative dates change
5. In response to some questions (specifically Essential#8 and Nice to have#4) if one example does not check all the parameters can we use more than one example as evidence?
Suppliers can use up to 3 examples and are encouraged to do so wherever applicable. On the E8 requirement on Public Cloud Hosting platforms, examples should cover experience on all relevant platforms, which may be more than three examples.

If more than one example needs to be used to cover all the areas then the response should explain how the combination of examples provided meets the requirements.
6. On E8 - ‘Experience in developing on Public Cloud Hosting platforms and use of associated products (specify for all platforms and products)’ With reference to the use of associated products, can examples be provided of the product types expected to be referenced in relation to each Public Cloud Hosting platform (i.e. are these platform services, Appdev or test tooling products, etc)
HOB services are currently being run and developed on a combination of IaaS and PaaS services. In this contract experience should be provided of designing applications to be public Cloud compatible. This contract relates to application development services and the response should therefore cover experience in the use of platform services from an application perspective such application servers, databases and queues. The response should also cover experience of application development, testing and deployment works with these platform services.
7. For the second point on the essential skills and experiences; can you confirm that the 5 individual projects are to be serviced by the 44 team members mentioned. Is that the envisaged scenario?
The AppDev and associated system test requirements for all project deliverables will be delivered by the team proposed by the supplier
8. Is out-of-hours level 3 support expected to be on an on-call basis, or permanently present? If on-call, is remote access to the HOB Development Environment possible?
Yes this will be on an on call basis and yes there is a support laptop with remote access.
9. For the question ”Experience in developing on Public Cloud Hosting platforms and use of associated products (specify for all platforms and products)”, simply listing the public cloud platforms and associated projects we have experience developing in would take more than 100 words, without providing any details evidencing that experience. Are there particular clouds or products that HO would like suppliers to focus on?
The most relevant areas of your experience to cover would be

1. Experience with "enterprise grade" public Cloud such as Azure or AWS would be the best fit.

2. IaaS and PaaS technologies that support modern responsive web apps and system-to-sytesm message hub (ESB) systems
10. The “Additional Terms and Conditions” section states the main charging approach is “Fixed charge per Story Point”. The “How Suppliers will be evaluated” section states that the payment approach is “Fixed price”. Assuming payment will not be made after each story point, could the Home Office provide further details on how the charging and payment approach will be aligned?
The Payment approach is “Fixed price” as this is the only radio button option available to the Buyer to indicate the basis is Fixed Story Point Charging. This is further elaborated in “Additional Terms and Conditions” section. The Supplier would be paid at the Fixed Charge per Story Point applicable for an individual Statement of Work (SoW) for all Story Points produced in that SoW up to the maximum of the total number of Story Points agreed for each intermediate payment milestone in the SoW. Payment milestones would be set for a whole number of fortnightly Sprints within the SoW.
11. The Summary of Work states “Application development projects are focused on delivering and supporting… mobile solutions”. Could the Home Office confirm which mobile platforms are/will be used?
At this point in time the HOB mobile project is on-boarding external mobile solutions onto the Biometric Services Gateway. There are multiple end user mobile capabilities in various agency that are consuming the biometric services. The development and support of the external mobile services are outside the scope of this contract.

There is no immediate need for a mobile app to be developed within this contract and as such no mobile platforms have been selected.

In the future the may be a need to develop a mobile app. Technology constraints and options will be reviewed at the appropriate point.
12. What if the vendor delivered more than the total number of Story Points agreed for the Statement of Work?
We would want to discuss a gainshare arrangement for Story Points delivered in excess of the total agreed at the end of the SoW e.g. over 600 Story Points where 600 Story Points was the total agreed for the Statement of Work (SoW), whereby the excess Story Points would be paid for at a percentage of the fixed charge per Story Point, on the basis that the vendor had already covered their costs on the total agreed number of Story Points (the 600 in the example).