Awarded to Glue Reply (a trading division of Reply Ltd.)

Start date: Monday 2 July 2018
Value: £377,200
Company size: SME
Government Digital Service, part of Cabinet Office

WP1575 Discovery/Alpha to understand how we can move away from PSN to use networks in the future

7 Incomplete applications

2 SME, 5 large

3 Completed applications

2 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Monday 14 May 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 21 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 28 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A Discovery/Alpha showing how government migrates from PSN that:
-are cost-effective
-maximise commercial services
-maintain a strong marketplace
-deliver measurable security
-support working across organisational boundaries

The project will gather evidence via interviews with consumers and suppliers, and from network traffic, to test how government can best adopt future networks.
Latest start date
Monday 2 July 2018
Expected contract length
5 months
Organisation the work is for
Government Digital Service, part of Cabinet Office
Budget range
up to £380k

About the work

Why the work is being done
It’s been over a year since GDS blogged that the 'internet is OK' and that government would be moving away from the Public Service Network (PSN). But we still need ways to ensure public sector organisations connecting to the internet get the continuous and consistent service quality and security they need. This project will confirm the detail behind that need, and deliver standards and guidance which meet it. Any standards and guidance must be easily adoptable by service providers, and their implementation and effectiveness must be measurable through automated means.
Problem to be solved
Provide a team to deliver Discovery and Alpha:-

Discovery phase:-

- Understand the user needs at the network level for communications and security within and between public sector organisations

- Understand the direction of the marketplace, and how public sector organisations can benefit quickly and continuously from technology improvements, whilst maintaining consistent level of protection

Alpha phase:-

- Establish an automated mechanism for ensuring that the selected common standards, architectural patterns, guidance and services are being tested and deployed effectively

- Deliver a report summarising findings of the Alpha and recommending the work that should be undertaken during Beta phase.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a public sector organisation worker, I need a modern, cost effective and secure way to communicate across all public sector organisations to let end-users and systems work reliably, easily and securely with one another particularly across organisational boundaries. I also need the adoption of commercially available network services that can evolve as technology moves forward, maintaining a strong marketplace of potential service providers.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Government Digital Service along with other departments, agencies and public bodies have undertaken strategic activities to work towards thinking through solutions to this problem. The Discovery and Alpha stages of this work will be the important component of this opportunity.

The GDS programme team has created a list of planned outputs and desired outcomes from the discovery phase, in addition we have blogged on the subject:-

1. The Internet is OK
2. Future Networks for Government
Existing team
The supplier will be working with a small team of Civil Servants (GDS and NCSC Programme Team) and possibly with other suppliers undertaking related concurrent discovery activity.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Interactions with the GDS programme team will be in London and it is anticipated that a significant proportion of research activities will be London based, but some national travel may be needed in the discovery stage.
Working arrangements
We will want the team to work from their own premises, meeting with members of the GDS programme team in two week sprints, with additional regular 'Show and Tell' sessions to allow other users and stakeholders to input. At least half of these meetings to be onsite in Whitechapel (GDS), the programme team will provide a point of contact for initial user research and other meeting requirements. It is expected that the supplier will provide the following resources as the work dictates to deliver the outcome:-

Technical Architect
Security Architect
Network Engineer
Business Analyst
User Researcher
Delivery Manager
Security clearance
The supplier must have SC cleared staff or be willing to undertake SC clearance at their own cost.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
"All expenses must be pre-agreed with between the parties and must comply with the Cabinet Office (CO) Travel and Subsistence (T&S) Policy."

"All vendors are obliged to provide sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures so that the processing meets the requirements of GDPR and ensures the protection of the rights of data subjects. For further information please see the Information Commissioner's Office website:"

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
  • Infrastructure specialist with advanced skills in traffic profiling, performance, vulnerability scanning, analysis, and SIEM tools. Able to install, configure, deploy and tune a range of relevant tools for these purposes.
  • Have experience in successfully providing knowledge transfer to client teams, particularly around the operation, and getting the best out of the tools described above
  • Have experience of conducting user research across a mix of general and I.T networks specialist staff
  • User researcher with experience of how networks affect user performance
  • Business change specialist capable of helping a wide range of organisations adopt new ways of working.
  • Senior network specialist familiar with current and future trends in the network marketplace, and their implications for government
  • Have experience of working with multiple government departments, agencies and public sector organisations and their I.T service providers on a single project.
  • Experience of working across several networking platforms and vendors
  • Experience of working in an Agile environment and using evidence to develop and test hypotheses through the roles of User Researcher, Product Owner and Delivery Manager.
  • Have experience demonstrating, through data gathered, that user needs are being met, and adapting tools to improve how user needs are being met
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have experience in working with small client teams in 'startup' mode, delivering value early in the project, and adapting to change
  • Have experience of delivering projects involving SaaS collaboration tools e.g Google G-Suite, Google Team Drives, Trello, Basecamp, Slack, MS Office 365 etc.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • The proposed technical solution, approach and methodology to delivery
  • How the approach and solution meets our business needs and policy ambition
  • How the approach meets user needs
  • How the supplier has identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Estimated timeframes for the Discovery and Alpha stages of delivery
  • Team structure and organisational makeup
  • Value for money of the proposed solution
  • Deliver a Discovery and Alpha which uncovers how government can move away from PSN and other dedicated government networks, in ways that are cost effective and achievable within reasonable timeframe.
  • Allow the adoption of commercially available network services that evolve as technology evolves, and maintain a strong marketplace of potential service providers
  • Deliver a measurable and consistent level of security across all public sector organisations let users work reliably, easily and securely with one another, particularly across organisational boundaries
  • Shortlisted suppliers will be invited to present their approach and ask/answer questions of the programme team on Friday 15 June, (in Whitehall, London) no alternative date is available.
  • Please provide Work Histories of all proposed team members. All submitted Work Histories will be scored as a set.
  • Must provide evidence that demonstrates meeting the cultural fit criteria
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with the GDS organisation and other suppliers, in a self-starting fashion: not over-reliant on the small client team.
  • The discovery and alpha phases should be carried out along GDS service design guidelines
  • Be transparent and collaborative both in decision making and, more generally, to facilitate knowledge transfer.
  • Be comfortable working at the boundary between modern digital ways of working and formal procedures and policies.
  • Challenge the status quo
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you please confirm expected skill set of developer? Would this include PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python?
No actual preference or expectation, but we do not favour PHP. We expect the developer to have a broad set of experience, and use the right tools for the work, rather than being limited to a small set.
2. Can you please confirm if there are any preferred SIEM tools?
We expect the supplier to have a broad set of experience in all major SIEM tools. We expect the supplier to understand the features and capabilities of all major SIEM tools and be sufficiently skilled to choose the right tools for the job.