Awarded to Kainos Software Ltd

Start date: Monday 23 July 2018
Value: £66,000
Company size: large
Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Digital skills and capacity uplift into DTU of FCO - Senior Product Manager

8 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 0 large

25 Completed applications

21 SME, 4 large

Important dates

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


Specialist role
Product manager
Summary of the work
The skills will be required for analysis, design, build, implementation and management of digital transactional services, driven by the Digital Transformation Unit, aligned to FCO's Digital Strategy.
Latest start date
Monday 2 July 2018
Expected contract length
3-4 months
Organisation the work is for
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Maximum day rate
£800-1000 per day.

About the work

Early market engagement
The FCO has engaged specialists with these skills in the past but has not done any specific market engagement for the skills outlined in this document.
Who the specialist will work with
The FCO's Digital Transformation Unit is a small team and the specialist will be working across the whole unit. Each individual service they will work on will have its own set of stakeholders and they are likely to be working with managers, delivery teams and processing staff in each instance.
What the specialist will work on
The FCO Digital Transformation Unit (DTU) aims to recruit specialist skills to meet needs, including flow from the tech sector to build deeper expertise. The recruited specialist may be asked to backfill members of the team, to fill an immediate short term need for a skillset not in the team, or to staff a whole project as appropriate.
The recruited specialists will continue to implement the ambitious digital transformation agenda of the FCO by identifying opportunities for new transactional services, designing and building them, transitioning them into business as usual environment and managing them whilst applying continuous improvement methodologies.

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Work will be done in the FCO's London office in King Charles Street London, and also in the Milton Keynes offices where the processing/development teams are based. Some work can be done off site if the specialist wants or needs to.
Working arrangements
We would like the individual to:
Be comfortable talking to non-technical staff and translating their requirements into technical terms.
Be a good listener.
Where appropriate, propose changes to processes.
We would like to be able to send the specialist unaccompanied to meet technical and non-technical staff, confident that they will be respectful, productive, and represent the Digital Transformation Unit effectively.
Security clearance
FCO offices are secure buildings. Therefore, SC clearance will be a competitive advantage at the selection process. However, FCO will consider organising security clearance for suitably qualified candidates.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Possibility of a 3 month extension to contract.

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 product management with a track-record for shipping and evolving great digital products by working with multidisciplinary teams in an agile delivery setting
  • Experience of creating, maintaining and prioritising product backlogs and roadmaps to direct the work of delivery teams, especially with a view to driving adoption of products and services
  • Have a thorough understanding of a variety of disciplines involved in digital delivery, including engineering, service design, performance analysis and user research
  • Experience of engaging with users, commissioning research and turning qualitative and quantitative insight into product improvements
  • Familiarity with setting, monitoring and reporting measurable product performance objectives
  • Experience of engagement with senior management, representing the work of the team and demonstrating its contribution to overall organisation goals, especially in terms of tangible benefits to users
  • Have strong verbal, written and visual communication skills that they are able to tailor to the needs of the audience.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Coaching staff
  • Line management

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Have an ability to work with technical and non-techincal staff to understand requirements
  • Build good relationships and trust with teams both with and without departmental sponsors
  • Quickly join teams and understanding their needs, and transferring knowledge when offboarding
  • Have experience working in an agile manner.
Assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please could you confirm whether this role will be working inside or outside of IR35?
Further discussions shall take place with the successful supplier at the appropriate time as it is possible for contractors who are both in and out of scope of the off payroll working rules to be engaged through DOS. The successful supplier / contracting authority will need to check the status in accordance with the HMRC online tool prior to contract commencement. A link to this tool can be found here:
2. Re IR35 it is the responsibility of the public body to make the determination and that can be done now using the tool. Leaving the determination undecided until a supplier is appointed doesn't make sense as suppliers have to provide a day rate on application. Please can you make a determination now and publish.
Provided the candidate is an employee of a registered company then IR35 will not apply. Prior to contracting a questionnaire will be completed in order to confirm this.
3. Are the FCO happy to accept candidates who hold DV clearance?
Yes, the FCO will accept candidates who hold DV clearance.
4. Will the Senior Product Manager be directly managing a team, and if so, how big is the team and what is the make up of it?
We are seeking a “hands on” product manager who will be asked to manage a team of approx. six, taking lead in any necessary design and research and tapping into shared resource. The current team comprises developers, a delivery manager, a user researcher and a UX designer (this is subject to change).
5. How many days a week of work from remote can be offered to the successful candidate?
A minimum of one day a week can be considered, depending on delivery requirements.
6. Can you tell us more about the interview format? For example, will a presentation deck be required and ahead of the interview will you be providing set questions for the candidate to answer?
The interview will be informal in nature and consist of few questions that will not be provided beforehand. Interviews will be conducted over the telephone.
7. Work will be done in the FCO's London office in King Charles Street London, and also in the Milton Keynes offices" - could you tell us what the expectation will be for the percentage of time spent in respectively London and Milton Keynes?
The majority of the work will be undertaken in London, at King Charles Street. It is anticipated that two trips/month would be required to Milton Keynes.
8. Re IR35 you have stated, "Provided the candidate is an employee of a registered company then IR35 will not apply." So if the candidate is an employee of their PSC (personal service company) which contracts via a DOS supplier to the FCO, are you stating you will deem that IR35 does not apply?
Correct – IR35 will not apply. To be clear, if the candidate (who delivered the work on behalf of a DOSS Supplier) has their own company (paying their own tax and insurance) than this will fall outside the scope of IR35.
9. Please can you confirm if a person has already been identified for this role? or if this is an entirely new post with not one specific person in mind or someone who has previously worked at the FCO?
No one has been identified for this role. To be clear, the FCO are fully open and transparent with their procurement process. As a result, we can categorically deny that there is a person in mind. All proposals will be reviewed on their merits and scored against our key criteria listed on the Digital Marketplace portal.
10. Is there currently, or has there recently been, an incumbent carrying out similar work for the FCO?
Yes, there has recently been a senior product manager in post.
11. Given the relatively short time period of 3 - 4 months for this task, can the Authority provide more detail on the intended activities the SME will be expected to undertake?
The Senior Product Manager will be expected to :
- lead on service improvement work for a digital consular service;
- lead on service design and development stage for another consular service;
- undertake service support activities, negotiations with suppliers and
stakeholder engagement;
- work with third party development suppliers;
- produce progress reports e.g. consular digital board updates, fortnightly service review board updates;
- manage releases;
- arrange user research and validation, as needed, using existing resources and channels.
12. Would you like candidate’s CVs. If so, when is the best time to send these?
CV’s of candidates should be provided with supplier responses. Please check that you provide responses to cultural fit questions at the same time. If you have already submitted your application please provide your CV by 18/06/18.

Please send your CV to
13. During the Q&A phone in at 1500 on 11 Jun 2018, the Authority indicated that they were looking for MS Dynamics experience. The description for DOS 6994 - FCO Senior Product Manager does not mention MS Dynamics, nor does the Essentials and Nice to Have experience/qualifications. Can the Authority confirm if MS Dynamics experience is required for this role?
With apologies if this wasn’t clear in the call or in the requirements, the Dynamics skills are only required for the Associate Product Manager which is also being advertised. However, the Senior product manager role will also entail working with Dynamics and any background in Dynamics will be an advantage. The Senior product manager is not expected to code but understanding how Dynamics works and experience in administering it would be very helpful.
14. Can you give a flavour of the specific products and services the Senior Product Manager will be working on?
Please see the response to question 11.
15. If a candidate is providing DV clearance does the FCO require them to transfer the clearance to the FCO?
Yes, the FCO requires that the DV clearance is transferred.