Data Modernisation Division (DMD), Data Group, Department for Education (DfE)

Agile development of the ‘Send data to DfE’ service formerly known as Data Exchange.

Incomplete applications

8
Incomplete applications
7 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

8
Completed applications
4 SME, 4 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Monday 11 June 2018
Deadline for asking questions Monday 18 June 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Monday 25 June 2018 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work We are looking for an agile delivery partner to help us develop the ‘send data to DfE’ service in line with user needs and delivery of MVP products by December; to plan and take forward subsequent phases of work; and to help build knowledge and capability within the DfE.
Latest start date Monday 30 July 2018
Expected contract length 1 Year + 1 Year extension option
Location North East England
Organisation the work is for Data Modernisation Division (DMD), Data Group, Department for Education (DfE)
Budget range The budget for this work is capped at £2 million for Financial Year 2018/19.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done Data is vital to the DfE achieving its overall vision of improving educational outcomes.

Across DfE there are a number of different systems for data providers to send this data to us. These date back many years; involve business processes which are manually intensive and that by nature incur ongoing risks to data quality.

We want to

• reduce the burden placed on schools etc. when it comes to moving data.
• streamline our data collection processes.
• improve DfE’s evidence base to enable effective policy making.
• spot warning signs more readily.
• provide better, more timely benchmarking information.
Problem to be solved To align our data capture functions and provide modern, automated, services that provide a consistent user experience for sending data to us in a flexible and scalable way, addressing:

• data is not always of good quality when it first moves.
• data does not enable early detection of issues and quick decision making.
• collecting and validating data takes too long and involves significant manual effort within the sector and across DfE.
• there are inconsistencies between data in school systems and DfE systems.
• feedback and reports from data take too long to be of use to schools.
Who the users are and what they need to do Data Providers including schools, LAs, MATs have responsibilities to provide data to DfE throughout the year. There are around 90 different data collections ranging from small scale collections through to the termly school census.

Suppliers of systems across the sector who support data providers return data to DfE.

DfE use the data to assist delivery, assess progress, inform decisions and to evidence that the Department is achieving its ambitions.
Early market engagement The DfE plans to tackle the problem through delivery of a number of digital services (API and Web) each of which are directly driven by user needs established in Discovery and Alpha phases. These user needs will be further validated and refined through ongoing user research. We’re about to enter the Beta delivery phase which is focussed on automating data flow from the data provider systems into DfE and we expect to begin an Alpha phase progressing the user need around the manual return of data in August and is also within the scope of this request.

Work so far has been delivered through a blended team of permanent civil servants and external partners procured through commercially compliant frameworks.

The existing model has worked well with the right balance of skills and flexibility; we anticipate that the successful supplier will continue to work within this model. If a supplier wishes to provide an alternative, we would be interested in hearing their rationale and explanation of how this would achieve our ambitions including building in house capability.
Any work that’s already been done We’ve explored the use of application programme interfaces (APIs) to automate the flow of data from data provider systems into the DfE. We’ve built prototypes for the products associated with API usage

• A developer hub where MIS suppliers can register their software to work with our APIs
• A data provider hub where schools can approve that software to provide authoritative data on their behalf and see what data has been provided to DfE
• Mock APIs to validate and receive test school census into DfE.

Research is also ongoing looking at the user need to manually return data.
Existing team A blended team of permanent civil servants and external partners.

Service Owner
Product Owner (with a 2nd PO to be appointed before September)
Delivery Manager / Scrum Master (*) (this role will eventually be filled by a civil servant)
Lead User Researcher
Senior User Researcher (we expect to appoint a further two user researchers shortly)
Senior Business Analyst (we expect to appoint a further two BAs shortly)
Technical Architect(*)
API Developer (*)
Comms / Business Engagement Lead
Project Support

(Roles marked with an asterisk indicate roles supplied externally)
Current phase Beta

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Department for Education
Darlington Digital Hub
Bishopsgate House

Where travel to other DfE sites is required, the DfE will meet expenses in line with the Departmental T&S claims policy.
Working arrangements Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques. This will involve daily stand up and fortnightly sprint planning sessions which take a retrospective review on work delivered and the Product Owner will prioritise work for the next 2 weeks.

The Delivery Manager will monitor progress and maintain proportionate project documentation that will ultimately feed into monthly Project Boards

We expect all roles to attend stand ups and come together after each two week sprint cycle.
Security clearance Evidence of BPSS clearance and annual certification on information handling and data protection are required for all contractors. Workers are not permitted to copy/remove or share any data owned by DfE, additionally suppliers will need to ensure that any system holding DfE data comply with the government security policy framework.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions • GDPR compliance
• Short-listed suppliers must attend the DfE open day and presentation day on the specified date; we will not rearrange for an alternative date.
• All contractors have completed security checks (BPSS clearance), completed information handling training, and data protection training prior to work commencing

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Provision of the following technical roles: Technical Lead, Full-stack Developer, Front-end Developer, API developer, DevOps Engineer who have demonstrable experience and excellent communication skills.
  • Experienced in using Agile/Scrum methodology to iteratively architect/develop high quality government digital services to GDS standards. Experience of hands on management, knowledge transfer including training and coaching.
  • Prior experience of creating high and low level designs on Azure platform, CMS design / development and supporting high-usage production applications.
  • Extensive prior experience of Microservice Architecture, RESTful API design using Swagger (OpenAPI).
  • Extensive experience of using C#/.NET Framework and Core Javascript, good knowledge of Razor (ASP.NET Core), SQL Server, Continuous Delivery (ARM), JWT simulator for QA scenarios, Redis cache and GIT.
  • Extensive experience of development using the following web technologies JQuery, HTML5/JavaScript/JQuery/CSS3/SASS, NodeJS/grunt/bower config, WCAG 2.0 accessibility.
  • Extensive experience of Authentication technologies including OAUTH 2.0 JWS/claims-based authentication with IdPs.
  • Extensive experience of MS Azure: Hosting/platform/monitoring, API Management, App Services/web jobs, Service Bus, Resource Manager (ARM), APIs (e.g. Azure Graph API), Visual Studio Team Services. Infrastructure Automation, IaaS/PaaS.
  • Prior experience to include using GDS Design Principles and Digital Service Standard and keeping up to date with Gov APIs, services, libraries and toolkits, GDS FE toolkit, service assessments.
  • Prior experience of, but not limited to Test Driven Development (especially frontend unit testing), Behaviour Driven Development (exposure to SpecFlow and Gherkin), Government APIs, DevOPs, Test Automation Microsoft Stack.
  • Ability to provide and flex Service Design/UX Designer, Content Designer, User Researcher and Business Analyst resource as required in line with internal capability and capacity.
  • Service Design / UX Designer – Prior experience to include but not limited to delivering high quality digital, user-centred services to GDS standards.
  • Content Designer – Extensive experience of writing web and technical content in a succinct, clear manner with an ability to be creative and compelling.
  • User Researcher – extensive experience of undertaking user research in line with the GDS Service Manual using a variety of research techniques to identify and analyse the user need.
  • Test Lead / Testers(s) – Extensive experience in quality assuring digital services. Working effectively with other team members to ensure quality is embedded throughout the development life cycle.
  • Business Analyst – Extensive prior experience to include using agile/non-agile methodologies, proven communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills; analysing business, technical and user needs to agree detailed functional/technical specifications and plans.
  • Ability for all roles to work effectively and collaboratively with other delivery teams both internal and external to DfE to achieve shared goals and objectives.
  • Ability to quickly mobilise skilled and experienced teams.
  • The supplier must adhere to WCAG 2.0 standards, with a score of AAA or AA.
  • All development must be completed within the UK and all data must remain in the UK.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of providing on the job coaching in agile delivery on the specialist skills within the team.
  • Experience of building in-house capability.
  • Experience of developing software that complies to Government security guidelines and current OWASP risks – including presenting compliance and necessary documentation showing that all suppliers are vetted.
  • Experience of ensuring that software delivery has undergone rigorous security testing and security accreditation.
  • Contingency and Flexibility – Ability to easily scale resources up or down based on project needs and substitute similar resources without any implication to the project.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Their understanding of the project’s ambitions and key services, including working with the MIS supplier market.
  • How they will meet a private beta key milestone to deliver APIs to support validation, and return of census data between the data provider and the DfE – December 2018.
  • How they will meet a private beta key milestone to deliver APIs to return data insight back to the data provider – December 2018.
  • How they will meet a private beta key milestone to deliver a working version of the framework through which APIs can be accessed (Developer Hub) – December 2018.
  • How they will enable data providers to securely authorise MIS applications to directly send their data to the DfE and run reports (Data Provider Hub) – by December 2018.
  • How they will meet a private beta key milestone to enable data providers to securely view data, which has been sent to the DfE (Data Provider Hub) – December 2018.
  • Their approach to API design and development.
  • How they will ensure they deliver services in line with user needs and GDS service standards, and not be overly driven by technology.
  • How they will ensure they deliver quality service features which meet industry best practice.
  • How they will ensure the solution (services) is flexible and scalable.
  • How they will support the DfE prepare for the Private Beta Assessment and readiness for Public Beta (planned for March 2019).
  • How they will grow a team in Darlington in response to the needs of the project and provide confidence that this resource will have the right experience and capability.
  • How they propose to work with any projects that have a dependency on ‘Send data to DfE’.
  • How they propose to work with any projects where ‘Send data to DfE’ has a dependency.
  • How they will identify and address potential overlaps comparing work on each proposed service with the manual data return process, showing how the emerging services / architecture will support both.
  • How they will support and deliver an Alpha phase looking at the manual return of data.
  • What risks and dependencies they have identified and their approach to managing them. Include security and protection of data, and risks to the DfE’s reputation.
  • Availability, what will the hours of work be and how will these hours be.
  • How they will ensure the DfE receives best VfM.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Ability to work out of the Darlington office with flexibility to travel to other locations as required.
  • Coaching and mentoring of DfE staff to develop and build capability.
  • How will they work with other contractors.
  • How will they interact with the in-house aspects of the team and wider DfE.
  • Their flexibility to work outside normal hours at critical times and ability to adjust resourcing at short notice to meet the needs of the project.
  • Proactivity in managing risk and identifying potential issues and providing effective mitigations in a timely fashion.
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

40%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

40%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Can you tell us who the current external suppliers are? The current external providers are Capgemini and Sopra Steria.
2. Could you share who (which supplier/suppliers) has assisted with the Discovery work and the Alpha phase? Discovery
•Groupcall–Test how data could be moved between school and DfE. Evidence gathered provided insight into end-to-end flows, data quality and data validation;
•Zineth Data Solution -Test the System Interoperability Framework(SIF) transport model for moving data from organisations to DfE;
•Certs Computing Ltd–Adivse on how best to structure APIs into common data standard (Discovery and Alpha).
Alpha
•Methods–Develop early protoype for the API library and Provider hub;
•Prolog (Fluent)–To further understand user needs;
•Capgemini–Develop and test Census API and provide Delivery Management support for project;
•Sopra Steria–Carry out user research, iterate Provider hub and provide support with Alpha GDS assessment.
3. 3. The title is "Send data to DfE", so regarding the data model: is the Common Basic Data Set going to be the basis for the data? Should we forget the ISB Business Data Architecture? Or, could you explain the intended data architecture underpinning the project? For the Private Beta phase, we will be working with the Common Basic Data Set to automate the flow of data from MIS into the DfE. During this process, there will be continual assessment of the balance between ease and value when it comes to the data standards implemented and the movement of data.
4. Is the Department looking for a better variant of Collect? The Department is looking to align our data capture functions and provide strategic modern, automated, joined-up services that provide a consistent user experience for sending data to DfE in a flexible and scalable way. The planned aims are to address data quality, minimise inconsistencies between DfE and school systems, reduce manual effort and speed up the process of collecting and validating data
5. The budget is specified at £2m. Is this the overall project budget, and not just for the roles specified in this opportunity? The budget figure quoted is the approved spend for this financial year and is related to year one of this contract. It covers specific delivery of the outcomes contained within the service requirement with provision for continued agile delivery through to the end of March 2019. If the one year extension is required in line with service needs and approved spend the value of this contract will increase accordingly.
6. Can supplier teams work remote from DfE premises and just attend sprint ceremonies on site? As set-out in the service requirement, the supplier will be required to grow a team in Darlington in response to the needs of the project and provide confidence that this resource will have the right experience and capability. Therefore proposals will need to demonstrate ability to meet this requirement, alongside any justifiable flexibility built into the working arrangements.
7. It’s stated that the Delivery Manager role will eventually be filled by a civil servant. Also, a Delivery Management role is not included under ‘skills and experience’. Will DfE therefore be responsible for the delivery management of the team and the outcomes required, rather than the supplier? The DfE appointed Delivery Manager will be responsible for overseeing the work of a multi-disciplinary team including managing suppliers effectively to drive best value from contracts. We expect suppliers to work collaboratively to achieve the milestones outlined in the service requirement and accept responsibility for product delivery to time and quality making their own appropriate management provision to ensure that this happens.
8. While the supplier team is to have a presence in Darlington, it’s mentioned that “all development must be completed within the UK”. To what extent may the supplier work from their UK offices, e.g. would on site presence in Darlington 3 days per week be acceptable once good working relationships have been established? As set-out in the service requirement, the supplier will be required to grow a team in Darlington in response to the needs of the project and provide confidence that this resource will have the right experience and capability. Therefore proposals will need to demonstrate ability to meet this requirement, alongside any justifiable flexibility built into the working arrangements.
9. Are there any aspects of the current supplier’s delivery, or their engagement model, that you’re looking to address through this procurement? The existing model has worked well. However, should changes to a suppliers delivery model be required during the project to better support project outcomes we expect to work collaboratively with suppliers to agree this.
10. Please could you clarify if the external partners that have been engaged on the project to date have been engaged as individual specialists or whether a project team has been engaged to deliver a digital outcome External partners have worked alongside the DfE to deliver digital outcomes as specified within work packages.
11. You mention a number of roles that are required despite the outcome-based nature of the opportunity. How will you use the resources acquired in a fashion compliant with outcome-based project procurement? We believe that the roles as detailed within the service requirement are necessary to achieve the outcomes as specified. We expect a supplier to be able to supply these roles together with the ability to flex the resource as required in line with the agile and outcomes based nature of this project.
12. In a number of questions throughout the Essential skills you are asking for experience of GDS Design Principles, Digital Service Standard, delivery of government digital services etc. We have had extensive discussions with both GDS Service Assurance and CCS and it accepted that this style of phrasing of questions are a barrier to entry for suppliers who are trying to bring commercial experience to the Government Market. It is also against our understanding of the current CCS guidance to buyers. Will suppliers with equivalent non-government experience be disadvantaged in your evaluation of responses to these questions? The framework requires services to be delivered in line with service design principles and standards, therefore it stands to reason that, due to the high-profile nature and value of the work, the aim is to secure a supplier with a proven track record of meeting those standards and passing assessments. This requirement doesn't stop anyone from responding to the requirement if they consider any comparable experience/track record that they have can be evidenced and justified as relevant. Each question will be scored based on the DOS standard scoring model with total overall scores deciding which suppliers are shortlisted.