Awarded to Farsight Consulting Ltd

Start date: Monday 3 September 2018
Value: £5,000,000
Company size: SME
Department for Education

DfE Digital Service Transformation Pipeline Delivery Programme

12 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 3 large

43 Completed applications

25 SME, 18 large

Important dates

Published
Monday 25 June 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 2 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 9 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
Working with us on discovery, prototyping, building digital services, as part of department's digital transformation of services, in line with government service standards.

Working alongside our digital development team covering key digital service development roles and supplementing our existing capability include delivery managers, user researchers, service designers and business analysts.
Latest start date
Friday 31 August 2018
Expected contract length
Up to 2 years
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments and DfE governance. A pipeline of activity is foreseen over the next 24 months for which the approval process has commenced. The budget is very difficult to determine at present as business cases are still under review. Based on the scope being considered the budget could range up to £5m consisting of multiple SoWs, but that scope could expand or contract. DfE does not commit to any minimum or maximum spend at this point.

A pricing template will be given at the proposal stage to those suppliers we shortlist

About the work

Why the work is being done
DfE is transforming from a policy to a delivery department. Following discoveries in 2017, research identified 250 potential services and 50 potential service lines. Work has already begun to deliver some of these. DfE wishes to scale its delivery capability and requires support in developing services to meet the Government Service Standard. DfE aims to initiate the first phases of this scaling up work in August 2018
Problem to be solved
DfE needs a delivery partner that can deliver outcomes based on user needs and government service standards. This contract will provide teams with core sets of skills capable of supporting a range of projects from inception through to live. Typical roles would include delivery manager, business analyst, user researcher and service designer. This approach would provide continuity through the lifecycle of projects, ensuring no break in support and expertise built up in the team leading to improved opportunities for shadowing and knowledge transfer. We anticipate up to 3-5 concurrent projects maximum.
Who the users are and what they need to do
- Teachers
- Parents
- Students
- Education advisors
- School administrators
- People that deliver children’s services
- Our own staff
For example:
I need to train to be a teacher so that I can be employed as a qualified teacher”
As a person or body wanting to establish an academy I/we need to establish an academy as simply as possible
As a school leader I need to know about funding opportunities so that my school can apply for relevant grants
As a parent I need to know how to apply for financial support for my child
Early market engagement
Not applicable
Any work that’s already been done
Some digital education services are live via the GOV.UK website. For example: https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance However there is still a lot of potential to deliver development work and enhancement.

Digital programme discovery is well underway with potential services identified and prioritised. Some service discovery, alpha and private beta activity has been completed.

Two services,teaching jobs and apply to become a teacher, are awaiting service.gov.uk domains and should be published shortly.
Existing team
The supplier will work with internal DfE stakeholders from a range of disciplines, including architecture, security, policy, service and product management, finance, and delivery management. Knowledge transfer back into DfE will be a requirement to enable DfE to improve internal capability to build and support the applications. Where required in the development cycle, collaboration with other suppliers maybe necessary, for example, data extract, transformation, load and migration and in the setting up of dev/test environments. This contract will not prevent us from using other commercial arrangements, including using capability contracts to pull together a team from a range of suppliers.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
For any given SoW the work is likely to be based in London, Coventry or Manchester, however research activity may be required UK wide. Regular travel will be required to DfE's offices in these locations.

The primary base will be detailed in each Statement of Work (SoW) and expenses will not form part of the cost unless the supplier is asked to work from a secondary location instead during the execution of the work relating to the SoW. e.g. If SoW primary base is in Coventry then no expenses will be paid for Coventry.
Working arrangements
The existing DfE digital team comprises lead roles in product and service management, and agile delivery, as well as stakeholders from our finance, HR and legal services teams. The output from our discoveries will inform the products and services to be explored with our development partner.

We are looking for a development partner to complement our agile development capability in roles including; product and delivery management, user-centred design, user research and business analysis. We anticipate a maximum of 3-5 concurrent projects.

Each Statement of Work will cover a particular project/phase and have associated outcomes and deliverables
Security clearance
DfE requires all supplier staff to have baseline personnel security standard clearance (BPSS). There may be a requirement for some of the work to require security clearance checks. This will be detailed in the statement of work.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Standard Framework and Call Off Terms and Conditions. Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with CCS Travel and Subsistence Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S policy. Primary work location stated in SoW will not attract expenses. Contract and Vendor Management will form a key part of governance and suppliers will be expected to co-operate in a manner that fosters healthy working relationships and quality delivery.

Suppliers must provide sufficient guarantees to meet the requirements of GDPR in line with Procurement Policy Note 03/17 Changes to Data Protection Legislation & General Data Protection Regulation

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
  • Clear evidence of planning and delivering user-centred digital services that follow the Government Service Manual, corresponding service assessment process, and Technology Code of Practice
  • Clear evidence of delivering digital services using agile development approaches and continuous delivery techniques
  • Experience in conducting user research, designing and developing working digital services, user journey mapping, delivering evidenced, prioritised user stories and designing assisted digital support
  • Experience of successful collaborative working, coaching and sharing knowledge with Public Sector client teams, particularly those with limited agile development experience
  • Ability to provide core team roles, to supplement our existing capability, including delivery managers, user researchers, service designers and business analysts
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working successfully with UK Government and/or Arms Length Bodies
  • A demonstratable track record of successfully passing GDS service assessments
  • Ability to provide experienced agile product managers to support projects if required for the statement of work

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate understanding/ability to deliver digital products/services to government Digital Service standards
  • How you plan to transfer knowledge to permanent staff within the client organisation
  • Team scalability, flexibility, deployment, time and pause capability
  • Illustrate core team skills/strengths, including CVs of key personnel
  • How value for money will be achieved for the duration of the contract
  • Demonstrate understanding of the challenges of implementing user centred design in a government agile environment
  • Sector knowledge of DfE business requirements and issues
  • Case studies and references. We will follow up on all references given during evaluation so contact must be clear
  • Presentation supporting proposal criteria
  • Clear evidence of planning and delivering user-centred digital services that follow the Government Service Manual, corresponding service assessment process, and Technology Code of Practice
Cultural fit criteria
Experience of working with an organisation which is at the beginning of changing the culture to a more agile way of working
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Does this work fall outside the scope of IR35?
We consider this procurement to be out of scope for IR35
2. Will your pricing template be flexible enough to enable different rate cards to be specified for different locations?
The pricing template will have the flexibility to enable different rate cards to be specified for different locations
3. Will there be an opportunity to adjust rate cards during the life of the contract, say after one year of operation? If so, will the percentage or absolute amount by which rates can be adjusted be specified in the call off contract?
We expect the rate cards to be static for the term of the contract.
4. Some of our team are planning holidays over the next 6 weeks. Will you be interviewing suppliers and if so, do you know when interviews take place for shortlisted bidders so we can make appropriate alternative arrangements if needed?
We will be interviewing suppliers. The interviews will take place week commencing 23rd July, and while we will attempt to keep to this timetable we reserve the right to amend this.
5. Will work take place on-site at DfE locations in the specified cities or is there an opportunity for at least some off-site working?
There will opportunities for off-site working and user researchers and other team members will typically be off-site when conducting user research and meeting stakeholders. However most work should take place at DfE locations. Though decisions on remote working will be for the product owner and team to agree, remote working will be the exception and collaborative face to face working the expected norm.
6. What will the terms be for billing DfE and being paid by the department? For example, supplier invoice monthly in arrears, supplier paid within 30 days?
Billing arrangements will be agreed for each Statement of Work (SOW), Typically, invoicing for Capped Time and Materials SOW’s will be on successful completion of identified outcomes- for example after a given number of sprints/iterations. The Buyer will pay the Supplier within 30 calendar days of receipt of a valid invoice.
7. In the second round, can you advise on the form of the case studies and how many case studies you will require?
Come prepared to discuss ONE good example/case study where technical or cultural fit criteria warrant it.
8. You list delivery manager, business analyst, user researcher and service designer as typical roles and roles including; product and delivery management, user-centred design, user research and business analysis. Is this the complete set of roles you are looking for the supplier to provide?
Delivery manager, business analyst, user researcher and service designer are typical roles a delivery partner will be expected to supply, however this is not an exhaustive list. In order to pass point 3 of the Government Service Standard assessors must be satisfied the delivery team has the skills to:

design and build a service
operate a service

Further reading on the roles we expect to see supplied in a multidisciplinary team can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard/have-a-multidisciplinary-team
9. Could you tell us what your definition of Capped T&M is?
The DfE anticipate using a combination of pricing methods agreed by both parties; including Capped time and materials (CTM), Time and materials (T&M) and Fixed price. The definitions for each method can be found on the GDS How to pay for Digital Outcomes page https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-pay-for-digital-outcomes-and-specialists-services
10. Our understanding of Capped T&M is that this implies flexibility for the scope of the project. Is this also your understanding?
The DfE anticipate using a combination of pricing methods agreed by both parties; including Capped time and materials (CTM), Time and materials (T&M) and Fixed price. The definitions for each method can be found on the GDS How to pay for Digital Outcomes page https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-pay-for-digital-outcomes-and-specialists-services
11. The opportunity will consist of several SOW's. Will these all be priced on the same T&M basis or will the mechanism vary?
The DfE anticipate using a combination of pricing methods agreed by both parties; including Capped time and materials (CTM), Time and materials (T&M) and Fixed price. The definitions for each method can be found on the GDS How to pay for Digital Outcomes page https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-pay-for-digital-outcomes-and-specialists-services
12. Can you please expand on what roles you have or expect to have in-house?
In every delivery under this DOS contract the Department for Education will provide a service manager or product owner. In some cases the supplier will be invited to supply a coach to the product owner.
13. What level of governance and programme reporting is expected? Would the successful organisation be managed by DfE or expected to manage themselves?
In providing a product owner/service manager the DfE will effectively ‘own’ delivery of the product/service and the presumption is governance will adhere to the principles of governing service delivery found here - https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/agile-delivery/governance-principles-for-agile-service-delivery.
14. The opportunity is listed as an outcome but reads like a call off contract. Are you looking for a supplier who is able to provide a wide range of delivery capability to support in-house delivery or will it be focussed on the end to end delivery of digital services?
ThisThe DfE is looking for suppliers to both provide delivery capability in support of in-house delivery as well as focus on end to end delivery of digital services.
15. The requirements emphasise that "typical roles would include delivery manager, business analyst, user researcher and service designer". To what extent are you also looking for fuller technical development teams including technical leads and developers?
The successful supplier will be expected to source roles in a multi-disciplinary team (see answer to question 8), either from within their own company as part of a consortium bid with other specialist companies.
16. While "this contract will not prevent us from using other commercial arrangements, including using capability contracts to pull together a team from a range of suppliers", will the scope also include projects where the supplier will be responsible for the outcomes required and delivery management of their team?
This is an outcomes contract and we would expect the supplier to be responsible for successful delivery. Please also see answer to question 13 above.
17. While the supplier team will be required to be on site for specific roles or parts of the engagement, are you open to their team being based at their own UK or EU offices 1-2 days per week?
There will opportunities for off-site working and user researchers and other team members will typically be off-site when conducting user research and meeting stakeholders. However most work should take place at DfE locations. Though decisions on remote working will be for the product owner and team to agree, remote working will be the exception and collaborative face to face working the expected norm.
18. If you have a preferred technology stack, what are the main technologies?
Preferred development technologies: Current projects utilise .NET and Ruby on Rails. We have a strong preference for open source technology stacks. We are open to expanding our technologies to Node.js

Preferred infrastructure technologies: Azure (Platform as a Service offerings).
19. The document refers to ‘existing capability’ that the supplier will supplement. Can DFE clarify the make-up of this current capability? Also specifying if any of DFE’s locations have a specialism.
See answer to question 12. DfE locations do not and will not have a specialism.
20. By the time of commencement of this engagement, how many of the 250 Services will have moved beyond Discovery i.e. Alpha/Beta/Live? Are these still considered in scope?
By the time of commencement of this engagement a very small number of services will have moved beyond discovery.
21. DFE has called out that it is on a journey of transformation from Policy to Delivery; where is DFE on this journey, and does this engagement include scope for supporting this strategic direction?
DfE is in the early stages of digitally transforming its service delivery and would welcome support from the successful supplier.
22. Does the scope of users also include Apprenticeships and T-Levels, and therefore would also consider employer input as a user group?
Apprenticeships and T-levels are important priorities for the department and are therefore in scope of our work.
23. Does the scope of users also include Apprenticeships and T-Levels, and therefore would also consider employer input as a user group?
Apprenticeships and T-levels are important priorities for the department and are therefore in scope of our work.
24. Will DFE provide a list of Services & Service Lines as part of the RFP process?
Where mapped, DfE can provide this information.
25. Will suppliers with offices in more than one or all of the proposed delivery locations be considered favourably?
All suppliers will be considered using the criteria published.
26. The definition of “Capped time and materials” is that any outstanding deliverables which cannot be delivered within the value of the SoW must be completed at the supplier’s costs. Is this your intention?
See answer to question 9.
27. Can you please confirm that this opportunity seeks to engage a single supplier to price for individual statements of works as they come up or a group of suppliers to competitively bid on individual statements of works as they come up?
This opportunity seeks to engage a single supplier, however that supplier may well represent a number of other suppliers engaged on a delivery.
28. Can you say what a rough split of work across the 3 sites mentioned will be in terms of number of teams / projects?
At this point in time no. Split will be dependent on strategic prioritisation conversations with our DfE colleagues.
29. Will the outcome be awarded to a single supplier for all regions (London, Coventry and Manchester) or could different suppliers be awarded different regions from this single outcome? If the latter, is it permissible just to bid for one region?
Yes. At this stage we are looking for a single supplier for all regions.
30. Are you able to advise on the timelines for the proposal and presentation?
Please see answer to question 4.
31. Please can you confirm if you are looking to award a single supplier or a roster of Supplier?
Please see answer to question 26.
32. The Digital Service Standard referred to in the opportunity contains a number of criteria that relate to DevOps/WebOps, resiliency etc but the Opportunity doesn't say anything about the hosting and on-going management of the digital service. Is the service going to be transitioned to an internal team or another 3rd party or will this opportunity include
on-doing operational management of the live service in a more product-centric, devops-aligned model?
All services are expected to be operated by internal teams in the medium term. It is possible in the short term that service teams may require this support externally.
33. The opportunity requires staff to potentially be available in London, Coventry, Manchester. Is there any indication of weighting of staff between locations? Will onsite facilities be available at each location, or will supplier be required to have own local facilities? How much effort must be onsite verses locally available verses remote from another office location (i.e. London staff working with Manchester-based project)?
Please see answer to question 27.