Department for Education (DfE)

National Pupil Database Access (Safe Settings) - Alpha/Beta Service Team copy

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
2 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
5 SME, 2 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Monday 9 July 2018
Deadline for asking questions Monday 16 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Monday 23 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work 1.Create/test suite of standard data extracts (based on analysis of historical bespoke extract requests)

2.Create/test synthetic NPD dataset(s)

3.Identify more efficiently ways of structuring NPD & extracting individual records

4.Designing artefacts for new ways of working (i.e. governance maps/diagrams)

5.Streamline NPD application process

6.Modernise Data Sharing Approval Panel template
Latest start date Saturday 1 September 2018
Expected contract length Alpha 8-10 weeks, Beta 10-12 weeks
Location Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for Department for Education (DfE)
Budget range

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done We provide bespoke personal data extracts to c400 successful applicants a year. We reviewing each request before providing the extract, and the database is optimised for loading new data, so producing and reviewing extracts is burdensome.

We want to make it easier for the department to operate this service, improve security for subjects, and reduce burden on users.

Prior discovery has identified the use of virtual/physical data labs as a new distribution channel, standard extracts and synthetic data to reduce governance burdens, and the need to review the database structure so we can easily respond to subject access requests.
Problem to be solved 1)Develop create& test a suite of standard data extracts (based on analysis of historical requests for bespoke NPD data extracts) that meet users ‘data access’ needs;

2)Create&test synthetic NPD dataset(s) to meet users “planning” needs and avoid unnecessary or poorly scoped requests;

3)Assess how much of our user base’s needs are met by our initial datalab and standard extract solutions, and identify potential solutions for remaining segments

4)Explore ways of more efficiently structuring the NPD

5)Develop a simple/effective way of extracting all data held relating to an individual pupil

6)Develop additional thinking around handling edge cases in our SAR processes
Who the users are and what they need to do As a DfE data owner I need:
1. Standard and synthetic dataset(s) which meets a large number of users needs so I can speed up approvals.
2. Effective authentication method of subjects and efficient and quick to produce extracts for subject access requests
3. Understand what additional needs and how much of my user base needs additional feature to prioritise future work.

As a consumer of dfe data, I need:
1) Access to viable synthetic data so that I can test my methods, tools and approaches so I don’t waste my lab time.
Early market engagement In addition to the existing DfE filled roles within the team (Product Owner, Business Analyst and Subject Matter Expert), the DfE internal service assessment team suggested we require the following:

Delivery Manager
Data Scientist
Data Analyst
User Researcher
Service Designer

Due to the nature of the identified work, we may require access to people with different skill sets at different times throughout the project. As such, we would require any supplier to be able to scale and flex quickly as required to ensure the work can maintain momentum.

However, should you be successfully in making it through to the assessment stage, we would be interested in understand what you think the composition of the team should look like.
Any work that’s already been done During a discovery, that included 50+ interviews with users, we identified four key stage within the user journey:

1. Planning
2. Applying
3. Communication
4. Access & Use of Data
Existing team The supplier will be working with:

1 x DfE Product Owner
1 x DfE Business Analyst
1 x DfE Subject Matter Experts
Current phase Alpha

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place St Pauls Place - Sheffield or Bishopsgate House - Darlington
Working arrangements Co-location, with the Product Owner & Business Analyst, in the DfE's Sheffield office or with the Subject Matter Expert in Darlington so that we can maximise collaboration.

Travel to other DfE locations will be required.

We will be working to Agile principles - i.e. regular stand ups, Show & Tells, Retrospectives.

Travel & Expenses to be paid in line with existing DfE policy.
Security clearance N/A

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions We would want to include a break clause in the contract should we choose not to move beyond stages - i.e Discovery to Alpha, or Alpha to Beta.

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
  • Proven track record of optimising databases to support operational practice & developing authentication schemes from personal data.
  • Experience of passing either internal DfE or Government Digital Service service assessments
  • Work in Agile ways and be prepared to share their Agile experience across the wider DfE community
  • Experience of working with, and analysing, .SAV files (MS SQL)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have experience and understanding of the National Pupil Database
  • Provide evidence of being able to scale quickly to meet the needs of the project
  • Have experience and understanding of DfE data (ideally the National Pupil Database)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Approach & methodology
  • Value for Money
  • Team structure
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be comfortable standing up for their discipline
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Who is the current supplier working on the Alpha? We do not a supplier working on the Alpha
2. What is the budget for this work? The budget is around £500,000
3. Is it possible to locate our teams in either Sheffield or Darlington, or will DfE dictate the location? How will DfE determine which location will be required? We have some degree of flexibility as to where the team will be located, although accomodation constraints at the point of the contract being awarded will need to be considered.
4. What is the difference of 1 & 3 (see below) under 'Nice to Have' skills?

1. Have experience and understanding of the National Pupil Database
2. Provide evidence of being able to scale quickly to meet the needs of the project
3. Have experience and understanding of DfE data (ideally the National Pupil Database
1&3 are virtually the same so please answer number 1.