Awarded to Valtech Ltd.

Start date: Monday 24 September 2018
Value: £1,646,000
Company size: SME
Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)

Development of Energy Customer Database (ECD) and beta Secure Data Exchange (SDE)

3 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 2 large

14 Completed applications

7 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Friday 13 July 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 20 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 27 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We require an experienced collaborative delivery partner(s) to design and build a secure cloud based digital service for ~8 million records and to progress the Secure Data Exchange to Beta.
This may include service design, user research and front end development skills. meets user needs and engages energy customers.
Latest start date
Monday 10 September 2018
Expected contract length
10 months
Organisation the work is for
Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)
Budget range
£1.5 million – £1.7 million in total.
Breakdown below:
LOT A (SDE) circa.£600k - £700k; Lot B (ECD) circa.£900k-£1 million.

About the work

Why the work is being done
We see this as a real way of driving better customer engagement with the energy industry.

The purpose of the engagement is the following: LOT A) Develop a beta of the SDE to enable industry to share data with Ofgem in a secure, scalable manner as part of Ofgem’s wider data service; LOT B) Create a secure, scalable cloud based ECD with the option of an associated customer facing website.
Problem to be solved
We need delivery partner(s), A) To develop a beta of the Secure Data Exchange and B) To create the disengaged customer database service in order to setup and run services to prompt customer engagement.

Key areas will include:
• Secure, scalable file transfer from industry participants through SFTP (as the SDE MVP);
• A secure, scalable cloud based database built along micro service with orchestration, elasticity, self-provisioning and to established Security standards (e.g. NCSC, OWASP);
• Alignment with the current data service Enterprise Data Hub

Prospective bidders will be able to bid for either or both strands A and B.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Energy customer – We need to make it as simple as possible for them to use the service and switch supplier – strip out complexity;
Energy supplier – They will need to give us accurate data (as specified by Ofgem) in a timely, secure fashion. They need to be able to update the data regularly and receive feedback on the data transferred;
Ofgem team – Through analytics and reports from the database, iterate the service design to improve effectiveness; plan further services.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
SDE is at an alpha stage built in Azure and uses Hadoop. Ingested artefacts are available in a spark cluster which run different jobs written in Python. The data store for the spark cluster is Hive. There's an ingestion unit which should accept multiple protocols.

The ECD is in alpha stage and uses AWS. Environments are provisioned using Terraform. There has been work done on defining data schemas. Test environment implemented so far. Creates database and populates it with dummy data in a simple table. Configuration work using GoCD server.
Existing team
Ofgem Product Owner;
Ofgem User Researcher (part time);
Business Analyst;
Delivery Manager.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Ofgem: 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU, London
Working arrangements
We expect the digital delivery team to be co-located with the Ofgem staff at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf.

We expect to co-source the digital delivery team and from September will have some Ofgem resource (BA, user researcher) made available to us. We will seek to integrate these into the team as and when they become available and so flexibility to ramp up or down is important to us.

We take an agile, user-centred design approach and so any development work must be flexible enough to respond to changing information and needs, as our research develops.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard clearance required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Ofgem shall have the right to terminate the Contract at any time, by giving 4 weeks written notice to the Supplier, and Ofgem’s liability thereto shall be for costs reasonably incurred by the Supplier up until the termination date. Suppliers must confirm acceptance of this term.
All title to and all rights and interest in the IPR’s in the Services delivered by the Supplier for the Customer under this Call-Off Contract (or by a third party on behalf of the Supplier), and all updates and amendments of these items, shall vest in the Customer.

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
  • Have delivered digital services using a multidisciplinary agile team;
  • Have delivered digital services using agile techniques (as in GDS Service Manual), that meet GDS Service Standards;
  • Have experience of developing and deploying cloud based technical architecture for secure large scale databases built along micro services;
  • Demonstrate understanding of GDPR;
  • Have experience of setting up and use of analytics to inform service development and iterative design of services;
  • show their experience of collaborating with teams as they develop new operational processes to transition to a business as usual state;
  • Be willing to co-source with Ofgem;
  • Able to ramp number of contractors up or down based on Ofgem’s requirements;
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering high volume digital services for HM Government;
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Demonstrate Energy market experience.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed agile delivery approach, methodology and timescales, including team availability and responsiveness to deliver a digital service
  • Experience of designing and deploying infrastructure as code in cloud based environments for digital services
  • Identification of risks, dependencies, and offered approaches to manage them
  • Project team structure (with roles and responsibilities)
  • Skills and experience of the team
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate your approach to engaging with suppliers who will be legally required to provide data
  • Demonstrate how you will work transparently, collaboratively as an integrated team
  • Demonstrate how you will take responsibility to challenge the status quo and stand up for your discipline whilst involving staff
  • Evidence of working with a government organisation
  • Evidence of working with clients with different levels of technical expertise
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you please advise whether you have had any external suppliers involved in the respective Discovery/Alpha phases? If so who have been involved?
This tender has come about following our having rationalised two of our early stage digital investment projects into an integrated piece of work. The original activities were each supported by external suppliers. In addition we continue to have in place a non-digital energy supplier engagement team supporting our delivery. The names of the suppliers are as follows:
- Secure Data Exchange: Valtech
- Energy Customer Database: Thoughtworks
o Softwire were on site as part of pre contract engagement for a period of 5 weeks
- Supplier Engagement: Moorhouse (on site)
2. The opportunity mentions a number of different technologies currently being used in the Alpha phase. Are these the technology requirements for the Beta phase, or is the specification open to another technology option?
We would encourage maximising re-use of components where appropriate. We encourage innovation in the way we deliver, providing it is in line with GDS principles and other cross-government principles, such as Cyber Security.
3. Did you work with a supplier on the Alpha and if so who
The names of the suppliers are as follows:
- Secure Data Exchange: Valtech
- Energy Customer Database: Thoughtworks
o Softwire were on site as part of pre contract engagement for a period of 5 weeks
- Supplier Engagement: Moorhouse (on site)
4. In order to compare suppliers, how will price be evaluated?
Price carries a total weighting of 20%. Prices will be scored relative to the lowest priced acceptable bid in terms of proposed Max Cap and average daily rate, then the score will be multiplied by 20 to get a score out of 100.
5. Will scoring from the evidence stage be taken through to final evaluation scoring? As opposed to being used solely for the purpose of shortlisting.
No, scoring at this early stage will not form part of the overall score.
6. Is this opportunity outside of IR35?
7. When suppliers are asked to submit evidence, the following advice is given: "You should only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement (unless the buyer specifies otherwise)." Can we assume that using plural words such as services, that you would like more than one example if suppliers have them?
The outcome we seek is for flexible digital infrastructure that is able to provide a service to multiple types of organsiation that exchange data with Ofgem. We would therefore welcome hearing about different examples of where you have delivered digital services, if you have appropriate examples, subject to word limits. Or, just one good example, giving adequate detail.
8. Can we ask what criteria Ofgem will be using to judge whether an evidence answer 'exceeded' requirements and therefore scores full marks (3)?
Each criteria response will be scored on degree of relevance of example/s given, showing understanding of our requirements (as published) and demonstrated competence based on the clarity of evidence presented. A supplier meeting our expectations in all these in their response will be awarded a 3 for that criterion.
9. What is the timeline for procurement after the first stage (suppliers to providing evidence to the listed skills and experience)?
Shorlisted suppliers will be notified by the 3rd of August with subsequent stages leading to an anticipated contract award by the early part of September.
10. Only Written Proposal is listed as evaluation stages, does this mean you will not be expecting anything else from suppliers? Such as a Presentation for example.
We will wish to meet short-listed suppliers at Evaluation Stage for bid clarification, but this will not be scored separately. Similarly, a case study or references may be requested as part of the written proposal, but will be assessed as evidence to meet the evaluation criteria and cultural fit requirements.
11. For the ECD, Ofgem want an option to build an associated customer facing website. Is the budget of £900K to £1 million intended to include the option to build the website as well?
Yes, the budget range includes the website build as well. The reason for using the word "optional" was a reference to our considering alternative options for the delivery of the website, for example price comparison websites. We do expect to deliver the website within this budget.
12. Has SDE Alpha identified what roles a supplier should provide? If so what are these?
The SDE Alpha had a role profile in line with the GDS service team recommendations. We would encourage prospective bidders to come up with the role profile based on their understanding of the work. Shortlisted suppliers should propose a team that you believe optimises delivery of these digital services
13. With respect to the optional website for ECD, have any technology choices been made about this website? If so, what are these?
We welcome suggestions on ways to develop and deploy the website. Where possible we would encourage the use of open source. No decisions have been made
14. Could you please briefly explain the rationale behind using both AWS and Azure?
AWS and Azure were chosen as the underlying providers for the originally seperate ECD and SDE projects, respectively, based on their functionality and maturity of cloud offering in the UK. We are following the Governments standards on cloud first. The two cloud providers were chosen for both the individual projects. We welcome your input on suitability the best approach going forwards
15. Is there an expectation that the Ofgem resource will be trained as part of the project?
Yes, we expect knowledge transfer and enablement of Ofgem throughout the work.
16. Assuming that the projects will have separate delivery teams, which of the roles listed in the existing team will be allocated to which project?
The internal Ofgem roles will be support both projects
17. If the ECD budget of £900K to £1 million is intended to cover the build of the optional website, is it correct to assume that either 1) some of the core ECD scope would be removed if Ofgem intend to prioritise build of an associated website or 2) If the velocity and progress of the team is fast enough, Ofgem would opportunistically use any remaining budget to fund the optional website?
1) We are not looking to deprioritise any of the key deliverables in the context of delivering the website. The overall budget is within the range advertised and includes the website 2) The website should be budgeted for within the range advertised. If we were to have an underspend it would not automatically be used to fund additional functionality. The decision will need to be taken in the context of other competing priorities
18. Is the Ofgem resource available from September in addition to the roles listed in the existing team?
Our expectation is that the Ofgem resources would be available from September, we will have confirmation of this following the short-listing stage
19. Are there plans to bring in roles additional to those coming in during September?
We plan to recruit our enduring capability to run these services during this engagement. We will also adopt a flexible approach to resourcing, depending on how our needs evolve
20. We understand ‘co-source’ to mean a blend of staff from Ofgem and a supplier (potentially more than one supplier), working closely together as one team, located onsite at Ofgem’s offices. For avoidance of any doubt, please can you provide Ofgem’s definition of ‘co-source’?
Ofgem's definition are consistent with your understanding. We would like to work as one team, delivering the services, with Ofgem increasingly taking responsibility for their delivery/operation as these enduring services become operational and our own capability grows
21. Would Ofgem be happy to see more than one illustrative example offered for a given skill & experience area, if available and where relevant?
Yes, we would welcome examples of relevant skills and experience
22. For the question "show their experience of collaborating with teams as they develop new operational processes to transition to a business as usual state": a) is Ofgem interested in embedding the technical team who built the service into the new operational and Service Management processes required to run the service when it goes live? b) please could you provide some further detail on the envisaged business as usual state? Would the service be operated by an existing Ofgem service management team(s); a new Ofgem-only team; a new co-sourced team; an outsourced partner team; or another arrangement?
a) No, the idea is that the digital partner help develop and implement the solution which would subsequently be run by a BAU service management team which is not within scope of this tender. However, the digital partner would be expected to contribute to the designs of the operational and service management layer; b) The service model is currently being designed in house with the possibility to outsource.