Awarded to PA Consulting Services Limited (UK)

Start date: Friday 4 January 2019
Value: £112,500
Company size: large
Royal Air Force - HQ Air Command

Discovery Work To Understand Capabilities Provided By Air Tasking Applications

8 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 3 large

10 Completed applications

4 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Tuesday 28 August 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 4 September 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 11 September 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Deliver RAF a full assessment of the current Def STARS and other Air planning applications to determine the future high-level requirements for the future application(s) replacement.
Latest start date
Monday 3 December 2018
Expected contract length
3 Months
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Royal Air Force - HQ Air Command
Budget range
Budget limit of £200,000 (inc. VAT) for Discovery Phase

About the work

Why the work is being done
DefSTARS is a Defence-wide Air planning and competency application which will require replacement with an agile, modular based application. Since initial delivery the user community has increased in size, with new data field additions such as engineering competencies and a Defence-wide increase in the Air safety supervision requirements. To prepare for replacement, Defence must understand the future user requirements and those of similar in-service Defence Air planning applications, as well as general competency tracking applications, to identify capability overlaps and scope high-level solution requirements ahead future market tender. The application is owned by the RAF.
Problem to be solved
Analysis of existing requirement sets for DefSTARs and other Defence Air planning applications, including BOCS, CMS and FlightLog, to generate high-level user requirements for informing application replacement programmes and potential overlap of functionality. Must identify high-level user requirements which can be built into agile, flexible and affordable application(s) which exploit future developing requirements, are delivered in an ‘evergreen’ defence IT infrastructure and are hosting environment agnostic. Also provide a comparative understanding of COTS capabilities. Requirements must support a single digital interface approach, supported by data analytics with open APIs to exploit an ‘enter once, use many’ digital culture across Defence.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The RAF is the lead user acting on behalf of Defence. DefSTARS supports 20,000 whole-force military users based in the UK and overseas. Users include aircrew, planners and engineers to maintain currency records, match currencies to taskings, record engineering and flying authorisations and produce a dynamic flying programme. The other Defence applications requiring exploration have similar deliverables, but with additional aircraft specific functionality. All Air planning applications need to safely and efficiently conduct dynamic flying missions for operational and training sorties through accurate and timely information, which can be interrogated in one digital interface over existing military IT infrastructure.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Nil. User requirements have not been refreshed since introduction of the application and due to the complexities of the applications and how they have evolved since delivery, Air does not have sufficient experience or knowledge to perform this Discovery phase. High-level scoping of requirements for all Air planning applications is required to inform Air’s future Air planning application requirement setting.
Existing team
Air will have a Product Owner team based at HQ Air Command, RAF High Wycombe. Sub-product owners and stakeholders are located across the RAF locations and will be required to be engaged. A core team will be based at RAF High Wycombe.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
RAF High Wycombe, MOD Corsham, RAF and JHC units.
Working arrangements
The supplier will work to the direction of the RAF Product Owner with weekly progress updates and regular milestone reports. The supplier is to provide a policy and programme plan for the development of Air programming application requirements.
The supplier shall use their own equipment, where security requirements permit, and provide the services on hours/days as required to meet deadlines; as agreed between the supplier and Product Owner. The supplier shall provide resources to support the development of the service, including one or more digital outcome delivery specialists and have office facilities to support their own off-site working.
Security clearance
Security Check (SC) cleared

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
These MOD DEFCONs form part of this Contract: DEFCON 5J (Edn 18/11/16) Unique Identifiers, DEFCON 76 (Edn 12/06) Contractors on site, DEFCON 129J (Edn 18/11/16) Electronic business Delivery Form, DEFCON 516 (Edn 04/12) Equality, DEFCON 520 (Edn 18/11/16) Corrupt gifts and payments of commission, DEFCON 522 (Edn 18/11/16) Payment and Recovery of Sums Due, DEFCON 531 (Edn 11/14) Disclosure of Information, DEFCON 534 (Edn 18/11/16) Subcontracting and Prompt Payment, DEFCON 566 (Edn 07/14) Change of control contractor, DEFCON 642 (Edn 06/14) Progress meetings, DEFCON 658 Edition 10/17 - Cyber.

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
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of researching user requirements.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of researching user experience.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of delivering data analytics.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of working to tight timelines.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience in the support and management of this type of solution.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of completing comprehensive reviews of existing technical solutions.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of collecting and documenting business requirements at a level of detail that will support the selection of a future solution
  • Recent and demonstrable experience investigating and documenting the technical construct of a live solution including clarification of the technologies, user interfaces, external interfaces, programming languages, Databases, operating systems etc
  • Experience in solutions that offer a dedicated team a clear understanding of compliance across their spectrum of delivery/responsibility
  • Delivery of development services into an Agile /DevOps organisation. Working within SCRUM/Kanban frameworks within multi-skilled development teams; providing poly skilled individuals capable of contributing to the team beyond development.
  • Demonstrable experience of successfully building secure applications that collect/manage personal and/or sensitive information with appropriate controls and protection in-line with MoD JSP440 and mitigate common risks listed by OWASP.
  • Demonstrable experience of building application services suitable for being for being hosted on both Official security domains.
  • Excellent communication and project management skills.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable experience of working with the MOD, with a good understanding of ISS and wider business practices and relevant JSPs.
  • An understanding of the MOD’s network architecture.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence against the skills, experience and cultural fit.
  • Availability of suitable resources from the required date
  • Capability of standing up the team from the contract award date
  • Provision of a comprehensive programme plan to deliver against the Digital Outcome phase.
  • Ensure all risks and dependencies are clearly identified in a timely and informed manner and their potential mitigations.
  • Ensure the RAF retains ownership of all data and information.
  • Provide CVs and relevant experience of senior user experience specialist who could be part of the service.
  • Provide two reference able client-focused case studies where your company have provided the desired service capability.
  • Ability to mobilise the team quickly and approach to service continuity.
  • How the proposal will optimise costs, and generate savings, in particular minimising transition costs between the current team and the new supplier.
  • Ability to deploy the team onsite at the Customer’s location (or appropriate near-shore / off-shore location).
  • Ability to demonstrate a deep understanding of MoD training environment and systems.
  • Identification of risks and dependencies that might impact deliverability of the Project, and suggested approaches to manage them.
  • Demonstrable experience of running/providing service management for a large user base.
  • Value for money.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Recent proven experience in working with the product owner and product users to derive requirements and enhance user experience.
  • Recent proven experience of an open and collaborative working relationship at levels with excellent communication and co-ordination skills when conducting stand-ups, team meetings, presentation and demonstrations.
  • Has a no-blame culture and encourages people to learn from their mistakes, working as "Whole Force".
  • Suppliers must demonstrate an ability and willingness to be transparent and work collaboratively within a multi-vendor delivery environment.
  • Able to communicate effectively with users, technical architects and solve issues amongst complex integrations.
  • Proven ability to add value to Information Applications Services through the use of innovation, continuous improvement and cost savings.
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Application of Agile and other Iterative Principles Ability to add value via continuous improvements providing efficiencies.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. The essential skills and experience requires “Demonstrable experience of building application services suitable for being for being hosted on both Official security domains.” Please can you clarify what is meant by both Official security domains?
The Official network is the military internal network (MODNet) that is not accessible via the internet / to the public.
2. Can the Authority confirm the Essential Skills and experience requested as some of these seem specific technical competencies not obviously relevant to the development of a High Level User Requirement.
2. The vendor is required to have a level of technical awareness to be able to suitably assess the existing Defence applications and their functionality to determine any cross over of capabilities and identify the future high level requirements. Vendors are not being asked to design a system but rather to have the technical skills required to understand the system designs of the various applications, understand the functional cross-overs and how these system designs meet or inform the high level requirement.