Awarded to Hive IT Limited

Start date: Tuesday 13 November 2018
Value: £309,375
Company size: SME
Department for Education

DfE statistics dissemination platform (alpha and beta)

3 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 0 large

18 Completed applications

15 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Published
Tuesday 25 September 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 2 October 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 9 October 2018 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
Our Statistical Dissemination discovery identified the need for an alpha focusing on dissemination of data which provides a new platform for access to, and consumption of, statistics. This should make the statistics easier to find, access, navigate and understand – and give users point-and–click ability to produce their own breakdowns.
Latest start date
Monday 5 November 2018
Expected contract length
Location
Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
The budget is around £300,000 + VAT (for both alpha and beta)

About the work

Why the work is being done
DfE produces over 50 statistics series every year (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education/about/statistics), with data being used by the general public, schools, local authorities and central government amongst others. During our discovery (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/721729/HiveIT_-_DfE_dissemination_discovery.pdf), research showed frustration with our current approach and suggested how we could improve to better meet our users’ needs.

Areas of note were:
- Users struggle to find the right data.
- Inconsistency within and between publications cause problems.
- Users are required to download large amounts of data, then remove and manipulate extraneous information.
- Producers spend a large proportion of their time responding to a variety of adhoc requests.
Problem to be solved
'To provide a new service that allows better access to and consumption of statistics, meeting the many varying user needs identified during Discovery with due regard to accessibility.’

We want to more effectively communicate education statistics to our users - with an emphasis on meeting the needs of all users regardless of skill and technology available. This will also mean a reduction in the time producers spend answering ad-hoc queries as more data will readily be available for users to self-serve.

More specific information on the problem to be solved is available on request, email laura.selby@education.gov.uk
Who the users are and what they need to do
A subset of the global needs (for all users) are as follows:

- I need DfE data to be easy to navigate so I can find the statistics I’m looking for
- I need DfE data to be simple to use so I can analyse and customise without extensive knowledge or training
- I need data to be accessible so I can use the data with a disability
- I want to customise the data according to my requirements so that I can answer my questions by myself

More specific information on user needs is available on request, email laura.selby@education.gov.uk
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have carried out a discovery, results are published at - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/721729/HiveIT_-_DfE_dissemination_discovery.pdf.

The findings recommended that we go to alpha. This could be an ‘off the shelf’ solution or built from scratch.
Existing team
The supplier will be working with the DfE Statistics Modernisation team comprising two full time members of staff, one of which will be a product owner, and a part-time technical architect.
Current phase
Alpha

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Sheffield & Darlington - with likely travel to various locations throughout the UK.
Working arrangements
a) We are looking for flexibility in the approach to completing this alpha. We will explore both off the shelf and build from scratch options.
b) We will be working to Agile principles - i.e. regular stand ups, Show & Tells, Retrospectives
c) Necessary expenses will be paid in line with DfE standard policies
Security clearance
BPSS clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
More information regarding this project is available on request, please email laura.selby@education.gov.uk

At the end of the Alpha a decision will be made between key stakeholders as to whether we should progress into Beta, this will include a GDS alpha assessment.

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
  • Experience of taking a user centric approach from inception throughout the project lifecycle
  • Using appropriate technology to provide or build tools to meet a specific service
  • Experience of working to GDS service assessment standards
  • Experience of building statistical outputs, including data visualisations and/or tabulations
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • An awareness of statistics in Government.
  • Experience in the dissemination of data on a large scale.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach & methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Value for Money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Be comfortable standing up for their discipline
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Prior to being made available on the dissemination platform is the source data available in single or multiple formats? (E.g. RDBMS, CSV, XLS, PDF etc.)
Discovery findings suggested that building the platform on top of aggregate data (for example, school level rather than pupil level) would be sufficient to meet our user’s needs and this data will be available in csv format. Though we will be looking to validate this hypothesis at the end of the alpha to consider if source data (currently held in SQL) is more appropriate.
2. Does the functionality for end users need to include the ability to apply statistical methods – for example standard deviation or predictive analytics?
This is not necessary for the alpha stage.
3. Is it expected that all the statistical data sets that are made available for dissemination should be physically located on a single platform?
Yes, we’d like to centralise the data made available so we can provide a coherent story across education statistics.
4. Does the global comprehensive documentation need to be dynamic or should it be static?
It could be either, as long as it meets user needs which will be checked through further research during the alpha/beta.
5. The customization of the statistical data is only at a user level and not at a global level – is this understanding correct ?
Yes, customisation is at user level. Users should be able to drill down, customise and filter the statistics to explore the data from their own point of view
6. Approximately, how many named variables would there be for deeper analysis?
The tool developed as part of the alpha project will focus on statistics derived from the school census, including pupil and school numbers, absence, exclusion and SEN statistics (est. 12 key indicators). We expect key indicators from these statistics to then be broken down by different pupil characteristics and geographic levels.
7. With what frequency are these statistics generated?
DfE produces over 50 statistics series every year, at differing frequencies – annually, termly, quarterly.
8. Currently in what all formats are the source data available – RDBMS data, PDF, CSV, XLS as we understand. Please let us know if any other format is available.
Discovery findings suggested that building the platform on top of aggregate data (for example, school level rather than pupil level) would be sufficient to meet our user’s needs and this data will be available in csv format. Though we will be looking to validate this hypothesis at the end of the alpha to consider if source data (currently held in SQL) is more appropriate.
9. Is there a need to develop statistical routines also as part of the current scope?
No, all of the data for the alpha dissemination platform will be provided.
10. Does all the source statistical data reside in a single platform?
Discovery findings suggested that building the platform on top of aggregate data (for example, school level rather than pupil level) would be sufficient to meet our user’s needs and this data will be available in csv format.
11. Is there a requirement for users to be able to combine data from discrete data sets on the dissemination platform itself? (E.g. create a visualisation that shows, say, the exclusion trend and the attainment trend over time for a set of schools in a particular area). Or would you expect users to combine data from different data sets using their own tools outside of the dissemination platform itself?
Yes - Users should be able to view data through multiple lenses, for example by local area, where all available statistics would be shown side by side. Though users should also be able to access the data in whatever way most suits their needs, and we expect some users would prefer to take the data and query it using their own tools.
12. What is the status of the Process Alpha. Has it already started? Or, will it happen in parallel with the dissemination alpha please?
The process alpha is in its early stages and will continue running in parallel with the dissemination alpha. We expect the two projects to engage with each other to ensure outputs from the process alpha meet the requirements of the dissemination alpha.
13. There is a suggested start date 5 Nov 2018 - Is there an anticipated end date for delivery?
The overall length of the contract is estimated to be for around 6-7 months, subject to further conversation with the successful supplier, Beta decisions and any approved user engagement.
14. Could you please clarify whether the supplier will be required to work from Sheffield and Darlington on a co-location basis or whether remote working with regular collaboration would be acceptable?
We’re happy for the supplier to do a percentage of work remotely, as long as there was appropriate time worked within DfE offices as needed – we’d look to agree this with the successful supplier before starting.
15. How does the DfE statistics dissemination platform fit in with GOV.UK ? Don't DfE have to publish via GOV.UK, so how can DfE start developing an alternative dissemination platform by themselves?
The dissemination platform will look to supplement the data the DfE is required to publish on gov.uk. The findings from our discovery confirmed that the current publication process (via gov.uk) does not meet our user’s needs.
16. Will Ofsted FOI datasets be included? (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ofsted-freedom-of-information-request-datasets)
We would consider adding Ofsted information to the alpha, but this is not part of the minimum requirement,
17. What is the position regarding work for the separate alpha project related to internal processes (RAP) and does the output from this feed into work on the statistics dissemination platform?
The process alpha (RAP) is in its early stages and will continue running in parallel with the dissemination alpha. We expect the two projects to engage with each other to ensure outputs from the process alpha meet the requirements of the dissemination alpha.
18. Could you tell us if the work advertised last year entitled "National Pupil Database Data Matching/Processing/Collation – Discovery", won by Softwire, relates to the Hive report and the current opportunity, and if so how? If not could you tell us what became of that work?
The work conducted by Softwire does not relate to the Hive report or this current opportunity.
19. Should the hosting and Infrastructure costs be included within the budget of the Alpha and Beta, or are the DfE considering these costs in addition to the assigned budget?
The alpha and beta budget is there for the development of the prototype. We expect suppliers to be able to stand up their own prototype service using their existing infrastructure and hosting routes. However, it would be helpful for any expected future infrastructure or hosting costs (once the platform is live) to be stated in supplier proposals.
Our current Enterprise strategy is to use Azure PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) so we’d also be looking at how proposals would fit with this strategy.