Awarded to Sparta Global Limited (formerly Testing Circle Limited)

Start date: Monday 14 January 2019
Value: £75,400
Company size: SME
Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Digital skills and capacity uplift into Digital Transformation Unit of FCO. copy

45 Incomplete applications

41 SME, 4 large

34 Completed applications

31 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Tuesday 2 October 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 9 October 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 16 October 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Business analyst
Summary of the work
The skills will be required for analysis, design, build, implementation and management of digital, transactional services, driven by the Digital Transformation Unit, aligned to FCO's Digital Strategy.
Latest start date
Saturday 1 December 2018
Expected contract length
2 years
Organisation the work is for
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Maximum day rate

About the work

Early market engagement
Who the specialist will work with
The FCO's Digital Transformation Unit is a small team and the specialist will be working across the whole unit. Each individual service they will work on will have its own set of stakeholders and they are likely to be working with managers, delivery teams and processing staff in each instance.
What the specialist will work on
The FCO aims to recruit specialist skills to meet needs, including flow from the tech sector to build deeper expertise. The recruited specialist may be asked to backfill members of the team, to fill an immediate short term need for a skillset not in the team, or to staff a whole project as appropriate.
The recruited specialists will continue to implement the ambitious digital transformation agenda of the FCO by identifying opportunities for new transactional services, analysing, building and transitioning them into business as usual environment and managing them whilst applying continuous improvement methodologies.

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Work will be done in the FCO's London office in King Charles Street London, and also in the Milton Keynes offices where the processing/development teams are based. Some work can be done off site if the specialist wants or needs to.
Working arrangements
We would like the individual to:
Be comfortable talking to non-technical staff and translating their requirements into technical terms.
Be a good listener.
Where appropriate, propose changes to processes.
We would like to be able to send the specialist unaccompanied to meet technical and non-technical staff, confident that they will be respectful, productive, and represent the Digital Transformation Unit effectively.
Security clearance
FCO offices are secure buildings. Therefore, SC clearance will be a must have, essential requirement at the selection process.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Ideally we would pay the specialist on a sprint by sprint basis

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
  • working in an agile team to deliver transactional software based on user requirements;
  • breaking up epics into manageable user stories;
  • developing prototypes to test out ideas, then iterating them based on user feedback.
  • Demonstrable experience using the GOV.UK prototype kit
  • Demonstrable experience using Microsoft Dynamics
  • Experience using JIRA
  • Understands the different phases of product delivery and is able to contribute to, plan or run these.
  • Is able to manage the operational process of designing and running a product or service throughout its entire life-cycle.
  • Uses a range of product management principles and approaches. Captures and translates user needs into deliverables.
  • • Is able to translate the vision into prioritised deliverable goals.
  • Able to maintain a product or process through the delivery phases, through to live and into retirement
Nice-to-have skills and experience
User research.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Working with technical and non-techincal staff to understand requirements
  • Building good relationships and trust with teams both with and without departmental sponsors
  • Quickly joining teams and understanding their needs, and transferring knowledge when offboarding
  • Experience working in an agile manner.
Assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this role in scope of IR35?
Further discussions shall take place with the successful supplier at the appropriate time as it is possible for contractors who are both in and out of scope of the off payroll working rules to be engaged through DOS. The successful supplier / contracting authority will need to check the status in accordance with the HMRC online tool prior to contract commencement. A link to this tool can be found here:
2. In regards to the Q&A session, the date shows as Monday 7th October 2018. Is this an oversight?
Yes, the confirmed details for the Q&A session are as follows.

Date: Monday 8th October
Time: 11:00
Phone: 01908 515999
Access Code: 0115777
3. Please can you confirm if there is currently an incumbent in the role?
There is no incumbent in this role
4. It says "Ideally we would pay the specialist on a sprint by sprint basis" – how long is the sprint duration in days?
A sprint is typically from two to four weeks
5. Can you tell me if you have assessed whether this role is Inside IR35?
There are 3 locations mentioned on the portal, please can you reconfirm where the BA will be based? Thanks
See above for IR35.

The role is based in the FCO offices in King Charles Street London. There will be some travel required to our offices in Milton Keynes.
6. How much remote working is there per week?
What is the split between Milton Keynes and London per week on average?
We would expect the role to primarily be co-located with the Digital Transformation Unit in King Charles Street London. The amount of travel to Milton Keynes will depend on the direction of the discoveries but is unlikely to exceed about once a week.

Some remote working will be possible, however we expect the role to be primarily office based. We would not expect to define a set number of days a week of remote working, but would rather manage ad hoc requests as required.
7. Will SC clearance be sponsored by FCO if the candidate doesn't have it?
8. Could you clarify how the security clearance requirements is not contrary to government policy, as laid out in the Cabinet Office code of practice document, “Recruiting for vacancies requiring National Security Vetting Clearance.”
We are not short listing based on current security clearance and are not exempting those without security clearance from applying. If the successful candidate doesn’t hold current SC clearance we would look to sponsor their clearance, if this requires us to shift the latest start date (1/12/2018) then we would consider doing so. Alternatively, we could look at what work could be carried out whilst the clearance is being processed, but in order to have unescorted access to FCO buildings and ICT they will require SC clearance.
9. Is the day rate exclusive of VAT and are expenses to be charged separately or included in the rate?
The day rate is exclusive of VAT. Expenses are included in the rate.
10. Is the daily rate shown the rate fro be paid to the worker or is this the rate paid to the supplier inclusive of commission
The rate is to be paid to the supplier inclusive of commission
11. I believe we can provide an excellent solution to you however it would not be possible at the rate shown. I note when applying I can quote a higher rate. If I show a rate above the rate you have stated will by application be discounted? Thank you.
We will not discount bids showing a higher rate.
12. Can the authority clarify the IR35 status?
We can confirm the role is outside the scope of IR35 legislation.
13. Are you looking for someone with 5-7 years experience?
We will leave suppliers to determine the correct amount of experience but this is not a senior position, we wouldn't expect people to be able to write business cases or initiate new projects. They would be looking over existing services and we will be offering support to the candidate.
14. What are the 3 projects in Question.
Example projects include Legalisation, which is the largest FCO service and helps people who are moving abroad, along possibly with some internal projects which help Diplomats in their careers. The BA will need to manage and administer these systems but will also have the opportunity to suggest and deliver enhancements.
15. Is the contract for two years?
Confirmation that this is for 2 years and we need the candidate to start asap. To clarify, somewhere between 6m to 12m we may recruit a member of staff to take a BA position on at some stage and will work with the successful candidate to make sure they are kept informed of the progress. According to business need, however, we will remain interested in utilising this contract as and when required up to two years.
16. You state that you would like to pay on a sprint by sprint basis.
Could you confirm:
1. Expected call off over the 2 years (e.g. 100 days/year)
2. Sprint length (so required commitment each call off)
3. Expected notice for each sprint e.g. 4 weeks prior to sprint start?
4. Given the consulting nature – are you looking for commitment from a single BA or can we provide personnel from a named bench?
5. Will you sponsor SC if required to maintain a larger bench?
6. Does the proposed maximum rate include expenses?
1 & 2 As Answered Above
3. One week
4. We would expect to be able to receive BAs from a pool of resources, as and when required, with relevant vetting level (SC).
5. Yes, we will sponsor BAs if required, but they will need to have SC clearance to start the delivery.
6. Yes
17. Can you answer the following questions:
• What level of experience is required, based on the SFIA scale?
• Is the role expected to be required for the full 2 year term of the contract?
Minimum level 3 SFIA and the role is expected to be required for two years