The British Council

School Partner-Finding Tool

Incomplete applications

41
Incomplete applications
39 SME, 2 large

Completed applications

47
Completed applications
47 SME, 0 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Monday 29 October 2018
Deadline for asking questions Monday 5 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Monday 12 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work The British Council seeks a supplier to develop, build and host a digital, device agnostic tool and database to help schools in the UK and around the world to find other schools to partner with to build international connections and encourage global learning.
Latest start date Monday 10 December 2018
Expected contract length 18 months.
Location No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for The British Council
Budget range £40,000 to £45,000 for design, development, build and launch followed by up to £20,000 for one year of hosting/support.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done The British Council has a legacy School Partner Finding tool that is no longer fit-for-purpose and is built on a platform that will soon become unsupported. The new Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme encourages schools to form partnerships with each other and requires a digital tool to enable this. There is currently no off-the shelf solution available to meet our requirements, so we are seeking the development of a new bespoke tool.
Problem to be solved The British Council encourages schools in the UK and around the world to form partnerships with each other. Partnerships help engage students with real-world examples of different countries, cultures and learning and support teacher professional development through best practice knowledge sharing. Although schools recognise these benefits they need support in finding like-minded partners. This tool will enable schools to search through a global database, filter results based on their preferences and make a connection with the closest match. The tool should be user friendly and accessible to schools in areas of poor connectivity and reduced access to technology.
Who the users are and what they need to do As a school teacher I need to find a suitable school in another country to partner with the school I work in
So that I can expand learning opportunities for the children in my school by introducing them to global themes and develop mine and my colleagues professional skills through sharing knowledge and best practice with teachers in different countries.
Early market engagement None.
Any work that’s already been done We have a schools and user database delivered through the Schools Online website – it is anticipated that schools data would be migrated across and/or integrated with the new tool. We have explored technology solutions and integration requirements with other tools and systems used to deliver British Council schools activity and designed a proposed technical architecture model. A comprehensive set of functional requirements and use case has been produced and we have carried out related user research and developed personas.
Existing team The supplier will be working primarily with the British Council's Education & Society unit, specifically the Digital team of specialist consultants and the Connecting Classrooms global programme delivery team. They will also work with the Corporate IT team and have some engagement with an existing third-party supplier to develop user authentication and data integration with other systems/tools.
Current phase Alpha

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place The work is not location dependent. The main point of contact for the supplier is based in Manchester, with other members of the team based in London and Edinburgh. There will also be stakeholders in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), South Asia (SA) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Working arrangements It is expected that the majority of work will be carried out at the supplier's offices and engagement and communications with the British Council to be conducted remotely. We would expect an initial face-to-face session either at the British Council or supplier's offices when the project starts and potentially one further face-to-face session at a suitable milestone later in the project.
Security clearance No specific security clearance required above British Council standard policies.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions To be further defined.

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
  • Demonstrable experience and track record in designing and developing device agnostic digital products and services to end-users.
  • Demonstrable experience, track record and skills for developing digital products and services using fully open-source technology and platforms.
  • Demonstrable experience and track record of providing cloud-based hosting and support services for digital products.
  • Demonstrable experience and track record of designing and building database solutions.
  • Experience of working with modular technical architecture and delivering integration solutions and standards between multiple digital tools, systems and databases.
  • Experience of working with user authentication solutions (e.g. SAML) to deliver single-sign-on access across multiple digital products for end-users.
  • Strong understanding of best-practice in usability and accessibility of form design and end-user profile management and can provide examples from other projects.
  • Experience delivering digital services to at least AA WCAG 2.0 web accessibility standard and an awareness of WCAG 2.1.
  • Experience of working with internal IT teams and external suppliers to deliver implementation of integration solutions with existing services.
  • Strong understanding of non-functional requirements and experience of building these into a digital project such as usability, security, accessibility, availability, scalability and compatibility.
  • Understanding of and adherence to the ‘Principles for Digital Development’ https://digitalprinciples.org/principles/
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 10
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets our business needs
  • Estimated time-frames for the work
  • How you've identified risks and dependencies and your approaches to manage them
  • Team structure and C.V.s
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers.
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions.
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes.
  • Can work with clients with low technical expertise.
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

70%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Can we select the tools and technologies that are best fit for purpose and value for money for the solution or is the supplier restricted to a technology set. We have no preference for tools or technology solutions but they must be open source and flexible enough to allow easy integration with other tools and systems.
2. Can you give specifics of the size/amount of data held in the schools and user database to be migrated? What format is it held in (if its in a relational database, which one)? Is there any other data to be migrated, or is this everything? Approx 290K user accounts, 170K school accounts.
MySQL relational database.
3. Who will host the service/Where will the service be hosted? We would expect the supplier to provide an EU-based cloud hosting solution
4. SAML is mentioned, does this mean we are authenticating against an existing identity provider? Or is part of the scope to manage user accounts? We are looking for a flexible approach to managing user accounts. Preference is for a separate user registration module to work alongside the tool that can manage user data locally but also integrate with an external identity database through REST API or web interface. Registration module should ideally be separate from the partner finding tool, so there is the flexibility for the tool to authenticate directly against the external identity database in future.
5. Is maintaining the source data on partner schools in scope? Or will we be retrieving from an existing data set? As above, we are flexible with approaches to this. There will be an existing dataset of schools that the new tool can use, but we would like to ensure maximum flexibility by including the maintenance of new school registrations and/or updates to existing records in the scope.
6. 1) What format is the existing schools database in?
2) Are there any time frames for project delivery?
3) Do you have a preferred choice of technology or framework to build the tool on?
4) Will these schools need a login to the tool so they can update/edit their own data/profile?
5) Does the tool need to be setup for other languages or will it just be in English?
1) MySQL relational database. School profiles are stored as Drupal taxonomies.
2) We are looking to have the new tool fully tested and live by June 2019
3) We have no preference for tools or technology solutions but they must be open source and flexible enough to allow easy integration with other tools and systems.
4) Yes
5) English only
7. Is it possible to view the User Research and technical specs for our application? We can provide additional information to shortlisted suppliers
8. Could you please share details of your proposed technical architecture mode? We are proposing a flexible modular architecture, whereby tools that deliver the British Council Schools offer (of which the partner-finder tool is one) can function independently but also integrate with a database(s) containing master records for each user (and their activity) and each school.
9. Can you please confirm whether you are flexible in any of the three: scope, budget, timeline? Some flexibility on scope and timeline, no flexibility on budget.
10. Will there be any pre-bid meeting from your side where you will present the project requirement in person to attending people from companies with Q&A session? To get more insight about project as its difficult to get scope details with whatever info provided in this opportunity details... No pre-bid meeting is currently planned but we will share additional detailed information with shortlisted suppliers
11. Under "Any work that’s already been done" section: We have explored technology solutions and integration requirements with other tools and systems used to deliver British Council schools activity and designed a proposed technical architecture model. – Can you share the Outcome Document from this exercise?? As above, we will share additional information with shortlisted suppliers.
12. Is this your current web site/application which will be retired once new system is in place? https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/global Yes, the existing web content and partner finding tool will be decommissioned
13. Is online classroom teaching and virtual lasses expected as part of this solution, like real time teaching ? No this is not in scope
14. OR is it more for a connection, chat, info exchange & collaboration platform The tool should facilitate a connection to be made between schools and the establishment of a partnership. Tools to manage that partnership once formed (collaboration features etc) are not in scope
15. It seems there is no manual or auto save funtion on this system so anyone entering max 100 word answers to these 11 questions risks losing all progress unless they first prepare their answers off line. I know because this happened to me. Given that this is such a rookie oversight in the system design and can waste so much valuable time, can you please flag this up in the intro or supplier guidance? Hi. Any queries specifically relating to the Digital Marketplace platform itsef, and its functionality, are best addressed directly to the following CCS address: cloud_digital@crowncommercial.gov.uk.
Note that your query now has visibility in this project for other suppliers to consider.
16. Can you please share technical specification (architecture), functional requirements, use cases, and persona descriptions? We can provide additional information to shortlisted suppliers
17. Can you give specifics of the size/amount of data held in the schools and user database to be migrated? What format is it held in (if its in a relational database, which one)? Is there any other data to be migrated, or is this everything? MySQL relational database.
Contains:
~20K school records
~24K user accounts
18. Are there existing brand assets and style guides to be implemented or will the development of these be part of the scope? A full set of brand guidelines and assets will be avalable to use. Development of these is not in scope.
19. Are there subsequent phases to this project envisaged? for example, is there a wider suite of collaboration tools that will need to be integrated? We are not currently planning to develop any new collaboration tools for teachers/schools
20. Given your existing team and capabilities, what is the reason for this project being outsourced? We do not currently have capacity to deliver this project internally.
21. Is messaging capability required within the tool or is this purely about matching school profiles? Basic messaging functionality will be required to enable schools to send partner requests and for the recipients to respond to those requests. There will also be a requirement for basic messaging for admin users to contact schools using the tool.
22. Whilst understanding the hosting solution and the support on production will be the responsibility of the supplier, I would like to clarify if you expect the costs associated with hosting the solution for a year also to be under £20,000? We are looking for a basic support and hosting package for one year following launch of the tool. We expect this to be in the region of £20k.
23. Is the budget inclusive or exclusive of VAT? Exclusive
24. Have there been any recurrent problems with the current system? No recurrent technical problems, just general usability issues
25. Do these problems still exist or have they been resolved? The current tool is being decommisioned.
26. Who designed/developed/hosts the current website? The current supplier is listed on the Digital Marketplace
27. Is this supplier bidding on or has this supplier been invited to bid on the current opportunity? The current supplier is listed on the Digital Marketplace
28. Is there anything you particularly like about your current website? The current partner finding tool has good filtering options and account/data management functionality
29. Is there anything you particularly dislike about your current website? The overall user experience is sub-optimal, the functionality is too complex and mobile provision is poor
30. The current website is using the Drupal CMS. Do you wish to continue using Drupal or do you have a preferred platform or CMS (WordPress/Umbraco/Other) We have no preference for tools or technology solutions but they must be open source and flexible enough to allow easy integration with other tools and systems.
31. Are there any CMS platforms you would NOT consider? See above
32. Do you require translation services? No
33. Is the site required to be multi-lingual? No
34. What level of Accessibility is required? (WCAG is mentioned, but is there a minimum level, i.e. A, AA or AAA?) We are looking for a minimum level of AA
35. What browsers do you require support for?
What mobile platforms?
Are any legacy platforms required to be supported?
The system users must be able to access the system via all commonly used web browsers and mobile operating systems. Some backwards compatibility with older versions of browsers may be required.
36. How sensitive is the information we'd be receiving (classification)? OFFICIAL classification
37. Is there any user identifiable data used? Yes
38. What are the supported hours you require? The Supplier Support Helpdesk must be available from 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, excluding English bank and public holidays. Email services must be monitored during the helpdesk operating hours.
39. Is there a requirement for 24/7 support? No
40. How many website editors will require training? N/A
41. How many website administrators will require training? Approx 4
42. The budget range for this opportunity states “£40,000 to £45,000 for design, development, build and launch” does this figure include the hosting costs related to development activities? Yes
43. How many development environments does the buyer require for this opportunity, and do they need to be integrated with existing environments, e.g. Test or Pre-Production? Dev, Stage and Live environments. No intergration with existing environments required.
44. The Answers provided to Question 2 and Question 17 seem to conflict, could the buyer clarify the number of records? Please ignore answer to Q2 - the correct answer is Q17. ~20K school records ~24K user accounts
45. You mention "have some engagement with an existing third-party supplier to develop user authentication and data integration with other systems/tools." Might you explain what user authentication services are provided by the existing supplier? There are no authentication services provided by the existing supplier. The task would be to work with the supplier to scope and define a muturally compatible solution
46. And at a high level how it fits with this:
"We are looking for a flexible approach to managing user accounts. Preference is for a separate user registration module to work alongside the tool that can manage user data locally but also integrate with an external identity database through REST API or web interface."
The tool should be able to handle user registration and account creation, but our preference is that this functionality is built as a seperate module, rather than within the tool itself. This is so we would have flexiblity at a later date to adopt different approaches to user registration depending in businees needs.
47. In a previous answer you suggested that there may be some flexibility with regard to the timeline for delivery of this project. Are you open to suppliers proposing a project start date later than 10 December (i.e. in January, after the Christmas holiday period is over)? We would be looking for an initial kick-off meeting in December but would expect that work would begin properly after the Christmas holiday period.
48. How many servers are used to deliver the existing solution? We use Amazon AWS cloud hosting, so the number of servers may change according to load. Typically we only use one server, but this has scaled up to 3 servers on occasion.
49. How many requests are made to the site?
per month:
per year:
at peak periods:
When are your peak periods?
What are your bandwidth requirements? (Typically this would be measured in Megabits or if not available, megabytes transferred over a measured period)
Is there a requirement for off-site Disaster Recovery?
24K in the last month
181K in the last year
1.5K per day
No obvious patterns but busiest during school term time.
Approximately 40-65GB per month
"Yes. Current situation is we have site codebase is stored in GITHUB and we have full backups of Database, code base and files on Amazon S3 that go back 4 weeks. "
50. Could the buyer provide more detail about the number of active or unique users per month for the service? 10K unique sessions in the last month