Awarded to Texuna

Start date: Thursday 14 February 2019
Value: £450,000
Company size: SME
Department for Education

Get Information About Schools - Database Administration and Enhancement

17 Incomplete applications

16 SME, 1 large

13 Completed applications

12 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 30 October 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 6 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 13 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
DfE require a highly skilled supplier (or Agile partner) to provide database administration support for the Get Information About Schools service and work with our front-end design team to enhance the database as we continue to iterate the service in line with user needs and the GDS standards.
Latest start date
Thursday 14 February 2019
Expected contract length
2 years with provision to invoke the 25% extension option if required.
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
There are two elements to this project; the ongoing DBA, API and web service support and the additional development / design aspects. We would like separate costs for these for the second part of the evaluation and we will provide you with more information at that stage. We expect the DBA, API and web service support to be on a fixed cost basis and the additional development to be on a capped time and materials basis. However, the total expected value is £350,000 - £450, 000.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Get Information About Schools is the Department for Education's (DfE) register of schools, colleges and higher education institutions in England and Wales.
It allows users to search for and download information on establishments, establishment groups and governors.
Schools, local authorities and academy trusts can also update details by signing in to their DfE account.
The service is hosted by the DfE and is currently working towards completing its public beta.
Technical support is required to maintain the database and develop new features as we continue to iterate the service in-line with emerging user needs.
Problem to be solved
During the remainder of our public beta phase and into live running we are looking for a Database Administration (DBA) and development team to work with our front-end UI service design team to maintain the existing service and iteratively design new features to meet identified user needs.
This may include increasing the capacity of the service to include new learning provider types, the surfacing of additional administrative functionality to better allow Departmental super users to self-serve, security and performance enhancements as required for IT health checks and KPI reviews, new tools and features in-line with user needs.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our primary users are learning provider leaders and administration staff across the education sector. Other users include the owners of affiliated services and organisations (such as Ofsted and School Performance Tables) and DfE policy owners, analysts and data collection staff. They need to be able to update or access an accurate set of school characteristics information either to meet statutory requirements or perform analytical functions. The goal is to provide users with a single source of truth on which to base a consistent and reliable approach to the data collection, analysis and sharing of learning provider data.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
GIAS is a publically available service. We completed discovery, alpha and private beta phases in 2016 and 2017. We entered public beta in September 2017 and aim to complete this in 2019. Most of the work still to be completed relates to meeting accessibility standards and collecting and reporting performance data. The service can be accessed at
Existing team
The digital team is in Data Directorate. Currently it comprises of two civil servants (product manager and business analyst) with associated support staff (also civil servants) and a front-end UI design team of contractors.
The supplier will be expected to work with our front-end UI design team.
The supplier will also be expected to work with the wider Department Technology Directorate Dev and Cloud Ops teams who are responsible for maintaining the DfE Azure platform.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The Services will be delivered to any of the DfE Offices as required. These include, but not limited to:

LONDON: Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT
COVENTRY: 53-55 Butts Road, Earlsdon Park, Coventry, CV1 3BH
SHEFFIELD: 2 St Paul's Place, 125 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 2FJ
DARLINGTON: Bishopsgate House, Feethams, Darlington, DL1 5QE
MANCHESTER: Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD
NOTTINGHAM: Learning & Conference Centre, Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG8 1DH
Technical delivery partner team members work remotely.
Travel to LONDON, SHEFFIELD and DARLINGTON offices may be needed for key meetings.
Working arrangements
Remote working is acceptable but the supplier will be expected to collaborate with the wider team using our tools of choice (currently, Slack, Azure DevOps, Zoom and others).
The scrum teams will work in two-week sprint cycles. High-level priorities will be managed month-by-month by the product manager distilled to the scrum team during fortnightly sprints and monitored during daily stand-ups. Travel for sprint ceremonies and other key meetings may be required.
Suppliers will be responsible for coordinating DBA work to avoid disruption during normal office hours and providing their own suitable work arrangements/locations in order to achieve the required outcomes.
Security clearance
Evidence of compliance with the Government Security Policy Framework, BPSS personnel security controls and Cyber Essentials.
Further details can be found at and

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
• Travel & Subsistence can be claimed when approved and in-line with Departmental policy.
• The supplier's working practices must comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act (2018) and DfE security processes.

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 using GDS Design Principles and Digital Service Standard to deliver public facing digital services, outlining the principles applied, methods adopted and ability to deliver successful outcomes.
  • Experience of developing software that complies to Government security guidelines or equivalent.
  • Experience of managing services that utilise MS Azure: Hosting/platform/monitoring, API Management, App Services/web jobs, Service Bus, Resource Manager, APIs (e.g. Azure Graph API), Visual Studio Team Services. Infrastructure Automation, IaaS/PaaS.
  • Experience of Microservice Architecture, RESTful API design.
  • Experience of supporting a 24hr 365 day availability service.
  • Experience of using Agile/Scrum methodology to iteratively architect/develop high quality digital services to GDS standards.
  • Ability to easily scale resources up or down based on project needs and work effectively and collaboratively with other delivery teams to achieve shared goals and objectives.
  • Understanding of the education & schools landscapes.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Ability to provide and flex Service Design/UX Designer, Content Designer, User Researcher and Business Analyst resource as required in line with internal capability and capacity.
  • Experience of delivering high quality content and information architecture design for complex user journeys across multiple touchpoints, that meets user needs.
  • Experience of complex database management.
  • Experience of implementing, maintaining and interacting with a variety of IDAM solutions and of developing software that complies to Government security guidelines.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Experience of delivering services in line with user needs and GDS service standards.
  • Experience of delivering quality service features which meet industry best practice.
  • Contingency and Flexibility - Ability to easily scale resources up or down based on project needs.
  • Ability to support the DfE's preparations for the Live Assessment.
  • Experience of working on projects that have multiple dependencies on other inter-related projects.
  • Experience of providing support for a live system that is available 24hrs 365 days a year.
  • How they will ensure the DfE receives best value for money.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Ability to work collaboratively with the wider multi-disciplinary team and key stakeholders whilst working remotely, and proving the flexibility to travel for key meetings as required
  • Coaching and mentoring of DfE staff to develop and build capability.
  • Demonstration of a proactive approach, taking responsibility for work and resolving issues quickly, without an over-reliance on the client team.
  • Office space that the DfE can use for meetings with supplier.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you please provide an indication of which database technologies you are currently using or considering using? For example, are you using SQL Azure Database, a bespoke SQL Server implementation, other proprietary or Open Source databases or a combination?
The technology used for the database is Azure SQL PaaS. The database connects to the front end user interface via a RESTful API. The external facing web service uses SOAP over https protocol.
2. Are there any constraints about which database technologies can be used or are you open to suggestions and recommendations for appropriate database technology to meet specific requirements?
We are open to suggestions and recommendations for appropriate technology to meet specific requirements. However, all technology used must be compatible with the DfE Azure platform and must comply with the Government Digital Service (GDS) technology standards. Further details of the GDS standards can be found at
3. Are you looking for support as well as development as part of this? If so, what hours are you looking for support.
The service operates on a 24hr 365 day availability basis. Support is required to ensure continuity of availability. Automated monitoring and failover routines are acceptable outside of core office hours. However, supplier personnel should be available to provide full support between 08:00 - 18:00 Mon-Fri (excluding bank holidays). Supplier personnel should also be avilable to support system releases outside of core office hours. On average there are about 6 such releases per year.
4. Could the buyer provide more information about the existing technology stack, including the current database technology and whether its hosted on site or in the cloud?
The technology used for the database is Azure SQL PaaS. The database connects to the front end user interface via a RESTful API. The external facing web service uses SOAP over https protocol. The service is hosted in the DfE Azure cloud.
5. Could the buyer provide more information about who has completed the previous development work, was this done by an incumbent supplier or in-house team?
All development work completed on the service to date has been completed by the GIAS agile multi-disciplinary team. This is a combination of DfE civil servants with personnel from Texuna Technologies LTD and Olive Jar Digital LTD.
6. Is there an incumbent supplier? if so, will the new supplier be expected to work with them for a transition period?
The incumbent supplier for this element of the service is Texuna Technologies LTD. Any transitionary arrangements will be agreed as part of the contract award stage.