Awarded to Ceox

Start date: Friday 1 February 2019
Value: £225,000
Company size: SME
The Valuation Tribunal Service

Appeals Management solution replacement

15 Incomplete applications

14 SME, 1 large

12 Completed applications

9 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Monday 5 November 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 12 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 19 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Specify, design, test and bring into service an appeals management solution to replace the current application.
To extract the complete data from the current application, and import the live data into the solution.
Specify, design, test and bring into service a publishing solution for appeals decisions <= 6 years old.
Latest start date
Wednesday 2 January 2019
Expected contract length
Minimum 12 months
Organisation the work is for
The Valuation Tribunal Service
Budget range
The budget range for both the Capital element (new appeal management solution) and the revenue budget, (data extraction, data cleanse and data import) will be discussed with the successful supplier.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The VTS currently have a contract via the Valuation office agency (VOA) with Revenue and Customs Digital Technology Service (RCDTS) to support an appeals management system to manage Council tax and rating lists appeals.
The current database is Oracle 10g and is out of support, the contract with RCDTS expires in September 2019.
Capital funds are available to specify, design, test and bring into service a new appeals management system by 31st March 2019.
Revenue Funds are available to extract and import the appeal data, following completion of a new appeals management solution which must be completed by September 2019.
Problem to be solved
The VTS require a replacement appeals management solution. The requirements consists of two parts. Firstly to specify, design, test and bring into service an appeals management solution to replace the current Oracle database.
Secondly to work with HMRC to extract the data from the current application and import it into the new solution.
The current data, dates back to 1999, and will require cleansing.
Only current live data will need to be imported into the new appeals management solution.
Where appeals have had a decision within the last 6 years the decision will need to be published to a Website
Who the users are and what they need to do
The VTS is a small organisation of less than 70 users, currently there is minimal data input. The optimal solution should allow appellants to input their own data (addresses, contact details) attach the required documents which should feed into the solution, which needs to be simplistic and robust enough for all citizens to make the appropriate appeals, with minimal IT skills or legal understanding.
The solution should communicate electronically with all parties to the appeal.
We would expect an API interface to be used to allow communication for bulk appeals and communication with the VOA and billing authorities.
Early market engagement
We have discussed the order of magnitude costs with RCDTS.
We have discussed the order of magnitude costs from a single supplier, these figures then formed the basis for the Business case for funding approval.
Any work that’s already been done
The VTS has a Dynamics solution to handle 2017 Appeals, the system is currently the minimal viable product, the current solution uses Document CorePack to hold all the templates for the printed correspondence.
Although Dynamics 365 is still in its infancy, a strong case would need to be made to not enhance this platform .
The majority of the tribunals work is still undertaken on the Legacy Oracle platform, that the new solution is meant to replace.
We also utilise SharePoint online, as a document repository, this allows appeal documents to be stored and presented electronically at the Tribunal hearing.
Existing team
The VTS project team is very small and in most part lacks experience. The supplier will be expected to bring in or supply specialists as required and offer advice on best practice throughout the project.
The VTS 's long term aim is to bring the support of the new product in-house, to allow their IT staff to make minor changes as business requirements and new appeal types are introduced.
Throughout the project the supplier is expected to work closely with the VTS to produce the necessary artefacts to both test, train and support the final solution.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The work on site will be
VTS, 2nd Floor, 120 Leman Street, London, E1 8EU or
3rd Floor, Crossgate House, Wood Street, Doncaster, DN1 3LL
Working arrangements
The VTS believe the outcomes are best achieved by Agile working with the majority of work undertaken in VTS offices alongside VTS staff that way questions and queries can be answered immediately alongside this, recommendations and decisions can be made very quickly.
The VTS would also like to work alongside the development team to build a user guide as the system is developed, to aid UAT and training.
The VTS believe this will speed up development, delivery and testing.
The VTS expect the supplier to be on site for at least 3 days per week as a minimum.
Security clearance
As a minimum Basic Check or Disclosure Scotland must have been carried out on all employees and contractors used by the Supplier on this project.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
There are no additional terms and conditions.

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
  • Able to meet the deadline of a MVP by end of March 2019
  • Give one example of championing the solution for better user adoption
  • Give one example of implimenting 'IL3' official sensitive solutions and provide an overview of what hardening was implimented
  • Give one example of providing handover artifacs to allow 1st and 2nd line in-house support
  • Give one example of using modern communication method to interact with client customers
  • Give one example of working with a small project team
  • Give one example of writing public API's
  • Give one example of designing services for users with low digital literacy
  • Give one example where you undertaken a data extraction and import, preferably including data cleansing
  • Give one example of implimenting a workable althernative where constraints precluded the preferred solution
  • The supplier must present a strong business benefit for not enhancing our existing dynamics application and Azure cloud based services
  • The MVP is critical for 31st March 2019, briefly describe how you would ensure that this date is achieved
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide one example of recommending 3rd party products to achieve required functionality
  • Provide one example of utilising products out of the box, configuration not customisation
  • Experience of using prince 2 with an agile development approach
  • Previously worked for Government organisation
  • Supplier has ability to supply dedicated resources where appropriate
  • Give one example of making changes that staff were resistant to and what you did to overcome this
  • Provide open and transparent worksheets, to prove value for money and show actual effort against costs
  • Experience of working with 3rd party suppliers for a common goal

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology
  • Are Resources currently in place and their availability to the project
  • Cost
  • Escalation routes
  • Estimated Timeframes
  • Has Supplier capacity in their current pipeline to undertake the work
  • How the approach meets VTS user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets the VTS polices or goals
  • How they have identified risks and offered appraoches to manage that risk
  • Identified interdependencies
  • Must be willing to accept in full the CCS contract unammended
  • Outline project plan
  • Reuse of existing solutions
  • Team Structure
  • Technical solution
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers for the benefit of the project
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Work with clients with low technical expertise
  • Willingness to take on board customer concerns
  • Be creative and innovative in offering solutions.
  • Be respectful of customer opinions and give full consideration and discussion before making decisions
  • Understand that the customer understands its businesses and their customers
  • The ability to not be constrained by the current look and feel functionality of the Oracle CDB
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can the Authority please provide details on the work undertaken so far in Dynamics 365 to get to an MVP, and who undertook this work?
The work undertaken so far was for a new appeal type, namely NDR 2017. This appeal type follows a general work stream, of receipt, acknowledge, list to a hearing, postpone (O=Optional), Adjourn (O), withdraw (O), Agreement (O), decide (O).
There are 11 other appeal types that the VTS deal with, that will need to be in the new solution.
The work was undertaken by SFW
2. Please can VTS provide details of what functions of the appeals management system replacement will be needed in the MVP and hence are required by 31st March 2019.
There are 11 other appeal types that the VTS deal with, that will need to be in the new solution
All appeal types follow a general work stream, of receipt, acknowledge, list to a hearing, postpone (O=Optional), Adjourn (O), withdraw (O), Agreement (O), decide (O). However each has a different timeline and requirements for submitting appeals, and different Respondents to the appeal, either the Billing Authority or VOA
3. Is the Dynamics solution created for the 2017 appeals believed to be suitable for enhancement to deliver the required functionality or are there constraints or issues that mean that another solution is required? If constraints or issues are preventing the enhancement of this solution, what are they?
We would hope that the current dynamics solution can be enhanced to deal with all the different type of appeals and business processes.
We are not aware of any constraints that mean a different solution is required.
4. are you open to use onshore and offshore teams in the project which will reduce the cost?
We outlined a mandatory requirement for a developer on site, as we feel that best suits an agile approach.
Although we are willing to look at the use of offshore teams, to compliment the onsite resource(s).
As you know the cost element only represents 20% of our consideration for award
5. We note that you expect suppliers to be "willing to accept in full the CCS contract unamended". However, due to an almost unique characteristic of our business activities, we are unable to finalise DOS contracts with our customers without a small amendment. This has proven acceptable to all of our DOS contracted customers in the past, supported by CCS its self. In principle, is VTS willing to consider the same alteration that our other customers have accepted, if endorsed and sanctioned by CCS?
We have had lengthy discussions with CCS in the past over this issue.
However we have come across instances in the past at contract award time, that changes were being made that were unacceptable to CCS, which delayed the start of the project and caused huge frustrations all around, we would ask that you flag this suggested change in your response.
The VTS then can make an informed decision, as wording changes to pre agreed contracts can sometimes take time to resolve.
In this contract timescales are tight.
6. "Although Dynamics 365 is still in its infancy, a strong case would need to be made to not enhance this platform."
"We would hope that the current dynamics solution can be enhanced to deal with all the different type of appeals and business processes."
These statements are confusing to us
Can you please clarify your question.
7. Hi, could you please provide a contact address where we can send the requested amendments to the framework we would like you to review / consider with CCS to enable us to be able to bid?
M J Harkin
VTS, 2nd Floor, 120 Leman Street
E1 8EU
8. Further to question 6 above, we also wanted to clarify criterion 11. I think you intended to say that IF the supplier wishes to propose a different tech stack, a very strong case would need to be made – rather than asking each supplier to make a strong case for another tech stack as part of the submission process.