Awarded to Difrent

Start date: Wednesday 22 May 2019
Value: £580,888
Company size: SME
Department for Work and Pensions

Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI) Programme: Accessibility Features

3 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 2 large

5 Completed applications

3 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Thursday 31 January 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 7 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 14 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To make a DWP user application (RINA) WCAG2.0 AA accessibility compliant and thus meet the accessibility standards required by UK Government. During initial Proof of Concept, develop costed options relating to (i) alignment with Government Digital Service standards and (ii) enhanced usability.
Latest start date
Monday 18 March 2019
Expected contract length
Initial duration circa 9 months consisting of PoC and Full Implementation subject to successful PoC.
North West England
Organisation the work is for
Department for Work and Pensions
Budget range
Not disclosed.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The EESSI Programme is a cross EU initiative to move from the current clerical process for exchanging information between Member States to an electronic digital solution that will:
- further protect the social security rights of citizens who are mobile across Europe;
- facilitate the effective application and management of EU social security law; and
- speed up the administration and decision-making process for the actual calculation and payment of social security benefits, allowances and pensions to European citizens.
Problem to be solved
To deliver this solution within the UK, the DWP is responsible for deploying two EU built applications consisting of a shared UK Access Point to be used by a number of Government Departments and a Departmental specific (DWP, HMRC and DHSC) user application called RINA. For DWP, these applications are hosted within the Microsoft Azure Cloud.
These requirements relate to the RINA component, i.e. the Front-End of EESSI, which users interact with and not the Access Point Component.
The RINA application is not WCAG2.0 AA accessibility compliant and thus meet the accessibility standards required by UK Government Departments.
Who the users are and what they need to do
1. Supplier to reskin/refactor the RINA User Application to fully meet Government Accessibility Standards within nine months of Mobilisation.
2. Supplier to work with DWP to clearly define the extent to which DWP can move closer to, or meet, the GDS Standards, jointly producing a GAP analysis and costed plan which DWP may select to take forward as separate work item.
3. Supplier to provide a costed plan for additional UI/UX improvement that can be delivered at a lower cost as part of this activity than in isolation, which DWP may select to take forward as separate work item.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
To date, DWP have built the Azure Infrastructure and deployed the two applications. The IT Go-Live is March 2019 and the business Go-Live is April 2019. It has been agreed by the UK Programme Board that as initial go-live is small scale, the Minimal Viable Product will not be compliant with Accessibility Standards on the basis that a deliverable plan exists to remediate by December 2019.
Existing team
The Supplier will work collaboratively with the DWP Programme team and will co-locate with the North West contingent. The existing team is formed from civil servants, and capita personnel with support from a Microsoft Partner (Sol-Tec) for hosting and infrastructure deployment. The Supplier will also collaborate with HMRC Project Team and exceptionally with EU Commission personnel. Supplier outcomes will be managed by a DWP civil servant as part of a wider Programme Work-stream.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The Supplier will be expected to be primarily located with the Customer on a DWP site based in Blackpool.
Working arrangements
The Supplier personnel will be expected to be on site 5 days (37.5 hours) per week co-locating, collaborating and working flexibly with DWP teams. The Supplier will be responsible for travel and expenses to normal workplace. Any travel required in addition to/or outside of the location(s) specified in Location will only be paid if agreed in advanced and in line with the DWP Travel and Subsistence Policy.
Security clearance
All resources must be BPSS (Baseline Personnel Security Standard) compliant or equivalent (or prepared to undergo clearance process prior to commencement of work). DWP would support an application however costs are to be met by the Supplier.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
None currently anticipated.

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 delivering Accessibility Compliant solutions aligning to stated EU, HM Government, WCAG and GDS specifications and standards in an Agile environement using JAWS; Zoomtext; Dragon; Read, Write, Gold
  • Experienced (2-5 years) technical skills in Agile development lifecycle supported by references of deliveries they have either led or had significant involvement utilising JIRA; Confluence; and Agile/SCRUM.
  • Experienced (2-5 years) expertise in Front End/Full stack development supported by references of led deliveries utilising Angular; TypeScript; JavaScript including JQuery; HTML; CSS; Bootstep; Node.js; REST; JSO; Git; IntelliJ
  • Experienced (2-5 years) technical skills in developer testing supported by references of deliveries they have either led or had significant involvement utilising Mocha, Jasmine or Karma; Selenium; JMeter; Cucumber/Gherkin.
  • Experienced (2-5 years) expertise in Front End/Full stack development supported references of led deliveries utilising Java8+/Groovy; Spring Framework; Hibernate/JPA; ElasticSearch; PostgeSQL; RabbitMQ; Swagger; Gradle; IntelliJ; Junit; Mockito; JaCoCo
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience or working with the following tools and technologies: Linux; Docker; AWS; Jenkins.
  • Experience of working within DWP or a comparable organisation within the last 3 years.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
To be set out in the Request for Proposal
Cultural fit criteria
To be set out in the Request for Proposal.
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would you clarify what qualifies as an organisation comparable to DWP please?
The DWP is a large (public sector) organisation with in excess of 70,000 staff operating across multiple business units. We are seeking a supplier with experience of working with similar sized organisations, although this not an Essential.
2. Please can you indicate what budget you have allocated to this piece of work?
The DWP does not intend to disclose the budget allocated to this piece of work.
3. Please can you indicate what budget you have allocated to this piece of work?
The DWP does not intend to disclose the budget allocated to this piece of work.
4. Please can you advise if you have an incumbent supplier and if you do, who they are?
There is no incumbent supplier currently undertaking equivalent work.
5. Please can you advise which phase this project is in currently. Is this Discovery and will you be subject to GDS assessment process?
The main Programme is about implement MVP in April 2019.  The Feature team for the accessibility re-skin is just past Discovery in Agile terms.  GDS Service Standards require GAP analysis as per published requirements.
6. Are you able to release the budget allocated to this contract?
The DWP does not intend to disclose the budget allocated to this piece of work.
7. Will the scores from the evidencing round be taken through to final evaluation? Or will they be used for the purposes of shortlisting suppliers?
The initial responses will only be considered as part of an initial sift (i.e. supplier shortlist) but DWP may repeat the same or similar criteria as part of the wider RFP.
8. In order to compare suppliers, how will price be evaluated?
The evaluation of price will be conducted in accordance with the Digital Outcomes and Specialists buyers’ guide:
Detailed evaluation criteria will be released to shortlisted bidders at the Assessment Stage.
9. Has any work been completed on this project so far and can outputs be shared if so?
The Accessibility Features Team aspect of EESSI has passed through a Discovery. Discovery outputs have already been shared as part of the supplemental information on Bravo.
10. Would DWP accept proposals that offer a different commercial that may not carry risk premium that comes with Fixed Price, e.g. Time & Materials?
The DWP's requirement is for Fixed Price proposals.
11. Has any other supplier been engaged with this project so far?
No other third party supplier has been engaged on the Feature Team requirement. There is a third party supplier in place for infrastructure and application deployment onto Microsoft Azure.
12. What specific roles are DWP expecting a supplier to provide under this contract? How many of each role?
The DWP is seeking to buy digital outcomes and not individual roles. Is it for the Supplier to determine what roles, and how many of any role, will be required to deliver those digital outcomes.
13. Are you expecting to deliver this project in an agile way?
Yes, as far as possible.
14. Will the RINA service be submitted for a GDS Assessment?
The GDS position is as par the requirement narrative including the supplemental information available on Bravo.
15. Are you looking for a supplier with GDS assessment experience?
This would be desirable, but it is not mandatory.
16. Who is the incumbent supplier team who has supported the DWP in developing the MVP?
While the DWP has engaged third party suppliers as part of the overall EESSI Programme, there has been no third party supplier involvement in developing the MVP.
17. What roles are currently provided through contingent labour and will they be part of this project for this specific piece of work?
There are Dev Ops and Software Development roles performed by contingent labour. There will be limited availability for the Accessibility Feature Team as these individuals are fully occupied.
18. Is this service expected to be accessed through
No. This is an internal staff facing service, not a citizen facing one.
19. Has this project had Digital Design Authority approval yet?
20. Does the MVP use the GDS design toolkit?
The GDS position is as per the requirement narrative, including the supplementary information published on Bravo.
21. Are you able to provide access to a prototype or screen shots of the MVP?
Screen shots have already been provided as part of the supplementary information on Bravo.
22. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would DWP expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed 'exceeding' and score 3 marks?
The evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the Digital Outcomes and Specialists buyers’ guide:
Beyond the guidance that has already been provided, DWP will not advise Bidders how to respond to specific requirements in order to gain maximum scores. There is an expectation that Bidders should competently provide responses that are relevant by describing how their organisation meets each of the requirements and, if applicable, articulate within their responses how their organisation may exceed the requirement, provided it is within the context/scope of the requirement and overall solution as a whole.
23. As per DOS guidelines 'You should only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement', are DWP only requesting one example per skills and experience question?
DWP only requires one example per skills and experience question.
24. What roles are DWP expecting to provide as part of this contract?
The DWP is looking to engage a supplier to deliver a set of digital outcomes, and DWP will seek to undertake the necessary co-ordination and support roles to enable successful delivery of those outcomes.
25. What technology is the RINA user application implemented in?
Please refer to the software stack skills outlined in the supplementary information published on Bravo.
26. Roughly how many web pages make up the RINA application?
Please refer to the full system screen shots provided in the supplementary information published on Bravo.
27. Is HTML 5 used in the RINA application?
Yes, it is.
28. What's your budget for this?
The DWP does not intend to disclose the budget allocated to this piece of work.
29. Where are the current team currently located and is there an opportunity to co-locate?
The larger elements of the DWP team are based in Peel Park (Blackpool) and Longbenton (Newcastle-upon-Tyne), with a smaller presence in other locations such as Sheffield, who are not involved in the technical development.
Most of the HMRC staff are based in Longbenton.
30. In terms of co-location, would there be two or three locations likely to be core?
The main location is likely to be Peel Park (Blackpool) and co-location would be actively encouraged.
31. There have been some issues in accessing the .pdf screenshots - could these be provided separately?
The .pdf screenshots have been checked and can be copied and pasted as required to aid with comprehension.
32. Is there a pre-existing platform services pipeline, are any environments already set up?
There are already test environments and acceptance environments in place, and production environment is built but not connected. For DWP, these are hosted in Microsoft Azure; for HMRC, in AWS.
33. Are there any incremental releases planned up to December 2019?
There have been no notifications from the European Commission of anything planned, however this cannot be entirely discounted and if any issues are identified, there could be fixes deployed during that period.