Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 18 February 2019
Value: £224,500
Company size: SME
Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), BEIS

UK SBS DDaT18077 BEIS OPSS Cosmetic Products Service Alpha and Beta

1 Incomplete application

0 SME, 1 large

6 Completed applications

6 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Thursday 20 December 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 27 December 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 3 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Office for Product and Safety Standards require a supplier to work with our internal team to complete the Alpha and Beta of a service that will enable businesses to submit information relating to their cosmetic products. The service is part-way through Alpha and needs to be delivered by 29/03/19.
Latest start date
Monday 11 February 2019
Expected contract length
Approx. 5 months (end date of 28th June 2019) with a possible 2 month extension.
Organisation the work is for
Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), BEIS
Budget range
£200,000 - £225,500 (exc. VAT) including the option to extend.

About the work

Why the work is being done
OPSS is responsible for developing national capacity for product safety in the UK. Our digital portfolio includes services aimed at regulators, businesses and consumers.

From 29th March 2019 businesses will be required to notify the Secretary of State details of their cosmetic products before they are placed on the market. We are developing a service that will enable businesses to fulfil this requirement. These changes need to be communicated through GOV.UK and other channels.

The service will protect consumers by allowing the National Poisons Information Service to provide advice to medical professionals on the ingredients of cosmetic products.
Problem to be solved
The UK needs to collect data relating to cosmetic products from businesses and make that data available to the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS). The NPIS use this data to provide 24/7 guidance to medical professionals treating patients who have ingested or suffered an adverse reaction to cosmetic products.

A subset of this data is also available to competent authorities, such as Trading Standards, for market surveillance purposes.

The NPIS and Trading Standards currently access this information through the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP), a system provided by the EU.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As NPIS we need to find information relating to the ingredients of cosmetic products so that we can provide advice and guidance to medical professionals treating patients.

As a business I need to provide and update information about my cosmetic products so that I can place them on the market legally.

As a Trading Standards Officer I need to review information submitted by businesses so that I can carry out market surveillance activities.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We are part-way through Alpha. We have developed a prototype which has undergone multiple rounds of testing with business users. The prototype includes various flows for businesses to submit information. We are still testing parts of this journey ahead of Beta (e.g. playing back submitted data).
We have engaged with NPIS and Trading Standards to better understand their needs and will begin prototyping for these user groups shortly. We have started setting up the technical infrastructure ahead of Beta.
Existing team
This project is being led by OPSS Digital as well as subject matter experts. Specifically, OPSS will provide:

Product Owner
User Researcher
2 x Developers (third party)
Service Designer

In addition, there will be access to the wider team and current suppliers to help gain access to relevant work streams.

We anticipate we will require 2 developers and a user researcher to complete Alpha and deliver the MVP in Beta.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The primary site will be 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0EH. However, OPSS has other sites including Birmingham and Teddington and the team may be required to work there on occasion to engage with colleagues and stakeholders.

There may be a requirement for travel to other sites to conduct user research and testing.
Working arrangements
The team must be co-located at 1 Victoria Street, London and adhere to BEIS normal working hours (09:00 - 17:00). Suppliers must comply with the BEIS travel and subsistence policy.

Travel within the UK may be required for user research and testing purposes. BEIS will meet any additional travel costs incurred away from the London office for the purposes of user research or attendance at other BEIS sites.

Travel to Birmingham and Teddington offices should be expected occasionally.

Individual remote working arrangements are acceptable but must be agreed ahead with OPSS.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance required. BEIS will sponsor this if necessary.

Additional information

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
  • Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to:
  • Create content suitable for GOV.UK and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this service.
  • Develop production ready code using Ruby on Rails or equivalent and how this will ensure successful delivery of this service.
  • Implement Government as a Platform services and how this will ensure successful delivery of this service.
  • Work alongside other suppliers in the process of developing services to share insights and how this will ensure successful delivery of this service.
  • Work with previously established technical infrastructures and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this service.
  • Develop prototypes (wire frames/coded prototypes/etc.) iteratively via user testing/research and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this service.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to:
  • Deliver digital services that meet the GDS Digital Service Standard criteria and pass GDS service assessments and how this ensures the successful delivery of this service.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets your organisation’s policy or goal
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you will work transparently and collaboratively with OPSS when making decisions throughout this project
  • Demonstrate how you will engage and work with suppliers developing existing services to inform OPSS’s approach
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Your bid says that you'll provide a user researcher, but are also looking for a user researcher. Is the intent to have two user researchers and four developers in total correct? Would you expect to have the user researcher through-out the 5 months?
Yes, we intend to have four developers and two user reseachers in total. We may be able to reduce the user researcher resource post 29th March, but this is dependent upon the size of the backlog.
2. Will a team where the user researcher will be based at at the mentioned location whilst the developers work remotely be a work arrangement you will be willing to consider?
We require the developers onsite 3 days a week. More flexible working arrangements may be agreed as development progresses (providing this does not impeed outputs).
3. "Create content suitable for GOV.UK and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this service"
Could you elaborate further on the type of content mentioned here?
Creating pages that explain the purpose of the service, the responsibility of users of the service, and how to use the service based on various scenarios (e.g. if a cosmetic product was launched before 29th March, or after 29th March). There will also be copy review of service pages.
4. Is there a preference to using Ruby on Rails? And are you open to using an equivalent technology proposed by the supplier?
No, the technology stack is based on Ruby on Rails as we are sharing the infrastructure of a sister service. As such, we are unable to accept an alternative technology but we are open to bidders who have used alternative technologies and can demonstrate how they will apply their skills or expertise to develop production ready code.
5. Please can you provide suppliers with the Discovery outputs and documentation as this stage?
The Discovery outputs will be shared with all shortlisted suppliers.
6. As Discovery work has already been undertaken, are you happy for the successful supplier to validate your Discovery before beginning the Alpha work?
No, due to time constraints, our focus will be on developing new prototypes and developing existing prototypes into production ready code. We anticipate that testing these outputs with users will validate our hypothesis and and inform further work.
7. Please can you provide details of the next steps are following this initial application i.e. deadlines for the written proposal/if there will be an interview and when?
We anticipate shortlist feedback to be provided on or after Tuesday 15th January 2019, bid deadline on Wednesday 23rd January 2019, presentations on Thursday 24th January 2019, and award announcement on Friday 1st February 2019. However, this is subject to change.
8. Can you host a call with suppliers about this opportunity where we can have a live Q&A and the discussion notes are shared on this tender ad? This has proven helpful on other DM opportunities.
No, this must be scheduled and advertised in advance and so this will not be available for this opportunity.
9. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
This information is not relevant to the bid submission and as such will not be published.
10. Would it be fair to assume that nothing is expected to be answered for the first Essential Skill listed here? i.e "Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to:". Would be grateful if you can please clarify.
Yes, you are correct - no response is required for the first point as it is a leading question for the questions following it. Due to the word limit when posting criteria the question has been split into two parts. Please do not provide a response to the leading statement as it is not a question that will be scored.
11. Who is the current incumbent doing the Alpha?
The current incumbent is Softwire Technology Ltd