Awarded to Methods Business and Digital Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 1 April 2019
Value: £4,500,000
Company size: SME
Department for Education (DfE) Funding and Allocations Service

Digital Lifecycle Management for Manage Your Education and Skills Funding (MYESF)

9 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 3 large

14 Completed applications

10 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Monday 7 January 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 14 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 21 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We’re looking for an experiencd partner to deliver our digital service by continuous improvement to existing systems and delivery of new systems though GDS phases. The resources need experience of GDS standards and will cover all service roles working alongside the in-house digital team
Latest start date
Monday 1 April 2019
Expected contract length
2 years
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education (DfE) Funding and Allocations Service
Budget range
The budget could range up to a maximum of £4.5m consisting of multiple SoWs, but that scope could expand or contract. DfE does not commit to any minimum spend at this point. A pricing template will be given at the proposal stage to those suppliers we shortlist.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Funding and Allocation Service is looking for an agile partner to help develop new products and reshape mature systems to deliver our digital transformation. MYESF is the external facing digital platform for the service, providing transactional capabilities and funding information for organisations delivering public education and training, which receive £60bn funding managed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The aim is to build an in-house capability across three service lines in total, including MYESF. Each will have their own contract, but flexibility to provide resources to the other service lines if necessary. (Details provided at proposal stage)
Problem to be solved
As a public facing service, the MYESF service line needs to be enhanced and developed to meet the evolving business and policy needs and interface with other ESFA systems. This may require the spectrum of GDS agile roles (e.g. development, testing, business analysis, user research, design) which could become part of existing teams or form discrete delivery teams (discovery, alpha, beta) to address business specific needs. We are looking for a partner to transition knowledge, skills and experience to help build this. Specific roles and skills required are detailed in the GDS Service Manual (
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a school, academy, local authority, college, training organisation or employer provider I need to know what and when I will be paid and carry out any contract related transactions required to receive ESFA funding, so that my organisation receives the correct funding in a timely manner
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Manage Your Education and Skills Funding is a live digital service that has completed and passed alpha, beta and live Government Digital Service assessments. The service enables users to sign funding contracts online, return contract related information and see how much funding they will and have received. It runs a business-as-usual team to iterate, improve and support the live service and a project team to transform legacy applications and processes into new features for the service.
Existing team
The existing teams are comprised of multi-disciplinary agile delivery skills. These teams are involved in continual product improvement as well as providing brand new digital services. Typical team size is up to 12 with a skills mix such as service/product/delivery managers, business analysts, developers, testing, architecture, user research and design professionals. These teams can have a mix of permanent staff and managed resources. The new supplier will be expected to provide resources across all or any of these roles according to the business need for the initiative.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Primary location will be Cheylesmore House, Coventry.
Any travel to other sites to be approved and will follow the DfE's travel and subsistence policy.
Working arrangements
This will be a 5 day per week (Monday to Friday) commitment and detailed working arrangements, including team location, size and make-up, will be contained within each statement of work. Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques. These could be either a Kanban or a scrum approach (depending on the work) but the standard agile ceremonies appropriate to those will be undertaken. These will be monitored by the Delivery Manager and the Product Owner will be responsible for prioritising backlogs in refinement sessions.
Security clearance
Personnel from the Service provider need to have both BPSS and an enhanced DBS check.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE Travel and Subsistence Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S policy. Primary work location stated in SoW will not attract expenses. No parking is available on site.

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 in building services to meet the UK government Digital Service Standard
  • Demonstrable experience of working in multi-team agile delivery programmes
  • Experience of frontend and backend web development, and Implementing APIs for internal and external use
  • Experience in building SaaS and PaaS services in Microsoft Azure
  • Experience in working with identity and access security in Microsoft Azure PaaS environment
  • Experience in Microsoft Azure Cloud Services Web/Worker Roles
  • Experience building scalable server-less cloud-based web applications using Microsoft Azure stack
  • Detailed knowledge and experience of C#, .NET, ASP.NET MVC, REST API, Cosmos DB optimisation
  • Detailed understanding of front-end web development (HTML/CSS/JS/SignalR)
  • Experience of agile development, software patterns, continuous integration and Test Driven Development
  • Experience of agile product management, using knowledge of user needs and business goals to set priorities for delivery teams
  • Experience of agile delivery management, managing dependincies of varying complexity and balancing priorities
  • Experience in Agile Business Analysis and product backlog creation and management
  • Experience in Agile software testing, including meeting GDS and WCAG accessibility requirements
  • Experience of conducting user research, interpreting and presenting results
  • Experience of User Experience design, GDS design templates and using the GDS toolkit
  • Experience of content design to meet GDS standards
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide evidence of passing GDS service assessments within the last year
  • Provide evidence of working with the UK education landscape within the last year
  • Provide evidence of building funding and systems and/or services within the last 2 years
  • Provide evidence of supplying a wide range of agile resources to a UK government department within the last year

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical competence in the identified technologies and agile practices
  • Experience and methodology in approach to agile project using both Kanban and scrum
  • Demonstrable experience of working alongside clients in co-located, integrated teams, together with representative CVs of key roles
  • Demonstrate understanding/ability to deliver digital products/services to government Digital Service standards
  • Demonstrate approach to knowledge and skills transfer
  • Ability to scale up to full team and flex resource when needed on-site
  • Value for money
  • Demonstrate understanding of the challenges of implementing user centred design in a government agile environment
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team – Collaborate, establish good working relationships, generate team spirit
  • Innovate – Act on initiative, drive improvements, balance risks
  • Build capability – Encourage learning, share knowledge, address capability gaps, act on feedback
  • Focus on delivery – Focus on goals, set stretching targets, take responsibility for delivery
  • Approach to developing a "One Team" approach
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. To confirm, none of the essential skills include experience of the Manage Your Education and Skills Funding service or Funding and Contracting service. Is that correct?
That is correct, none of the essential skills include experience of the DfE Manage Your Education and Skills Funding service or the Funding and Contracting service
2. Can you please describe the relationship and technical re-use (if any) with the other ESFA work in the same location. For example, technical architecture, hosting environments, users, design patterns, data etc.
Architecture, environments, research patterns etc are shared and re-used across the ESFA and DfE where appropriate. There are professional clans that meet regularly to update each other on work planned and in progress to support that process.
3. Who are the current incumbents?
The Provider Digital Team is made up of a mix of permanent DfE staff and supplied resources. Current suppliers are: Methods Digital, Leidos, Ten10, Alexander Mann Solutions and BAE.
4. What is the current delivery structure (team coordination) of the existing incumbent suppliers? Do specific suppliers provide specific teams, or capabilities?
We currently have a multidisciplinary team with a range of skills that uses agile processes managed within a scrum framework. We work to two weekly sprints and aim to release little and often. Suppliers supply a mix of teams and specific capabilities as necessary. We will require a similar mix of teams and capabilities from the new supplier.
5. Please can you clarify this question: "Provide evidence of building funding and systems and/or services within the last 2 years"
Evidence is required of recent experience providing resources to teams working on digital funding services and/or systems, preferably in or for government departments or agencies
6. What is the expected schedule and profile for the onboarding of roles over the initial months of the contract?
The supplier will be required to source and supply a range of delivery and user experience resources from the start of April,
7. Are you looking to introduce a new, additional supplier to your current partner base with this procurement?
The partner base is expected to change at the end of March and may change again later in the year, following contract expiry for some suppliers. The supplier who is successful in being granted this tender will be added to the partner base and is expected to supply a wide range of resources as specified in the advert.
8. Is there one or several incumbent suppliers? Who has done Alpha / Beta work on the service?
There are currently a number of suppliers, Methods Digital, Leidos, Ten10, Alexander Mann Solutions and BAE, who have all been involved in the alpha and beta work on the service.
9. Experience in building SaaS and PaaS services in Microsoft Azure?
In relation to the above question can you please clarify if you are asking:
• if we have built SaaS and PaaS services using Microsoft Azure or
• if we have used the SaaS and PaaS services in Microsoft Azure to build services
We are looking for a supplier who is able to provide resources with experience of using the SaaS and PaaS services in Microsoft Azure to build services