Department for Education

Technical Architect - Buying for Schools Digital Platform

20 Incomplete applications

20 SME, 0 large

28 Completed applications

26 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Tuesday 8 January 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 15 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 22 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Technical Architect
Summary of the work
An opportunity has arisen for a technical architect to work with the Schools Commercial Team to help us deliver a digital service designed to help schools save money when buying goods and services for their school.
Latest start date
Monday 11 February 2019
Expected contract length
Up to 12 months. Private Beta to last 12 weeks
Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Maximum day rate

About the work

Early market engagement
Who the specialist will work with
You will be joining an existing multi-disciplinary team consisting of delivery manager, product manager, user researcher, interaction designer, content designer and a senior developer
What the specialist will work on
As the technical architect on this project you will be ensuring the service fits into the overall departmental strategy. You will be working as part of a multidisciplinary user-focused digital delivery team, within a wider programme of work across the schools commercial team. You will work closely with the delivery team to help design and develop a simple and sustainable service, including considerations for operability. You will also need to collaborate with colleagues across the DfE to evolve the department's approach to digital, and how this service aligns to it.

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Department for Education, 2 St Pauls Place, Sheffield, S1 2FJ
Working arrangements
Ideally co-located with the team in Sheffield but consideration will be givento remote working. Occasional travel to other DfE sites may be required. We will operate using agile methodology including daily stand ups, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives and show and tells. Face to face attendance at all Show and Tells is expected.
Security clearance
BPSS (Baseline Security Level)

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The framework operates on a statement of work (SOW), if the final SOW for Private Beta is complete, and a decision is taken not to proceed to Public Beta, the contract can be terminated. Additional contractual clauses expected include: GDPR, Departmental Security Standards (for departmental data) & clauses on issued property and use of premises.

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
  • Comprehensive and recent experience designing and implementing web-based software systems and/or digital services
  • Proven capability in managing technology implementation projects and in presenting to/working with stakeholders at every level of seniority
  • Demonstrable track record of successfully taking an evolutionary approach to software architecture
  • Experience working on technical projects within an agile team
  • Experience collaborating with senior technical staff across multiple projects and programmes
  • An ability to communicate technical concepts to a non-technical audience
  • Recent experience of hands-on server-side software development
  • Ability to develop efficient and clear code and systems
  • Experience of incorporating operational and infrastructure concerns when architecting systems
  • Experience of architecting for simplicity and operability in cloud and/or PaaS environments
  • Familiarity with DevOps and continuous iterative delivery principles
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience building services to the Digital Service Standard
  • Experience in progressing a service from alpha into private beta
  • Experience of using NodeJS to build and run production systems
  • Understanding and experience of front-end web development (HTML/CSS/JS)
  • Experience acting as a "tech lead" on complex projects, providing support for product and delivery management and pragmatically weighing the complexities involved against the need to act
  • Experience running a production service, including setting up appropriate monitoring and alerting
  • Experience of using GitHub and/or working in the open
  • Experience of deploying applications to run on Platform as a Service offerings
  • Experience with Microsoft Azure

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work with third parties to take Alpha designs and move them into developed Beta's
  • Integrate successfully into an existing Agile team with existing working practices
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
Assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this role is within the intermediaries legislation (also known as IR35) or deemed outside?
The intermediaries legislation (also known as IR35) does not apply to this engagement
2. Is there a maximum day rate for this for this role?
No, there is no maximum day rate specified.

As set out in the evaluation weighting, our priority is appointing the candidate who possesses the required technical skills and experience, however, cost carries a 30% weighting and will be a factor in the evaluation.
3. Is there a current incumbent?

A technical architect supported the team during alpha but they have moved on to a new assignment.
4. How many days per month will be on site?
Ideally, the candidate will be co-located with the team in Sheffield but consideration will be given to remote working.
5. Please can you clarify, if the candidate is not Sheffield based or commutable how much remote working will there be, specifically?
We will require the candidate to be on site at least 3 days per week, and to attend sprint planning, show and tells and retrospectives in person.
6. Will the candidate have to do any hands on development?
Yes, we expect the TA to be involved hands-on with the development and delivery of the service
7. Can you please confirm if this role is outside or inside or IR35?
Please refer to question response 1.