Awarded to Methods Business and Digital Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 1 April 2019
Value: £4,500,000
Company size: SME
Education and Skills Funding Agency (DfE)

Data Science agile development - Development, Architecture and DevOps Services

4 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 1 large

21 Completed applications

12 SME, 9 large

Important dates

Published
Friday 1 February 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 8 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 15 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
We are looking for developer, technical architect and devops engineer roles to help to continue to deliver our Data Science Digital Transformation Programme. This will be a mix of continuous improvement to existing systems and delivery of new systems though GDS phases.
The supplier will work alongside in-house digital teams
Latest start date
Monday 1 April 2019
Expected contract length
Up to 2 years
Location
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Education and Skills Funding Agency (DfE)
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 Data Science service is undergoing a digital transformation and is looking for agile partners to assist in delivering this.

The key challenges are (i) management information less than optimal (ii) user experience is less than optimal (iii) existing technologies to support services are close to end of life.

The aim is to build an in-house capability across the four service lines (i) Management Information (ii) Learning Records Service (iii) Data Capture (iv) Digital Insight within Data Science to address the challenges above.

To do this we envisage some contracts to cover specific projects to support the programme
Problem to be solved
The Data Science service is going through digital transformation to meet the evolving business, policy and user needs as well as meet the interface requirements of other ESFA systems.

To address business, policy and user needs, some of GDS agile roles such as Developer, Technical Architect and DevOps engineer may be required to either support existing teams or potentially form discrete delivery teams to address a specific need.

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 (https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard#criterion-3)
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our users are both external and internal (business operations, audit, support desk and policy).

As an ESFA training provider (audit/finance)
I need to see my funding management information, so that I can plan for learner education and busienss continuity

As an ESFA internal user (audit)
I need to see the training provider management information, so that I can ensure the government funding spent appropriately
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
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, going through the standard GDS phases. Typical team size is up to 10 with a skills mix such as product/service managers, delivery managers, business analysts, developers, testing, architecture, user research and design professionals. These teams can have a mix of internal and external staff.

The new supplier will be expected to provide resources across developer, technical architect and devops engineer 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 Education and Skills Funding Agency, Cheylesmore House, Coventry, CV1 2WT.
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 delivering Data Science products/services within Public Sector
  • Experience in architecture servcies and ensuring new and updated platforms, products, transactions and system architectures are robust, scalable, open and secure
  • Experience in DevOps services including running production applications, optimising existing applications and design new ones
  • Experience in building scalable server-side cloud-based web applications (preferably Microsoft Azure) detailed knowledge of the C#, .NET, ASP.NET MVC programming languages
  • Experience in building front-end web applications (HTML/CSS/JS)
  • Demonstrable experience of working in multi-team agile delivery programmes
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of passing GDS service assessments
  • Experience of Microsoft product suite in the education sector
  • Experience of Cyber Security in the education sector
  • Experience in delivering ESFA's Data Science products/services

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
3
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate working experience in delivering Data Science products/services within Public Sector
  • Demonstrate experience of development, Architecture and DevOps in the Microsoft platform
  • Demonstrate understanding/ability to deliver digital products/services to government Digital Service standards
  • 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 approach to knowledge and skills transfer
  • Technical competence in the identified technologies and agile practices
  • Ability to scale up 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
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can we ask what criteria ESFA will be using to judge whether an evidence answer 'exceeded' requirements and therefore scores full marks (3)?
Each question will be scored in line with the standard DOS methodology outlined on the CCS website.
2. ESFA are procuring multiple workstreams in parallel. Does ESFA have a clear view of the threat model being applied to each workstream?
Yes. We align to DfE standard security and privacy principles.
3. ESFA are procuring multiple workstreams in parallel, will ESFA reconsider staggering the procurement schedule?
No, workstreams will be delivered in parallel.
4. Are there any expected events which are driving key dependencies on this requirement, if so what are these events and dates?
No
5. Is it possible for suppliers to propose Capped Time and Materials, to mean time and materials within a maximum total budget, as opposed to the DOS definition?
In line with the DOS definition, the supplier is expected to estimate and price the scope of work (SOWs) on a project by project basis. Each SOW will have deliverables that the supplier must ensure are completed prior to the end of the engagement. These deliverables will be scoped in collaboration with the client.
6. Does Capped Time and Materials refer to the DOS definition, where a supplier has to complete work a their own cost?
In line with the DOS definition, the supplier is expected to estimate and price the scope of work (SOWs) on a project by project basis. Each SOW will have deliverables that the supplier must ensure are completed prior to the end of the engagement. These deliverables will be scoped in collaboration with the client.
7. Does Capped Time and Materials, refer to working on a time and materials basis, within a maximum total budget?
In line with the DOS definition, the supplier is expected to estimate and price the scope of work (SOWs) on a project by project basis. Each SOW will have deliverables that the supplier must ensure are completed prior to the end of the engagement. These deliverables will be scoped in collaboration with the client.
8. ESFA are procuring multiple parallel workstreams, does ESFA have an Enterprise Architect who governs all these workstreams?
ESFA Architecture Board oversees all of the workstreams.
9. Can we ask what criteria ESFA will be using to judge whether an evidence answer 'exceeded' requirements and therefore scores full marks (3)?
Each question will be scored in line with the standard DOS methodology outlined on the CCS website.
10. Is the Delivery Manager a full-time ESFA employee, or is the Delivery Manager provided by a 3rd party supplier, if so which company.
There are a number of delivery managers made up of full time employees and 3rd parties.
11. What roles will ESFA deploy? What type and quantity of roles does ESFA expect a supplier to provide?
Roles specified in the procurement documentation and number of roles will be specified in Statements of Work.
12. ESFA are procuring multiple workstreams in parallel, where other workstreams identify different user needs, will the architecture developed through this requirement ultimately serve the user needs of other parallel workstreams?
All work streams will address user needs and business/policy requirements.
13. Other than the existing departmental start, are there any third party suppliers expected to work on this engagement?
No
14. In addition to developer, technical architect, and devops engineer roles, does the Authority expect the supplier to provide other skills in User Research, Delivery Management, Test Management, Technical Architecture for example?
No
15. We note that Government Service Manual is largely silent with respect how to plan and delivery data transformation programmes. Are you open to suppliers proposing approaches that mitigate important areas which impact other workstreams ESFA are procuring in parallel?
Yes, we are open for suppliers proposed approaches.
16. Will ESFA have access to all relevant data, at its Coventry premises from 1st April 2019
Yes
17. A partner is required to transition knowledge, does this mean knowledge at a role level, or knowledge in how to architect and shape a data transformation programme? or both?
Yes it's at tole level i.e mentoring and developing
18. Have ESFA taken advice or learnings from other government departments who have undertaken similar Data Science and Digital Transformation programmes already, if so which departments have been consulted?
We have engaged with DfE but we have not engaged with other government departments.
19. Have external supplier companies been involved in previous stages, if so who are these companies?
Yes, Methods and EAS.
20. To what degree are new target technologies already selected? What are the key areas that still need to be determined?
We are using Microsoft technologies. We are open for other technologies to be evaluated as part of business/user needs.
21. Does ESFA have a candidate high-level architecture in mind, if so can you please share this?
Not at this stage of the procurement process.
22. ESFA are procuring multiple workstreams. Please explain the structure in place to provide delivery governance and technical governance between different workstreams.
We have standard delivery methodologies for the governance of all workstreams.
23. Can you please share a copy of DfE Travel and Subsistence Policy, or explain the key elements?
Expenses can only be claimed for meetings such as GDS assessments. Must be included in the Request for Quote for each statement of work and the PO. Applied at the Managers discretion.
24. What roles does ESFA expect will need to be deployed by a supplier on 1st April?
The roles specified in the procurement documentation will need to be deployed by 1st April.
25. Is the work starting 1st April commencing with a very specific phase of government delivery lifecycle (i.e. Discovery, Alpha, Beta)? Alternatively, is the requirement to provide skilled people to work under ESFA's general direction?
Yes, skilled people working under the direction of Data Science Management (ESFA)
26. Is this requirement to provide skilled people to work under the direction of ESFA, as opposed to supplier taking responsibility for achieving project outcomes?
Yes, skilled people working under the direction of Data Science Management (ESFA)
27. For "Experience in delivering Data Science products/services within Public Sector", we have experience in private sector. Should we apply?
Public Sector experience is required. This is one of the main evaluation criteria.
28. Please can DfE confirm that private sector experience of Data Science and GDS public sector delivery are equivalent experience?
Public sector experience is required. This is one of the main evaluation criteria.
29. Please can DfE confirm what specific aspects of Data Science will be required to be delivered under this requirement and what aspects will be delivered by other teams?
Delivery is as outlined in the procurement documentation.
30. Given this is initially for a small number of role types to join existing projects, we assume you will evaluate on rate-card only. If so, at stage 2 will you be requesting rates for a number of SFIA levels for each role type?
Yes we will request rates for various SFIA levels.
31. Have ESFA taken advice or learnings from other government departments who have undertaken similar Data Science and Digital Transformation programmes already, if so which departments have been consulted?
We have engaged with DfE teams but not with other government departments.
32. Re: the NTH evidence, is there a list of specific existing "ESFA Data Science products/ services" that you are looking for experience in?
No, there are no specific products or services required.
33. Can we ask what criteria ESFA will be using to judge whether an evidence 'exceeded' requirements and therefore score full marks (3)?
Each question will be scored in line with the standard DOS methodology outlined on the CCS website.
34. Please read DevOps as DataOps
We are looking for DataOps Engineer to orchestrate and automate the data analytics pipeline, promotes features to production
35. Other than the existing departmental start, are there any third party suppliers expected to work on this engagement?
No, one supplier will be appointed on this engagement
36. In addition to developer, technical architect and devops engineer roles, does the Authority expect the supplier to provide other skill in User Research, Delivery Management, Test Management, Technical Architecture for example?
No
37. Is this opportunity an extension or build on a previous phase of work?
Yes, multiple suppliers have previously provided elements of this service
38. Is there an incumbent supplier currently delivering these services? If so, who is the supplier?
Yes, multiple suppliers have previously provided elements of this service
39. Please can you expand on what products you mean by "Microsoft product suite in the education sector"?
We are open for any Microsoft products that will address our user/business needs
40. Please can you provide further detail on the data science products and how they're being used
Unfortunately not at this stage.
41. By having "Experience in delivering ESFA's Data Science products/services" This question would limit fair competition. If a supplier won't score a minimum of 2 on this they won't be in nextround
Small element of nice to have and doesn't factor under technical competence.
42. Will scoring from the evidence stage be taken through to evaluation scoring? As opposed to being used solely for the purpose of shortlisting?
Yes scores will be taken through to evaluation stage.
43. Can you confirm the associated commercial timelines?
Shortlisting will take place w/c 18th February, with evaluation panels scheduled for the first week of March.
44. Does ESFA have a candidate high-level architecture in mind, if so can you please share this?
Not at this stage of the procurement process, further details will be made available for shortlisted suppliers.
45. ESFA are procuring multiple workstreams, can you please share a high-level diagram which shows the timelines and stages of each workstream?
Not at this stage of the procurement process, further details will be made available to shortlisted suppliers.
46. Has a Discovery for this requirement been completed? If so can you please share the outputs of Discovery?
No. Work in progress
47. What is the high-level delivery roadmap for this requirement? i.e. Are there different workstreams, are there specific stages (Discovery, Alpha, Beta) and approximate schedule
High level roadmap is a work in progress, further information will be made available to shortlisted suppliers.
48. Can you confirm any planned or in-flight projects currently in Discovery, Alpha and Beta the supplier will be taking on?
Yes, there are some projects in-flight, unfortunately we are unable to share further information at this stage.