Awarded to Sparta Global Limited (formerly Testing Circle Limited)

Start date: Monday 29 July 2019
Value: £900,000
Company size: SME
NHS Improvement. NHS Trust Development Authority will be the Contracting Authority.

NHS Improvement Junior Technology Talent

13 Incomplete applications

10 SME, 3 large

10 Completed applications

5 SME, 5 large

Important dates

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


Summary of the work
Supplier Briefing Teleconference: 11/02/19 @ 16:30. Provision of Junior Consultants to deliver digital outcomes for national projects to improve productivity and patient care. Contributing to Data&Analytical product and services delivery, covering full product development lifecycle. Disciplines include; BA, development, data analytics, technical infrastructure, operations. Option to transfer to permanent required.
Latest start date
Monday 8 April 2019
Expected contract length
Up to 2 years
Organisation the work is for
NHS Improvement. NHS Trust Development Authority will be the Contracting Authority.
Budget range
Up to £900,000 including all rates, fees and expenses, excluding VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
To address the dual challenges of ongoing need for cost effective technology talent and the lack of a formal Technology Graduate Programme in the NHS, NHS Improvement’s Technology & Data function requires a delivery partner to provide high calibre Junior Technology Talent at affordable rates to meet the immediate digital outcome needs of the organisation and provide NHS Improvement with the option to transition these resources to permanent employees in the future. The consultants are anticipated to undergo digital & soft skill training via a supplier academy / post-graduate programme, in advance of delivering for NHSI.
Problem to be solved
The provision of high calibre, cost effective junior technology resource to contribute to delivery of Technical & Data digital priorities, in the absence of a Technology Graduate Program in NHS. With NHS Improvement permission, the pursuant contract may be used by wider NHS bodies.

As part of the shortlisting process, Suppliers need to demonstrate a proven track record in the provision of high quality Junior staff trained and proficient in several/all of the following areas; Tech operations management, Agile Project Management, DevOps Engineering, Agile Business Analysis, Software Engineering, Quality Assurance, Tech Operational Support, Information Governance, User Experience.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a technology delivery team manager, in need of both short-term and medium/long-term resource to develop and support digital products built and delivered by NHS Improvement, we need access to cost effective junior technology resource, to deliver and develop for NHS Improvement. The option to transition high performing junior consultants to permanent staff will help tackle recruitment challenges in the digital space.
Early market engagement
Supplier Briefing Teleconference on Wednesday 11 February at 16:30 (please login for further details).
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
The Technology Talent will work as part of blended groups consisting of both permanent and third-party Supplier resource staff - working on agile projects across the full product development lifecycle, as part of cross-functional teams.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Primarily London: Wellington House, 133-155 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8UG, potentially with work in NHS offices across England.
Working arrangements
Members of the supplier team should be on-site (London, Wellington House, SE1 and other locations) as required, to support an agile delivery.

Junior consultants shall contribute specific outcomes, under the Supplier's responsibility. Through a Supplier provided account manager, the consultants will be deployed across a variety of projects with substitution and swap-out available. When SOWs conclude, we may offer high performing consultants the option to apply for permanent positions. Permanent appointments will be to separate, substantive roles.
Security clearance
Resources may be required to undergo DBS checks.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All IPR created in the course of contract and SOW delivery shall be retained by NHS Improvement.

Additional special terms may be required to administer transition of junior consultant resource to permanent NHS employment (where required). These shall be discussed at proposal stage, following shortlisting.

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 a track record in provision of high quality Junior staff trained and proficient in several/all of the areas referenced in the 'Problem to be solved' field above. (30 Points)
  • Demonstrate a breadth and depth of technical training undertaken by consultants, in advance of joining the client. (20 Points)
  • Demonstrate a breadth and depth of soft skill training for business environments, undertaken by consultants, in advance of joining the client. (20 Points)
  • Demonstrate how the training is continuously improved and kept up to date. (10 Points)
  • Demonstrate an ability to tailor training to the needs of clients, including client specific technologies & disciplines, in advance of joining the client (20 Points)
  • Demonstrate an ability to react to client requirements and changes in the level of demand at short notice, e.g. a need to ramp up resources. (20 Points)
  • Demonstrate suitable training facilities (academy/programme) to develop consultants in line with our summary requirements. (20 Points)
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • What is your approach and methodology to meeting our requirements and challenges. (30 points).
  • What is your team structure and resources to support your solution. (20 points)
  • Consultant assessment and selection on to your development programme/academy. (20 points)
  • Consultant training processes and facilities to develop and make available high calibre candidates, to meet client requirements. (20 points)
  • Your approach to transitioning consultants to NHS employment post/during placements, where required. (20 points)
  • Established processes and systems to positively resolve issues that may arise with the junior consultants provided to clients. (10 Points)
  • Identification of risks and dependencies and proposed mitigations to manage them. (10 points)
  • What lessons have been learned from similar engagements and how will you apply these to this requirement and setting. (10 points)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers. (10 points).
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes. (10 points).
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

The business case is pending external approval from DHSC. Any contract award is subject to approval being received.
Please note the Suppliers' briefing meeting will take place on Wednesday 13 February at 16:30 and NOT 11 February. The 11 February date was published in error.
3. What is the anticipated profile of resources required over the period? Appreciate you want flexibility but some idea of scale and intent would be useful.
One to two Junior consultants per project with up to 18 projects over 2 years on our known schedule. The outcomes delivered by junior consultants will be commissioned by Statement of Works, agreed with the Supplier.
4. Do you require the successful Supplier to offer all the roles indicated under the “Problem to be solved” heading?
Ideally yes, however we are prepared to accept only most of these being covered, provided the disciplines are covered to a very high standard.
5. Are all of the resources required to be specialist or multi skilled?
Our delivery teams are a blend of internal staff and Supplier provided resource.
Specialist disciplines (rather than multi-skilled digital resources) are anticipated to make up the bulk of this requirement, although we recognise these won’t have significant experience.
6. What is the number of resources anticipated?
One to two Junior consultants per project with up to 18 projects over 2 years on our known schedule. The outcomes delivered by Junior Consultants will be commissioned by Statement of Works.
7. What is the current mix for Supplier deployed resources?
We have approximately 40 permanent staff in Tech & Data with approximately 60 external resources (including offshore), primarily deployed on output-based agreements.
8. What is the volume of each specialism?
The number of resources required against each specialism will vary depending on the project with Software Engineering, Quality Assurance, DevOps Engineering & Business Analysis comprising the bulk of anticipated requirements.
9. Will Technicians started as cohorts?
We anticipate junior consultants will be required in small numbers or individually depending on the phase(s) of projects in-flow.
10. What are the Technical Stacks
• SQL Server, APS, Azure DW, Cosmos DB, SSRS, SSIS
• .NET, .NET Core, C#, R, Python, Javascript, ReactJS, AngularJS, Powerchell
• Selenium, JMeter
• Azure Technologies (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), APIManager, Data Factory, VSTS, ARM Templates…
• Alteryx, Tableau
Other miscellaneous OTS technologies to build and deliver systems and applications such as Data Access Catalogues, Data Virtualisation and Automation pipelines
11. What are the transition to permanent timescales?
We don’t anticipate transition (subject to a recruitment process) earlier than 12 months and is most likely to be 18 months plus. We don’t anticipate a charge should the junior consultants have been Suppliers’ staff for 24 months.

The commercial model seeks a range of transition fees (fixed fee preferred to % of salary) for 12-24 months.

Junior consultants may have spent time with other clients (e.g. 18 months with us & 6 months elsewhere puts the transfer fee in the 24-month bracket).

Junior Consultants are expected to apply for roles advertised, alongside other potential applicants.
12. Is the procurement process timeline flexible?
For your proposal to be considered, you need to commit to being available to commence the initiative (i.e. attend a kick off meeting / site visit) on 8 April 2019. Whilst we don’t anticipate slippage in the timeline, we reserve the right to amend it on reasonable notice, e.g. to accommodate arrangements for a site visit (to see any academy/programme infrastructure), post identification of the preferred bidder.
13. Will the teams be based in London
The home base is central London. There may be some involvement at NHS Improvement sites around England.
14. Is Price broken down into scoring elements?
Price is scored as an inverse percentage calculation where the lowest cost scores the maximum percentage and higher costs are proportioned according.
The 40% price element shall be split as follows
30% - rates (we reserve the right to split further at proposal stage, e.g. smaller percentage evaluations by role).
10% - transition fee (we expect to split this further across at proposal stage, across a 12-24 month transition range).
15. Please can briefing session materials be published.
The DOS portal does not permit attachments. Should you require a copy of the materials please include your contact details in your question.