Awarded to Hippo Digital Limited

Start date: Monday 20 May 2019
Value: £1,115,400
Company size: SME
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE)

STA Digital Assessment Platform Service (Beta)

4 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 1 large

6 Completed applications

4 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Friday 15 February 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 22 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 1 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Complete remaining development work, Item bank submission/administration, Test creation service/administration, Pupil registration, Test authorisation/delivery services Marking/Validation, Reporting services, User administration, Self-service, Audit, Maladministration. Ensure system security, prepared for penetration tests. Provide knowledge handover when service is reprocured. Create proof of concept for platform delivering multiple assessments.
Latest start date
Monday 15 April 2019
Expected contract length
18 months
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE)
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The ultimate aim of the STA Digital Assessment Platform (DAP) service is to provide one place for both internal users to undertake research on, develop, deliver and access results data, and, external users to access, participate in and then receive results on digital enabled national primary-school age pupil assessments. Internal users include STA staff. External users will include headteachers, school administrators, teachers and of course pupils. Due to the challenges involved this vision is expected to take at least 10 years to achieve, with the intention being to further reduce the burden on schools and STA.
Problem to be solved
STA’s long term goal is to develop a digitally enabled assessment platform on which all digital assessments can be developed, and live assessments accessed and taken by pupils. Initial development will focus on developing a platform to host the digitised version of the reception baseline assessment (RBA) and the multiplication tables check(MTC). Current plan is to have a fully tested and operational functional platform in place September 2022. The platform will also be used for paper-based tests as well as digitally delivered tests.
Who the users are and what they need to do
STA need a service which can be used to collate and cleanse registered pupil data, receive reliable assessment data from schools; input assessment content; verify registrations; mark assessments; download data; return results.
Schools need a service that is reliable, easy-to-use and reduces work-burden; ability to register pupils; provides for the timely and secure administration of assessments; returns data and statutory declarations securely to STA at the end of each assessment cycle; and to receive results data.
Pupils need a service which hosts an easy-to-use, engaging, accessible, reliable assessment, where the digital element does not affect their ability to be assessed.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Technical feasibility - prove a platform approach would work for multiple primary school age pupil assessments
Investigate which technology capabilities are suited to build re-use or to buy
User research to explore and validate service design of multiple digital assessment user journeys (initially those for the exisiting Multiplication Tables Check and Reception Baseline Assessment)
Create proof of concepts (POC)/development spikes to de-risk the technical challenges of building a platform (micro-service architecture, event-driven architecture, reusability, service integration)
Existing team
You will be working with a small STA team including User Researcher and Business Analyst and in parallel with another supplier (working on a dependent product) consisting of Delivery Manager, Senior Technical Architect / Lead developer, Senior Content Designer, Senior Business Analyst, Service / Experience Design / User Interaction, Lead Business Analyst and Senior Research Specialist. Also working alongside another associated project
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Coventry, West Midlands
Working arrangements
Co-located with the team in Coventry to maximise opportunity for engagement with DfE users and stakeholders. Travel to other DfE sites and schools to meet users is expected but must be in line with the DfE travel & subsistence policy. Expenses must be included in the contract sum, there will be no separate budget for expenses. 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. There is some flexibility for remote arrangements.
Security clearance
The team will need BPSS as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
DfE shall have the right to terminate the Contract at any time, by giving 28 days written notice to the Supplier, and DfE's liability thereto shall be limited to costs reasonably incurred by the Supplier up until the termination date only. Suppliers must confirm acceptance of this term.
All IPRs (as defined) in the Project-Specific IPRs and the Deliverables shall vest in the Buyer unconditionally and immediately upon their creation. The Supplier shall procure all necessary permissions or licence from relevant third parties as necessary to allow the Buyer to receive the Services and use the Deliverables.

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
  • Have experience in delivering similar solutions in cloud -based environments and understand the security and management of cloud components.
  • Proven experience delivering projects using the agile project management methodology.
  • Proven track record of delivering projects at speed with clearly identified deliverables and timescales.
  • Demonstrable evidence of excellent planning, coordination, communication and project management skills.
  • Demonstrable evidence of incorporating latest technologies to enhance product specifications, resulting in increased functionality and improved user experience.
  • Demonstrable evidence of a robust risk management process, including risk identification, mitigations and governance.
  • Demonstrate understanding and ability to deliver digital services/products to the Government Digital Service standards.
  • Have experience of delivering high quality content and information architecture design for complex user journeys across multiple touchpoints that meets user needs.
  • Demonstrate experience of designing digital assessment services.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of managing, proactively engaging diverse range of internal/ external (public sector) stakeholders, building relationships to support digital transformation, the efficient and effective delivery of digitally enabled public services.
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering national services for UK government departments and/or public bodies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the English state schools/statutory education sector.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence that your proposed approach and methodology for delivery will successfully deliver a proof of concept to meet user needs and meet specified acceptance criteria.
  • Proposed supplier team structure, with evidence to demonstrate a strong team and how their skills and experience will deliver the required outcomes.
  • Evidence that the supplier has an appreciation of the education and educational technology policy landscape and that the proposal is relevant to that context.
  • Evidence of how the proposal represents excellent value for money / best value.
  • Demonstration of ability to work with multi-disciplinary DfE/STA in-house teams with limited technical and Agile-project management expertise.
  • Evidence of the required technical capabilities to provide immediate impact.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstration of a proactive approach, taking responsibility for work and resolving issues quickly, without an over reliance on the client team.
  • Demonstration of working in a transparent and collaborative way within a DfE working environment; including expertise of Agile methodology, and products such as VSO, Slack and Zoom.
  • Demonstration of an understanding of DfE’s need to deliver the best value for money solution.
  • Demonstration of ability to work in a modern digital ways within DfE and GDS formal procedures and policies.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would DfE look at a pre-built product over pure development?
STA are open to either pre built or pure development both options would be considered as long as it meets requirements.
2. What programme language preference does DfE have, Java, CSS etc?
.net is the preferred framework, as it's Microsoft technology and works well with Azure.
3. What programme language preference does DfE have, Java, CSS etc?
.net is the preferred framework, as it's Microsoft technology and works well with Azure.
4. Could you please provide the name of the supplier/suppliers who delivered previous phases?
Hippo Digital completed the Discovery which was joint Reception Baseline Assessment /Assessment Service. Hippo Digital are also the supplier for the two Alphas Reception Baseline Assessment /Assessment Service Platform.
5. Please can you provide details of what the next steps are following this initial application i.e. deadlines for the written proposal/if there will be an interview and when?
As published in the requirements, the assessment methods will be Written Proposal and Presentation, shortlisted suppliers will be informed of deadlines when notified of shortlisting outcome.
6. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
Evaluators for this project will be provided with consistent, robust guidance which will include the requirements
7. Are you working with any existing suppliers in relation to this tender opportunity? If you are, who are they?
8. You mention that the working arrangements are “Co-located with the team in Coventry to maximise opportunity for engagement with DfE users and stakeholders”. How many days a week do you expect the successful supplier to be on-site? Whilst being on-site is essential for some activities (eg workshops, certain user tests, key stakeholder events, etc.) many delivery activities can be carried out off-site and would help provide value for money.
The Team will be based on site in Coventry to maximise opportunity for engagement with DfE users and stakeholders.