Department for Education

National Retraining Scheme Service - Get Help to Retrain private Beta

Incomplete applications

9
Incomplete applications
5 SME, 4 large

Completed applications

15
Completed applications
13 SME, 2 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Monday 11 March 2019
Deadline for asking questions Monday 18 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Monday 25 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work A production ready end to end GDS/DFE compliant digital service for 'Get Help To Retrain' including for example the design and build of a public facing digital (web based) application that meets user needs and is secure and scalable, iteration of the service, user research and digital and IT support.
Latest start date Wednesday 1 May 2019
Expected contract length 9 months
Location London
Organisation the work is for Department for Education
Budget range Range between £1.5 - 2 million including VAT.
Bidders must fully detail their resources and charges at the proposal stage.
Travel and subsistence, along with any research costs, should be included in the proposal.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done The Department, delivering on a Government Manifesto commitment, is developing a National Retraining Scheme (NRS) service. Automation and longer working lives will require individuals to redirect their careers and secure the higher-paid, higher-skilled jobs of the future. But people in low and medium skilled jobs are least resiliant to these changes. The NRS will drive adult learning and retraining in England and must be live by the end of this Parliament. The Get Help to Retrain private Beta service will open some elements of the Scheme to the invited public in 2019.
Problem to be solved Users struggle to navigate a complex careers advice and training landscape; to identify a better job for them; the actions they need to take to get it; and staying motivated across a long and challenging user journey.
The Get Help to Retrain product will provide an optimised route for users to understand their skills, view relevant job profiles, local LMI and vacancies, and access appropriate training and support.
The service will need to be developed in a way to both integrate with and test offline support systems, drawing on and integrating with existing government assets (data, content etc.) where appropriate.
Who the users are and what they need to do Adults aged 24+, without degrees, in jobs at risk due to automation.
*I need to understand how to get a new job, so that I don't become unemployed or get a job I don't want.
*I need to understand what skills & experience a job role needs, so that I can decide to go for it.

We are also working with employers and careers advisors.  
*As a careers advisor, I need relevant information & tools so that i can support citizens.
*As an employer, I need to hire someone so that I have the right person for this job role.
Early market engagement We are holding a 1hour supplier engagement skype meeting call on Thursday 14 March from 13.00 – 14.00.
This will provide further information about the listing, and provide the opportunity for suppliers to ask questions and seek clarification.
Details of how to join the event:
Join by phone:
Dial 02033215238
Conference ID: 15612199

If you would like to receive a copy of the presentation prior to the call please email request to:
Kay.Stacey@education.gov.uk

When you join the call please do not announce your company name. Similarly do not announce your company name during the Q & A.
All questions and answers will be posted on the digital marketplace which can be viewed by all suppliers
Any work that’s already been done Two discovery projects and an alpha phase completed.

Discovery 1: looked at online training (now out of scope), and the needs of users. It discovered that a link to a job is the key motivator for adults to retrain.

Discovery 2: looked at the needs of hiring employers, and 'high need' users (including assisted digital). It helped us refine our service map.

Alpha: we have a worked up iterated prototype of the service; user story map to inform the backlog; data model; architectural model and guide to necessary back office and offline functions.
Existing team The Service Delivery Team will include 2 - 5 DfE staff, experienced in policy development and delivery, including stakeholder engagement, but with limited experience in digital/agile methodologies. The product owners are provided by DfE.

There will also be a senior programme level service leadership team, which will be a mixture of permanent DfE staff, and contractors experienced in shipping services using agile methodologies.

Briefing pack will be provided to successful suppliers at conclusion of first stage sift.
Current phase Alpha

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Department for Education, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London. Co-locating with existing DfE teams. Some limited travel to other DfE sites, and to meet users, will be required.
Working arrangements The teams should work according to agile methodology, in line with the GDS Service Manual and Digital Service Standards.
The supplier should primarily be co-located onsite with the existing team in DfEs London Offices. We work Mon-Fri with usual office hours. Occasional travel to other parts of the UK is expected for user research and testing.  
The supplier will be a role model in agile working.  They will need to work collaboratively and invest time in knowledge sharing and coaching to increase DfE capability.
Security clearance Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance is required for all team members.  This will need to be in place before the start of beta.  We will consider suppliers without security clearance and provide support to gain clearance.  The supplier will also need to be compliant with DfE's Departmental Security Standards.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions All expenses should comply with DfE Travel & Subsistence Policy, which will be provided at the proposal stage of the process. All expenses, travel and user research incentives must be included in the contract price.

All title to and all rights and interest in the IPR’s in the Services delivered by the Supplier for the Customer under this Call-Off Contract (or by a third party on behalf of the Supplier), and all updates and amendments of these items, shall vest in the Customer unconditionally and immediately upon their creation.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Ability to take alpha outputs and build on these to deliver a private/public beta service that meets user needs and strategic objectives.
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering a private beta service that is compliant with GOV.UK design patterns and the government digital service standard.
  • Demonstrable experience of meeting the standards of a private beta government digital service assessment, including using agile methodology develop a service iteratively, based on user research
  • Recent (within the last 3 years) and demonstrable in-depth experience of evolving the most appropriate solution/data/technical architecture, to successfully meet users needs.
  • Evidence of designing technical solutions which can fully integrate across different environments and technologies, including with other government services which themselves are being iterated.
  • Evidence of implementing data target and transition architectures for transformation and operational projects.
  • Evidence of designing futureproofed technical solutions that manage data storage safely and effectively, including controlling access to data and managing risks around potential hostile actors.
  • Demonstrable experience of integrating digital and offline support services.
  • Demonstrable experience of recruiting user research participants including users with accessibility and assisted digital needs.
  • Significant experience of conducting user research and usability testing sessions (on a range of devices, face to face and remote) based on robust methodology and especially with assisted digital users.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of successfully working with in-house teams with limited agile experience and sharing knowledge, coaching, mentoring and upskilling to develop in-house team and other supplier capability.
  • Demonstrable experience of producing engaging content that meets user needs.
  • Expertise developing scalable services using public cloud technologies, service-oriented architecture, micro services, security and integration.
  • Cyber Essentials
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable experience of managing and pro-actively engaging internal stakeholders across multiple digital projects and building relationships to support wider digital transformation.
  • Demonstrable evidence of working successfully with users in the skills and employment systems.
  • Ability to communicate progress effectively to engage a wide set of users across government audiences, including senior level stakeholders, in key meetings.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution - how you will deliver a private beta service that is compliant with GOV.UK design patterns and the government digital service standard and assessments.
  • Approach and methodology - evidence of a solid understanding of agile, iterative, user-centred delivery and how this will be applied to deliver this service in the required timescales.
  • Meets user needs - evidence of working to deliver a private beta service which will meet user needs.
  • Meets organisation's policy or goal - evidence of designing and delivering a private beta service which will align with policy intent.
  • Estimated time frames for the work - demonstrate how work will be organised and how the approach will achieve value for money.
  • Risks and dependencies - evidence of an effective approach to identifying and managing risk and dependencies within the programme to ensure timely delivery.
  • Team structure - evidence of effective working in a multi-disciplinary agile team within Government.
  • Value for money - evidence that the supplier has applied a transparent financial structure and fair pricing for the service.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Evidence of working collaboratively with policy colleagues new to agile ways of working to increase internal knowledge and skills and support wider stakeholder engagement.
  • Evidence of how supplier will on-board team members during beta to ensure no impact to delivery and quickly understand user needs to maintain continuity between alpha and beta.
  • Evidence of working in a complex political and delivery environment.
  • Experience of working with a cross-site policy and delivery team, and adapting agile ways of working to meet the needs of a dispersed team.
  • Experience of successfully working collaboratively as part of a mixed supplier-client delivery team sharing knowledge within the team.
  • Evidence of working collaboratively and openly to make effective decisions.
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

70%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Please would you clarify what information you are seeking in answer to the Cyber Essentials question? Any Government digital service has to be delivered in accordance with the following cloud security principles:
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/cloud-security?curPage=/collection/cloud-security/implementing-the-cloud-security-principles
Therefore, we would seek evidence that your approach to delivering a digital service meets those principles.
2. Has there been an incumbent supplier working on this project to date? There has been a consortium of suppliers working with the department on two discoveries (led by eSynergy solutions) and an alpha (led by Farsight Consulting).
3. Do you expect the winning bid to include provision for careers advisors or will you procure those separately? Careers advisors will be the subject of a separate procurement.
4. What specialisms do the contractors in the senior team who are experienced in shipping Digital services have? E.g. Technical Architecture? Service Design? User Research? The specific roles are:
o Lead Technical Architect
o Lead Dev Ops
o Lead Service Designer
These specific roles will be based in London and will provide leadership in their respective areas of expertise and support the service design team.
5. Were the two discovery projects and Alpha undertaken in-house or by an incumbent supplier? There has been a consortium of suppliers working with the department on two discoveries (led by eSynergy solutions) and an alpha (led by Farsight Consulting).
6. Can you say more about what IT support you expect the supplier to provide? Is this end-user support e.g. through phone or email or more DevOps style support or both? We would expect the supplier to provide dev ops and end user support throughout the private beta.
7. Is it correct that we should factor-in costs for user research participant recruitment? Do you envisage doing any user research participant recruitment yourselves? Can you say more about the costs you incurred in Discovery and Alpha to give us an idea of what to quote? The costs of user research participant recruitment should be factored in to your proposal.
We reserve the right to utilise channels available to the Department to open up sources of potential participants, without taking on full responsibility.
We cannot disclose costs incurred in Discovery and Alpha, but would accept a quote per head for user recruitment.
8. Have you selected a technology stack on which to build the service or are you open to our suggestions? During Alpha we have created a prototype that the service owners believe provides a good reflection of the user needs collected from the Alpha user research. Based on this and taking the common DFE digital technology stack into consideration a conceptual design has been produced. We would, therefore, want to build on the work done in the Alpha phase but remain agile, however, if there is good justifiable technical and economic reasons to deviate then we would be open to discussions on this.
9. Do you require the successful supplier to provide assisted digital services or will this be handled e.g. through your careers advisers? Assisted digital will be provided by our career advisors. However, we would expect the supplier to be able to work with our advisors to incorporate them as part of a coherent user journey.
10. You state Cyber Essentials as an essential requirement. Is it not the case that this service will be developed and delivered on DfE infrastructure and equipment? We expect the service to be delivered on DfE infrastructure and equipment.
Any Government digital service has to be delivered in accordance with the following cloud security principles:
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/cloud-security?curPage=/collection/cloud-security/implementing-the-cloud-security-principles
Therefore, we would seek evidence that your approach to delivering a digital service meets those principles.
11. Can we have a link to access the presentation for today's supplier call? Link below:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/16tTldTJ9Djfr_qVB6DZ3n0FXfQ8VwbqhY87LVIBd2nQ/edit?usp=sharing
12. Will you tender separately for the public Beta phase of this work? If so, under what conditions will you make such a tender? Is it possible you would do so before the 9 months of the contract has ended? Final decisions have not yet been taken regarding the timing of the competition and/or the route to market.
13. In the proposal, is a rate card with day rates sufficient detail for charges for people’s time? We will require fully worked costings based on team configuration, breakdown and sequencing of work being undertaken across roles, days required and rates.
14. In your existing team do you have any Digital Specialists or should we assume we will have to provide all Digital Specialists on the delivery team? We currently have a Civil Servant product manager in role on Team and an open recruitment for permanent Civil Servant digital specialists, including delivery managers, product managers, user researchers and business analysts. We hope to fill a number of these roles on Team with civil servants and we will need the flexibility to utilise up to 5 civil servant staff, in the above roles, at any point in the programme.

However, for the purposes of costing your proposal, suppliers should assume they are providing all necessary digital specialists to deliver the private beta for the Get Help to Retrain product.
15. Can you say more about? “Evidence of implementing data target and transition architectures for transformation and operational projects.” What sort of evidence are you looking for beyond prior experience building Beta and Live Government services to the Service Standard? We are looking for evidence of building successful digital services that are robust, secure, can meet the demands of high transactional throughput, are well engineered, scalable, give a great user experience to all user groups, are fully accessible and above all meet user needs. All Govt. digital services have to meet the digital service standard provided by GDS.
16. Does DfE have a preferred development toolset for delivery of the service e.g. Ruby or.Net? DFE’s preferred technology stack for digital services is as follows:
1. Ruby on Rails
2. Node.js
3. .Net C#
17. You have said you will have a Lead Service Designer and a Lead Dev Ops Engineer. Will we have to provide a service designer and Dev Ops engineer as part of our delivery team or can we assume that your Leads will be hands-on and fulfilling those roles at team level, or will they be purely advisory roles? There will be a separately procured senior team who will provide leadership across the entire National Retraining Scheme Programme and will include the following Digital Specialists:
• Lead Technical Architect
• Lead Dev Ops
• Lead Service Designer
These roles will not undertake product Delivery Team level work.

For the purposes of your proposal, suppliers should assume they are providing all necessary digital specialists to deliver the private beta for the Get Help to Retrain product.
18. Are DfE looking to create this service from scratch or are DfE looking to leverage a Vendor Platform and config over code approach. The work done in alpha on the conceptual design lends itself to creating this service from scratch using a micro service architecture in Ruby/Node/.Net. for example. We want to maintain an agile approach so this is not set in stone. However, we would be unlikely to support a vendor platform with config. over a code approach.
19. Thank you for your answers to question 1 and 10. However, CyberEssentials is a more appropriate standard for the business building a service rather than the service delivery and hosting itself, separate standards and guidance apply for service construction and hosting. Can you clarify please? Yes separate standards apply for construction and hosting.
20. You have said that DfE will supply product owners and that DfE also requires coaching. Is this coaching needed for Product Owners, and if so, should we add an experienced Product Owner to our team to help with delivery but also act as a Product Owner coach? We expect to provide a Civil Servant product owner for the Get Help to Retrain private beta service and do not anticipate a further experienced product owner will be required at Team level for the purposes you outline.

Within our existing Senior Programme level Leadership Team we have Civil Servants in Service Owner and Senior Product Owner roles.

We would expect all digital specialists provided by suppliers to be involved in knowledge sharing and coaching to increase DfE and other supplier capability.
21. You have stated a Wednesday as the latest start date. That's a little unusual in my experience. Is there any specific project constraint that would prevent you starting, say, on the 29th April – a Monday? No. We will work with the successful supplier to agree a specific start date on conclusion of all formalities. But this cannot be later than 1 May.
22. 10% of the evaluation is weighted towards cultural fit – please could you define how this is assessed. The assessment and scoring process is detailed in the guidance published on the Digital Marketplace.
Link below:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-score-digital-outcomes-and-specialists-suppliers
23. Can we have a link to access a transcript of yesterdays supplier call Q&A session? Link below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BrquVG7v2UgulEHbbG3qKYk1sIFkDzpZwz-lxtqcMIM/edit?ts=5c8b8bde
24. Does the Department consider this work to be inside or outside of the scope of IR35? Procurement through the digital marketplace DOS framework that is outcome based fall out of scope for IR35.
25. The requirements state that the assessment methods are written proposal, case study and presentation. Please could you give a detailed breakdown of the requirements for these methods and the criteria against which they'll be judged so that we are able to adequately prepare should we be successful in the initial phase. Suppliers should refer to the evaluation criteria detailed in the specification published on the Digital Marketplace.

The assessment and scoring process is detailed in the guidance published on the Digital Marketplace.

Link below:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-score-digital-outcomes-and-specialists-suppliers

A briefing pack will be provided to successful suppliers at conclusion of first stage sift.
26. Do you expect there to be in-person (or remote) supplier presentations by shortlisted suppliers? We expect supplier presentations to be in person.
27. You say: Evidence of designing technical solutions which can fully integrate across different environments and technologies, *including with other government services which themselves are being iterated*. – is this private beta dependent on work done by other government teams and if so could your beta be affected (negatively) by work going on in those teams (or at stakeholder level)? How are you co-ordinating work with other government services? From the work done in alpha, our starting assumption for private beta is that it will incorporate data and elements of business logic from other teams in government.

The teams we want to integrate with have relatively mature, stable products which are periodically iterated as part of continuous improvement.

We have joint senior level governance arrangements with key partner teams to ensure joined up delivery.
28. Should we assume that the architecture put in place for the private beta will be scaled and built upon for the public beta? Yes, we assume we will build on the same architecture for public beta unless a very good reason emerges to change it.
29. Can you say more about "The supplier will also need to be compliant with DfE's Departmental Security Standards." – what are these over and above BPSS? Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance is required for all team members.

All contractors/consultants engaged in departmental business must adhere to DfE Security Policies and Guidance. These will be shared with the successful supplier.
30. Can suppliers bid for both this procurement and roles in the senior team? Suppliers are able to apply for both this procurement and roles in the senior team. Suppliers should note that the department adopts a risk based approach to all procurements. Regarding this procurement we advise that, the Department reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to exclude any bid if the prime bidder or a supplier in its supply chain is delivering any service, in full or in part, to the National Retraining Scheme or any other departmental delivery. This extends to any winning bidder who must declare in full throughout the contract delivery period the nature of its supply chain.
31. Can you provide more information of what materials you will give shortlisted suppliers to prepare their proposals? Will there be an opportunity for shortlisted suppliers to ask you further questions ahead of submitting their proposal. A briefing pack will be provided to successful suppliers at conclusion of first stage sift.

We will deal with further questions in accordance with the published guidance on the Digital Marketplace. Link below:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-evaluate-digital-outcomes-and-specialists-suppliers
32. We would like to understand the success criteria/KPIs for the private Beta phase A briefing pack will be provided to successful suppliers at conclusion of first stage sift.