Education and Skills Funding Agency

National Careers Service Digital Developments

Incomplete applications

9
Incomplete applications
6 SME, 3 large

Completed applications

16
Completed applications
10 SME, 6 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 12 April 2019
Deadline for asking questions Friday 19 April 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 26 April 2019 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work One or more suppliers to provide digital development services for the National Careers Service.

This should be able to develop digital products through discovery, alpha and beta phases in order to handover to the live digital service team in a way that supports knowledge transfer and is sustainable.
Latest start date Monday 3 June 2019
Expected contract length 2 years
Location West Midlands
Organisation the work is for Education and Skills Funding Agency
Budget range Approximately 8.2 million over two years and across multiple suppliers

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done The National Careers Service is implementing a new operating model based on investments in design and digital tool developments to enable more customers to self-serve.

As the programme has developed it has become clear that further work is needed, both to complete the programme and to accommodate the growing backlog of developments, beyond the programme.

A supporting service, the course directory service, is undergoing a digital development and this work needs to be completed. This serves not only the National Careers Service, but also the Apprenticeship Service and third parties via open data.
Problem to be solved Ongoing digital developments need to be completed.

New product developments need to be subject to discoveries and possibly taken through to alpha and beta phases.

All digital products need to be compliant with end to end service design requirements, data and technical standards that are in place (and continuing to develop) within the National Careers Service.

All digital products need to be able to be handed over to a live support team and be sustainable and supportable.

We may also need to supplement the live support team in their ability to provide continuous improvement services over an expanding digital service.
Who the users are and what they need to do As an English citizen (aged 13+) requiring careers advice, I need to:
- Consume accurate and up to date information so that I can make informed career decisions, improving my future economic prospects
- Manage my career effectively, so that I improve my social/economic circumstances

As a careers adviser I need to:
- Have effective careers information/tools so that I can help citizens improve their social and economic circumstances

As a course provider I need to:
- Publish courses which citizens use to develop their skills, so that their social and economic circumstances improve
Early market engagement No, we have current suppliers who can meet our needs, but the contracts are being exhausted.
Any work that’s already been done After significant work on understanding user needs, we developed a service design and Target Operating Model to inform digital development.

Product development comprises three teams working on the digital service. One of those teams is effectively managing the live service including a migration from direct-gov to a service domain. One team is delivering a service for citizens to discover their skills and careers and another team is delivering a replacement course directory service for FE and apprenticeship training providers to upload their courses / training provision.

This work needs to be completed. All developments are in beta stages or live.
Existing team Currently we have:

- a BAU / live service team;
- a discover your skills and careers team in private beta;
- a course directory team in private beta;
- a data sharing team in live service;
- a team preparing for alpha work in future access
- a service design team maintaining the target operating model and experience maps and data standards

These are teams rich in contractors sourced from different service providers, but there is a process to increase permanent staff across the teams.
Current phase Beta

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Cheylesmore House
Quinton Road
Coventry
CV1 2WT
Working arrangements The team is to be co-located with other digital teams on-site in Coventry.

There is also data that needs to be shared across different parts of the customer journey.

There is a weekly scrum of scrums to coordinate dependencies. Products have to be constructed on the same azure/ sitefinity platform as the wider digital service and supported by a common DevOps team.
Security clearance BPSS and you will be expected to provide evidence of this

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Standard DOS framework and call-off terms and conditions.

Day rates should be inclusive of any costs of travelling to and working from the base location. The cost of travel to other locations while performing ESFA work must be pre-approved by the project manager and will be covered as per the ESFA travel and subsistence policy and will need to be invoiced by the supplier with supporting receipts.

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
  • Provide a multidisciplinary complete team able to run a digital development through to completion
  • Evidence of successful assessment by GDS (or equivalent departmental assessment)
  • Be able to mobilise a team to work in Coventry within 2 weeks of contract award
  • Full understanding and demonstrable experience in planning and running a discovery, alpha and beta development
  • Ability to work with third party teams working for the same overall service to the same customers
  • Provision of, or willingness to subcontract, subject matter expertise in relevant disciplines related to careers services
  • Ability and experience in agile working
  • Experience of compliance with the government Technology Code of Practice
  • Knowledge / experience of working with .NET Framework, Core and Standard and Azure PaaS Services
  • Knowledge and experience working with IoC and dependency injection and MVC, MVVM and Composite UI
  • Knowledge and experience working with CosmosDB and SQL Server and WebAPI, Open API specification and REST
  • Knowledge and experience working with Azure Serverless functions and App services and Integration patterns such as ESB, messaging, pub/sub, observer patterns
  • Knowledge and experience working with Unit testing, TDD, BDD and OWASP Zap and HTML, CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript
  • Knowledge and experience working with Authentication mechanisms such as OAuth2 and OIDC
  • Knowledge and experience working with PowerShell and JMeter
  • Knowledge and experience working with Browserstack and Selenium
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Strong understanding of the Government Digital Service's design principles and digital service standard
  • Ability to scale services up or down at short notice as requirements shift
  • Knowledge and experience of working with DevOps functions
  • Knowledge and experience of working with Azure search and Cognitive Services
  • Knowledge and experience of working with Sitefinity CMS
  • Knowledge and experience of working with GDS prototyping tools

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence of success in GDS assessments or confirmation of understanding and ability to do so
  • Evidence of successful agile working
  • Evidence of sharing developments and findings with wider colleagues and other supplier teams
  • Evidence of effective working with third party teams delivering related services and how dependencies were (or should be) managed
  • Evidence of working with technology standards and data standards already in place across a wider service.
  • Evidence of working with a specialist subcontractor providing specialist skills
  • Price (will be based on an illustrative proposed team rates and specified phases of work)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers, fully participating in scrum of scrum events
  • To set up teams that incorporate specified staff as required by the buyer (whether permanent or from another contractor)
  • Share knowledge and experience with other teams
  • Share progress, findings and developments with other teams (including other suppliers) via show and tell presentations
Payment approach Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. What do you mean by "we have current suppliers who can meet our needs, but the contracts are being exhausted"? We have supply contracts that are close to reaching their maximum value.  Once the maximum value has been reached, we will no longer be able to call upon services from such contracts, hence the need to procure new services.
2. Do you mean they do not have enough capacity or, their contracts have reached their limits (cost or time) so need to be tendered? We have supply contracts that are close to reaching their maximum value.  Once the maximum value has been reached, we will no longer be able to call upon services from such contracts, hence the need to procure new services.
3. Please would you confirm which suppliers you are currently using? No we cannot confirm which suppliers we are currently using.
4. How many suppliers are you looking to appoint? The implication appears to be that you want more than one? We are looking to appoint one or more suppliers depending on the quality of the response.  We need at least one supplier, but would consider appointing two or possibly three suppliers.
5. Whilst we understand the current contract value has expired, subject to agreement of new budget could the existing team be retained and if so would this be via a newly appointed single or dual Suppliers ? Or through their existing Suppliers? One or more new contracts may be awarded to the suppliers who submit successful bids following this competition
6. Based on the variety of skills you have listed we would be putting together a new team to fulfil the required skill set. The team would not have had previous experience of working together although could be managed by a Team Lead. Is this an option you would consider or do you require evidence of an existing team providing these skills on a digital project? This is an option we would consider.  We require evidence of the capabilities and the ability to deliver digital projects.
7. Who would be responsible for managing the team would it be the Supplier or the ESFA? Currently there is a ESFA delivery manager in place for the main team under this contract. This is not always going to be the case, as future work may require the supplier to plan and run the whole team, including management.
8. What proportion of the 2 year budget is required to complete the rollout of services in development versus new services that are subject to definition and discovery? It is anticipated that 20% of the budget is required to complete the rollout of services in development.
9. How large a part does sitefinity play in the new ecosystem of products and services being developed? It is anticipated that the role of Sitefinity will diminish from its current role to one where the role is limited to purely CMS.
10. Do you require a supplier to provide resources that will compliment and work as part of your existing agile teams, entire self managed agile teams, or both? Both.  We anticipate commissioning self managed agile teams (or at least substantially as such).  We will also need to supplement existing teams from time to time.
11. Do you require resources with skills in areas other than tech? We anticipate requiring specialist resources where appropriate, hence the willingness to subcontract specialist services.  Careers is a specialist area and currently there are digital teams that incorporate specialist skills in qualified careers advice services or occupational psychology.  Depending on future areas of work, there may be a need further non-tech specialist input.
12. Is the requirement for resources only ie to provide a multi disciplinary team only?
Have the IT products / software required for the services already been selected?
Yes, we are after teams to deliver digital outcomes and the technology stack is now selected.
13. The base location is Coventry, can we have teams working remotely, if so how often? We expect the team to be co-located in Coventry. We recognise that some work may require more concentration than is possible in a shared environment and so where the nature of the work demands, it may be necessary from time to time for some individuals to work remotely, but we expect that to be kept to a minimum and for the team to be represented on site at all times.

There are some regular events, such as show and tells where active local participation is mandated.
14. Would you allow Scrum meetings weekly or bi-weekly from a remote location? We expect the team to be co-located in Coventry. We recognise that some work may require more concentration than is possible in a shared environment and so where the nature of the work demands, it may be necessary from time to time for some individuals to work remotely, but we expect that to be kept to a minimum and for the team to be represented on site at all times.

There are some regular events, such as show and tells where active local participation is mandated.
15. Does TUPE apply to this contract? It is the responsibility of each bidder to seek their own counsel as to whether TUPE applies.
16. Could you please share any discovery and alpha reports and assessments for this service? Some of the planned work will commence at discovery stage, so there is nothing yet available for sharing. There is currently activity in a private beta phase, so we have completed a discovery and an internal assessment at the end of the alpha stage.

We do not want to share the reports, but can share some of the main conclusions
17. Could you please share discovery outcomes for this service? Course Directory discovery key findings:
• Providers have significant pain points in relation to the burden/ usability of the technology for collecting course data (current service does not meet their user needs);
• Course data on the course directory has significant gaps;
• Not all course data collected from providers is published to citizens or careers advisers;
• Consumers of course data are not confident in the relevance or timeliness of the data (current service only partially meets their needs);
• The course directory needs to be replaced to improve quality of data and ease the collection process for providers.
18. Could you please share alpha outcomes for this service? • We can improve data quality through validation with official data sources
• We can increase coverage of provider data/course data
• We can reduce the burden on providers by limiting what we ask for and when we ask for it
• User Research was through a mixture of desk research, interviews and surveys
• Participants scored between 7 and 9 on digital inclusion scale
• Scope of the beta was specified and backlog user stories generated.
• Technology can readily align to standards in place in the National Careers Service.
• We can build it to meet GDS guidelines.
19. Please can you clarify how work will be allocated across the successful suppliers? Will it be allocated via Lots? Up to a maximum of 3 contracts will be awarded to suppliers with the highest scores who meet the criteria.
20. Is "Ability to scale services up or down at short notice as requirements shift", referring to scaling team size, system capacity or something else? This requirement is about scaling team size in response to events or decisions.