Awarded to Hippo Digital Limited

Start date: Monday 8 July 2019
Value: £4,500,000
Company size: SME
Education and Skills Funding Agency (DfE)

Data Science agile development - BA, User Centered Design and Delivery Management Capabilities

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

32 Completed applications

24 SME, 8 large

Important dates

Monday 29 April 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 6 May 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 13 May 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We require specialist project delivery capabilities to support a mix of continuous improvement of ESFA existing systems and a suite of GDS compliant digital projects. The projects are leading the digital transformation of ESFA data collections and sector improvement services for the education sector.
Latest start date
Saturday 1 June 2019
Expected contract length
2 Years
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 challenges will range from bringing new products to life as well as shaping mature systems to support this transformation.

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 to address the challenges above.
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 and user needs, some of GDS agile roles such as Business Analyst, user researcher, content designer, designer, delivery management, project support 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 (
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 business 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
Data Science is supporting digital transformation across the ESFA and the wider DfE. A number of these digital projects are well advanced across the GDS spectrum (Discovery,Alpha, Private Beta, Public Beta, Live and Continous Improvement). Along with these existing projects there a number of new and yet to be started peice's of work e.g. FE Workforce Collection, taking FIS on-line and form collections.
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, user research and design professionals. Teams are made up of a combination of permanent staff and managed service suppliers

The new supplier will be expected to provide resources across delivery managers, business analysts, user research and design professionals roles according to the business need for the initiative.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Primary location will be ESFA Office, Cheylesmore House Coventry.
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
  • Proven experience in delivering digital projects and products
  • Proven experience in Business Analysis services
  • Demonstrable experience in User Centre Design Services (User Research, Content Design and Interaction Design)
  • Proven experience of using a range of agile and lean practices, tools and techniques
  • Strong verbal, written and visual communication skills with the ability to proactively manage stakeholders and tailor to the needs of audience by collaborating on decisions
  • Experience of being able to challenge and influence decision
  • Experience in matrix-managing multi-disciplinary teams
  • Experience in delivering multiple projects and balancing multiple priorities in a fast paced environment
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of passing GDS service assessments
  • Experience of Microsoft product suite in the education sector
  • Experience in delivering public sector products/services

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate working experience in delivering Data Science products/services within Public Sector
  • 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 such as VSTS, Microsoft Project, JIRA, Confluence
  • 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


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there incumbent supplier?
2. The existing team section mentions various existing suppliers. Will they remain or is this procurement to replace one or more of those suppliers?
Yes, the existing service supports online collections specifcally.
3. Who did the Discovery and who the Alpha phase, pls?
ESFA requires specialist project delivery capabilities support a mix of continuous improvement of ESFA existing systems and GDS compliant digital projects. Projects use permanent staff & 3rd party suppliers based on who we have contracts with, so difficult to answer who did the discovery and alpha if not focused on any project. When the successful bidder is on board working on the specific project this information may become relevant. The capabilities we require will need to cover a range of projects and will follow the GDS development lifecycle. All projects that draw on this contract will support these stages.
4. How does the data science service support digital transformation? I.e. what kind of expertise does this contract require apart from BA, PM, Research. What about Data Scientists or Data Engineers?
software developers, user researchers, content design, interactive design, service design, data modelling.
5. Can you confirm the detail for requirement of an Enhanced DBS Check and why this high level is required?
the supplier will only work with data
6. Can you please confirm the associated commercial timelines for this opportunity beyond Stage 1?
asap. The projects that will require these services will be on going
7. Please can you provide more information and clarification regarding how this DOS opportunity sits within the wider Data Science digital transformation project, and how these services will fit alongside the range of services that have been procured by ESFA via DOS over the past 6 months?
These services are to support the full exploitation of data science resources, from data collection through to data management and governance, data analisys and data science techniques and digital insights to the sector. This is to ensure all Data Science services can be supported by the range of experts needed to meet the GDS 18 digital standards for all our external facing services, in particulalry the newly created Digtial Insights team exploiting power BI
8. 1. Is there an incumbent supplier in this programme?
Is it mandatory to have experience in delivering Data Science products/services within Public Sector? Will the DfE consider experience similar experience within Private Sector?
No incumbent supplier for this directly. I think digital services we would need experience on more than anything else. Not sure why we would reference data science if not necessary - I agree this should be removed
9. Can you provide a list of digital services these roles would work on?
APIs to pre-populate digital services, internal and external data dashboards to support providers (credibility reporting and benchmarking) and internal staff, to modernise the funding information service (FIS)
10. What does FIS stand for?
Funding Information services
11. Which specific tools do you use in the Microsoft product suite in the education sector?
power BI, Azure, SQL, dynamics, CRM,C#,VSTS