Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 9 September 2019
Value: £915,200
Company size: SME
Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (Ofgem)

Ref KR1923 - Renewable Electricity Register (RER) Re-Write

8 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 2 large

17 Completed applications

11 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Friday 3 May 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 10 May 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 17 May 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Develop replacement IT system to administer renewable electricity schemes, including;
• Account set up,
• user permissions
• Application/admission to scheme
• Compliance declaration submissions
• Submission/validation of electricity generation data
• Issue certificates
• Supplier compliance
• Fuel mix disclosure
• Data reports
• Automated audit trail
• Migration
Latest start date
Monday 8 July 2019
Expected contract length
20 months, plus option to extend up to 2 years maximum
Organisation the work is for
Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (Ofgem)
Budget range
The budget range is £750k to a maximum budget ceiling of £1.1m. There is great pressure on Ofgem to minimise and reduce expenditure, so demonstration of continuous improvement, optimisation and savings targets will be highly considered against each evaluation criterion.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Ofgem administers government renewable energy support schemes, including the Renewables Obligation (RO), Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) and large scale Feed-in Tariff (ROOFIT). The existing IT system used to administer the RO, REGO and ROOFIT schemes was developed in 2006, and is therefore a legacy system. This work is to create a replacement system, delivering functional and non-functional improvements using modern product design principles. It needs to be robust and include auxiliary processes currently undertaken outside of the system.
Problem to be solved
The existing legacy system uses old technology stacks, some of which are in the end of life phase. High costs and resources are required in the support, updating and maintenance of the system, which are unsustainable. Many additional processes involved in the administration of the schemes are conducted outside of the system, via Excel or similar, which should be integrated into the replacement system. In addition, the user interface is clunky and not intuitive, and whilst the system allows Ofgem to administer the schemes correctly, the user experience is not positive.
Who the users are and what they need to do
External users include:
• owners and operators of renewable energy installations (wind farms, hydro-dams, solar arrays), submitting and amending applications for accreditation and supporting data and evidence
• agents of domestic participants
• portfolio asset operators
• electricity suppliers, submitting overall supply volumes and interacting with Ofgem regarding compliance with certain obligations
• trade associations involved in renewables sector

Internal users include staff:
• reviewing and approving/rejecting applications/amendments
• reviewing data submissions from external users
• analysing statistics and data for audit and counter fraud purposes
• capturing metrics for reporting
• analysing late, erroneous, or suspect data
Early market engagement
No early market engagement has been carried out.
Any work that’s already been done
Preliminary stages of the discovery phase have been completed, with high-level internal user requirements captured, and core user needs identified. User research will begin shortly, and we are expecting that a large amount of this research will have been completed by the start of this contract. Ofgem has administered these schemes since 2002, and therefore the relevant legislative frameworks are well known and documented internally, and the existing (legacy) system is in place as a benchmark to work from.
Existing team
The existing internal team comprises;
• Project Manager
• Assistant Project Manager
• Product Manager
• Junior Product Manager
• User Researcher (May – July 2019)
This team will be joined by flexible resource to be allocated to the project as and when required;
• Business Analyst
• Tech lead
• Developer x2
• QA tester
• Lead Product Manager
The team will be assisted by subject matter experts from the wider team, largely within the business, but also with technical expertise. The team is supported by a Senior Reporting Officer, senior management structure, and project steering group.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Ofgem: 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf London E14 4PU
or Commonwealth House, 32 Albion Street, Glasgow G1 1LH
Working arrangements
The chosen supplier will work closely (co-located) with the Ofgem project team, Monday-Friday usual office hours, in either London or Glasgow as the project team are based cross-location. Working arrangements are relatively flexible, with the ability to work from home, or remotely on occasion and when appropriate. The project will use agile methodology: daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprints, demos, retrospectives. The supplier will take a lead by being a role model in agile ways of working, and invest time in knowledge sharing and coaching to increase the capability of the Ofgem development team.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Ofgem shall have the right to terminate the Contract at any time, by giving 4 weeks written notice to the Supplier, and Ofgem’s liability thereto shall be for costs reasonably incurred by the Supplier up until the termination date.

There will be a formal Break point at the end of each significant stage.

All new ipr associated with the new Products/services or developed as a result of the Contract shall vest in the Authority. The Contractor shall define the terms under which any 3rd Party products are purchased and retained by the Authority.

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
  • Be capable of delivering the system rewrite using a multidisciplinary Agile team
  • have a proven track record of delivery meeting GDS Service Standards
  • Provide an example of database and web portal design and development that has led to proven improvements in one or more of: user engagement; user satisfaction; efficiencies; data security
  • Provide an example using rapid development of prototypes created iteratively via user testing - based on Discovery findings to meet user needs
  • demonstrate user research approaches alongside analysis of existing research to ensure the project meets the needs of all users
  • Provide an example of your preferred approach to working in a co-sourced, cross-location delivery arrangement
  • Demonstrate experience of up-skilling, coaching and knowledge transfer to team members, including internal staff to build capability within existing teams
  • Provide evidence of managing similar scale data migration exercises successfully
  • Demonstrate with example/s, experience of delivering projects of a similar type and scale to similar timescales
  • Provide an example showing experience in delivering within a similar government environment
  • Demonstrate the impact and effectiveness of their diversity and inclusion policies
  • Demonstrate approach to continuous improvement
  • Identify relevant quality standards and/or tests for a project of this nature
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of developing automated tests, to reduce the need for manual testing
  • Manage and proactively engage with complex internal stakeholder relationships to support digital transformation

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach, methodology and timeline, taking into account user research, service design, system design, testing, and GDS alpha and beta assessment
  • Identification of risks, dependencies, and offered approaches to manage them
  • Approach to taking on our existing technical architecture, code base and technical recommendations
  • How the approach or solution will meet user needs
  • Approach to data migration from existing system to new system, and understanding of risks involved
  • Relevant HM Government experience
  • Team structure, including roles, resourcing levels, responsibility and availability
  • Skills and experience of the team
  • Approach to knowledge transfer
  • Value for money and commercial risk
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate approach to engaging with internal senior stakeholders
  • Demonstrate transparent, collaborative approach to work, sharing this with the project team and seeking actionable feedback
  • Previous work in a co-located environment with a large number of stakeholders
  • Take responsibility to challenge the status quo
  • Seek to find improvements in all aspects of your work, including system design and processes
  • Evidence your work with clients of different levels of technical expertise
  • Work well in an Agile team, adhering to sprint ceremonies, and working collaboratively with teams outside of your immediate remit
  • Have a demonstrable and effective approach to diversity and inclusion
  • Have a demonstrable and effective approach to the contract management function
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Will the existing internal team remain on the project, or be available for hand-over. To what extent will they be involved as this would obviously affect the team that the new supplier is required to provide. Given the fixed-price approach, this implies that the supplier should provide the majority of the team. Is that the intention? Although the relatively low budget (for 20 months work) implies that the supplier would just top-up the existing Ofgem team.

Given the number of internal management/lead roles mentioned, will the supplier be leading the work?
The internal project team are a dedicated resource for this project, and will remain fully involved throughout. They will work alongside the supplier in a co-sourced and collaborative manner, with clear roles and responsibilities documented on both sides.

More clarity will be provided to shortlisted suppliers regarding roles and responsibilities to ensure effective delivery of project outcomes.
2. The location is specified as London or Glasgow. Is this for the supplier to decide, or will the supplier’s team need to work at both locations as and when required?

The working arrangements state a 5-day per week on site requirement but then go on to say that WFH or remote working is permissible. Given the stated need for cost reductions, would a mostly remote team be acceptable with on-site presence as and when required?"
The supplier will need to be largely co-located in either London, Glasgow, or both. WFH or working remotely is common practice within Ofgem, and there is an understanding that staff working at a suppliers' office/remotely would be more effective in some instances. Ultimately it will be for the supplier to ensure successful interaction & engagement with Ofgem teams.
3. The stage 2 proposal criteria is listed as fixed-price. Given that this is a re-write and the user research has not yet completed, please can you clarify what further detail will be provided to short-listed suppliers to enable a fixed-price to be provided, or will a time-boxed team approach be acceptable?
Ofgem is obligated to perform certain functions under legislation, which will not change. A set of high level requirements will be provided to short-listed suppliers, which will give an overview of the necessary functionality. Given that user research is ongoing, there may be minor requirement changes. However, Ofgem has been administering the relevant schemes using the current system for over ten years, and dialogue with stakeholders during that time provides confidence that we have a good understanding of user needs and wants. We are therefore not expecting the user research to cause significant divergence from the high level requirements.
4. "Many additional processes involved in the administration outside of the system", please provide a high-level description to indicate the nature / quantity of these processes
A high level description of the desired functionality will be provided to shortlisted suppliers, including, but not limited to;
Automated notification emails sent to request or acknowledge completion of tasks
Validation of electricity generation data provided by system users against 3rd Party data
Submission of fuel measurement information as part of the application process
Flags for renewable generating stations undergoing audit from the internal audit function
Ability to customise reports to include only relevant information
Importing third party data to calculate obligation levels for energy suppliers and Fuel Mix Disclosure
Carrying out various calculations set out in legislation for compliance
5. Will Ofgem be providing suppliers who qualify beyond the initial evaluation stage with more information so that they can produce proposals?
Yes, further detailed specification and information will be provided to shortlisted suppliers.
6. Are there any key dates which might impact this project beyond Discovery, if so what and why?
There are no legislative deadlines for this project. The only factor to consider is that budget approval is until the end of the financial year 2020/2021, and as such the key date is 31 March 2021 by which point the project must be delivered. Clearly, given the limitations of the current system, delivery prior to this point is preferable if possible.
7. Is it likely that there will be imminent legislative or regulatory change which the Renewable Electricity Register should accommodate, or is this work principally replacement of legacy with a superior service?
This work is to replace a legacy system with a superior system and service, including automation, where possible, of tasks undertaken manually at present (for example, validating generation data provided by system users against data provided by third parties). There are no imminent legislative changes at present, but given Ofgem administer the renewable energy schemes on behalf of BEIS, any changes to the political landscape or shifts in political appetite may have knock on effects, and the system will need to accommodate these.
8. Will the Renewable Electricity Register be considered a formal register, that will be listed amongt other registers at ?
No. None of the Ofgem E-Serve scheme registers are considered as such.
9. Is the £750K to £1.1m budget intended to fund up to 20 months length, or alternatively is this budget expected to cover 20 months and up to 2 years extension?
The budget is intended to fund the full delivery of this project.

Depending on the successful supplier's approach, this may be achievable in 20 months or less, but there is provision, should it be required, to extend the completion date by up to 4 months to a total period of 2 years, on the basis that no further budget will be available.
10. Will this project be formally assessed against the Digital Service Standard?
The project will need to be compliant with the Government Digital Service Standard, and will be assessed as such.
11. How will Ofgem evaluate suppliers price? Is it correct to assume that this will be a comparison of fixed price fee to complete Discovery?
Price (30% of the total score) will be evaluated on a combination of the overall fixed price and the rate card, relative to the lowest acceptable bid. It will consider the Fixed Price offered to complete all work (finalising Discovery and continuation through Alpha, Beta to Live).
12. Will scoring from the evidence stage be taken through to final evaluation scoring? As opposed to being used solely for the purpose of shortlisting?
Scoring from the initial submissions will be used solely for shortlisting. Evaluation of formal tender bids will not take into account earlier submissions.
13. What are dates for the procurement steps that Ofgem intend beyond 17th May, for suppliers who qualify through the initial evaluation stage?
To meet an anticipated start date no later than 8 July, we intend to receive written responses around mid June, conduct presenatation thereafter and advise the successful contractor towards the end of June. Dates will be firmed up for shortlisted suppliers.
14. Does the procurement approach prevent Ofgem from contracting for any phases of this 20 month contract under commercial models like Time and Materials within a capped budget, if commercial models other than fixed price become more attractive to Ofgem?
Alternative approaches are not specifically prevented. As long as a Fixed Price tender is received, alternative bids will be considered, subject to sufficient evidence being provided to support the benefits of such Alternative bids.
15. Where are the Project Manager / Assistant Project Manager, Product Owner, Junior Product Owner and User Researcher principally based, London or Glasgow?
The internal project team are located in both London & Glasgow offices, with both PM and PO having representation in both office locations.
16. Does Ofgem require a supplier to be accountable for ensuring delivery outcomes are achieved, or is Ofgem looking for a supplier to provide roles working totally under Ofgem's day-to-day direction?
Ofgem requires a supplier to be accountable for delivery of the system.
17. Is it correct to assume that flexible resources from Ofgem (Business Analyst, Tech Lead, Developer x 2, QA tester and Lead Product Manager) are roles that will principally be available to the project from Alpha and beyond?
Yes. These flexible resources are part of the Ofgem team, and will be allocated to this project from Alpha onwards, dependent on business requirements.
18. Is it correct to assume that Project Manager / Assistant Project Manager, Product Owner, Junior Product Owner and User Researcher will be the principal Ofgem roles available during Discovery and that during Discovery suppliers should provide other complimentary roles for Discovery?
The roles listed are the principle Ofgem roles available during Discovery, and will remain on the project through Alpha & Beta stages (other than UR). These will be complimented by the BA, QA, tech lead and dev internal roles. We would expect the supplier to provide resource for the latter stages of Discovery, and carry that insight through to Alpha & Beta.
19. If Ofgem expect a supplier to commence at Alpha stage, does Ofgem have a view of which roles a supplier should provide for Alpha? If so what?
Ofgem has a view of what roles ought to be resourced by a supplier for the remainder of Discovery, as well as for Alpha & Beta stages. This may be provided for clarity, but it will remain the supplier's responsibility to challenge and propose resources they deem appropriate and/or necessary to undertake the work, as per  industry standard & best practice.
20. Ofgem has conducted preliminary Discovery activity. Has that provided Ofgem with a necessary duration to complete Discovery? If so what is that duration?
Ofgem expects to complete Discovery, and move into Alpha in mid-summer '19

To provide clarity, Ofgem may agree/provide a provisional sum to cover estimated supplier resource needed for the remainder of Discovery.
21. Ofgem has conducted preliminary Discovery activity. Has that provided Ofgem with a clear view on what roles Ofgem believe a supplier should contribute to complete Discovery? If so which roles should a supplier provide for Discovery?
Ofgem has a view of what roles ought to be resourced by a supplier for the remainder of Discovery, as well as for Alpha & Beta stages. For clarity, Ofgem may provide this view, but it will be the responsibility of the supplier to challenge and propose the resources as they deem appropriate and/or necessary to undertake the work, as per  industry standard & best practice.
22. Does Ofgem expect a supplier to help complete Discovery, or move straight into Alpha?
Ofgem would expect the supplier to be involved in the latter stages of Discovery, adding value and gaining insight into the scope and breadth of the project, before moving into Alpha shortly after.
23. Are external users all broadly similar in their user needs, alternatively are there several different categories of external user persona that exist? If so what is the approximate number of external persona types that are relevant?
There are 4 broad categories of external users - Electricity Generators, Energy Suppliers, Agents and Participants each with separate user needs but with some overlap between the categories.

Within the categories Generators have the largest range of user needs as technology and size of installation will affect interaction through increased requirements under relevant schemes. This ranges from domestic to industrial installations, annual to monthly interactions and across all technologies eligible for the scheme.
24. Regarding the Discovery work completed to date and the user research about to begin: have you undertaken this / will you be undertaking this using entirely internal resources or have you had / will you have external support, and, if so, from whom?
The Discovery work completed to-date has been undertaken by a dedicated internal project team, alongside subject matter experts within the business. User Research activities are being undertaken by a third party specialist contractor.
25. Is the budget for the entire project including ongoing hosting/support for the next two years or just for the build phases alpha/beta.
The budget is intended to fund the full build & delivery of this project.
26. Is there an incumbent in this role?
27. Can you clarify the flexibility of the working arrangements? Specifically, would you be a open to a supplier working from their own UK office but meeting with your team at your offices regularly?
The supplier will need to be largely co-located in either London, Glasgow, or both. WFH or working remotely would be by exception, but with understanding that some staff working at a suppliers' office / remotely would be more effective in some instances.
28. What is meant by "Payment approach: Fixed price"? Does this necessarily imply a waterfall (fixed-spec-in-advance) approach to the project?
Ofgem have a good understanding of high-level requirements and have an established MVP. The project will be approached with Agile methodology, rather than waterfall. Ofgem expects that delivery within the available budget is achievable knowing the scope of the build.
Fixed Price means the supplier will be paid the price they tender for delivery of the project and will need to build likely risks into their price. Being a re-write of a mature service, Ofgem will be able to minimise these risks to the supplier.
29. Is there a particular technology stack that the system should be built on? Are you looking for technical experience in a particular technology stack?
Ofgem's development expertise at present is focused on Microsoft stack. Most of our existing systems use C# in the .NET framework with a SQL server database. A separate discovery piece is looking at cloud hosting across Ofgem, which is due to be completed prior to commencement of this contract. We are therefore primarily looking for experience in the Microsoft stack.
30. Please state the weighting associated with each one of the individual Proposal criteria and Cultural Fit criteria
The weightings are 50% Technical Competency, 20% Cultural Fit and 30% Price. further breakdown will be provided as deemed appropriate to the shortlisted bidders.
31. What technology stacks are the existing legacy system built on?
The existing legacy system is a C# ASP.NET Forms application backed by a SQL server database. Ofgem's development expertise at present is focused on Microsoft stack.
32. "Can you please explain how the flexible resourcing model works as part of the existing team, and how they will be allocated to the project?

Is this team internal staff or other suppliers?"
The flexible resources (as well as the internal project team) are internal Ofgem staff, and will be allocated to this project from Alpha onwards, dependent on business requirements. In addition to this, the tech lead and a business analyst will be part allocated from Discovery onwards. However, the flexible resources have expertise in other Ofgem systems, and if there is an urgent business need they may need to be redeployed to these for short periods if necessary.