Awarded to BJSS Limited

Start date: Monday 2 September 2019
Value: £3,171,345
Company size: large
UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)

UK SBS DDaT19127 UKRI - The Funding Service Beta Phase – Technical Team

10 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 2 large

17 Completed applications

11 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Friday 17 May 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 24 May 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 31 May 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We are seeking a development partnership with a highly skilled and proven GDS supplier to provide technical and development expertise to supplement our in-house delivery team in the beta phase of building the UKRI Funding Service. The resource should be sufficient to run 2 development teams working concurrently.
Latest start date
Monday 5 August 2019
Expected contract length
1 year with the option to extend for up to an additional year
South West England
Organisation the work is for
UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)
Budget range
We anticipate a budget cost of £200k per month for 2 agile development teams of technical resources (technical lead, back end developers, front end developers, testers and DevOps) to run concurrently. Budget is therefore £2.4m for 12 months with an option to extend for a further 12 months (24 months in total). The total contract value including the option to extend will not exceed £4.8m, however there is no commitment to spend the full amount if the option to extend is not utilised.

About the work

Why the work is being done
UKRI are building a unified digital funding service to support the needs of the newly formed UKRI, a merger and transformation of 9 councils into a single provider of grant funding to support research and innovation in the UK. The transformation also includes major simplification and standardisation of schemes with flexibility to support future schemes as UKRI grows to support the needs of the UK Government and its stakeholders.

Following a successful Alpha phase, the beta phase must start in early August in order to deliver an initial MVP to open for applications by January 2020.
Problem to be solved
The existing legacy system goes out of service in 2021 and is no longer able to meet user needs. Due to the inflexibility, many funding schemes are run off system which means collation of data for evaluating impact is challenging. External academic applicants typically must learn 9 different processes in order to apply for grant funding

One of the councils, Innovate UK, already has a GDS compliant service, but this will need to merge into the new Funding Service as part of the roadmap.
Who the users are and what they need to do
•As an applicant I need an intuitive digital platform to apply for and manage my grant funding.
•As a research office user, I need to oversee approve and manage the grant applications submitted by applicants in my university
•As a peer reviewer I need an intuitive digital platform so that I can securely review, score and submit feedback on applications
•As an internal user, I need an intuitive digital platform so that I can:
•Create and manage an opportunity
•Manage applications, peer review, award offers, project setup
•Pay grant funding and claims
•Manage project assurance
•Track funding
Early market engagement
Not applicable
Any work that’s already been done
The Discovery and Alpha phases of this service have been completed.

The Alpha phase included a technical evaluation and selection of a technical solution which consists of a component based, modular architecture, potentially using React for the UI layer, AppSync and GraphQL for the API layer and a mixture of TypeScript, Node.JS and Java for the back-end services. Messaging via AWS SNS/SQS, DB AWS RDS and AWS EC2/Lambda, AWS Cloud Search.
Existing team
The in-house team consists of the following:
• Service Owner
• Product Manager
• Delivery Manager / Scrum Master
• Product Delivery Manager / Agile coach
• Lead UI Consultant
• Front End Developer
• Solution Architect
• 2 Business Analysts
• Content Designer

The team will also be working with other internally resourced functions including
• A separately procured User experience /user research / user testing team
• Business Change Lead (part of Digital transformation)
• Enterprise Architects
• Business Intelligence: Data Mapping and Data migration specialises
• Internal stakeholders (key users)
• Limited DevOps resource
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Polaris House, Swindon, Wiltshire. 2 min walk from Swindon train station.
Working arrangements
We are looking to form a strong partnership with the successful supplier such that the total team works collaboratively on the outcomes regardless for whom they work.

We have established agile and remote working practices but expect project team members to be in Swindon 3 full working days per week for face to face meetings. We make extensive use of Video conferencing for regular ceremonies.

Workloads will be managed by the in-house Delivery Manager & ScrumMaster, with use of Confluence and Jira.
Security clearance
• Onsite attendance at Polaris House requires basic security disclosure (Baseline Personnel Security Standard)
• The successful supplier must sign our standard non-disclosure agreement
• The successful supplier must provide proof of GDPR compliance
• The successful supplier must adhere to UKRI’s information security and GDPR policies

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The award is subject to the project passing Alpha assessment, currently scheduled for July 2019.

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
  • Demonstrate your proposed team’s experience in service design, technical development and end-to-end testing (2%)
  • Demonstrate how your proposed team has worked using agile development processes (2%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s understanding and experience of delivering grant funding services (3%)
  • Demonstrate your proposed team’s experience in following the Government’s Technology Code of Practice including working with open standards and APIs (2%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s experience in developing secure services and how they have pragmatically mitigated risks in similar projects (2%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability with scalable applications using the same / similar as AppSync, GraphQL, TypeScript, Node.JS and Javascript with NoSQL (DynamoDB) and/or relational databases (3%
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to use technologies such as messaging via AWS SNS/SQS, Serverless (Lambda), Containers, S3, AWS Cognito, AWS Cloud Search (2%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s experience in developing applications using a component based, modular architecture using the previously stated technology stack or similar (2%)
  • Demonstrate how your team’s skills and experience in continuous deployment and integration to other business services for example a data warehouse or a finance system (2%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate how your proposed team’s technical expertise will ensure the successful delivery of this project (10%)
  • How the proposal meets our requirements for successful delivery (6%)
  • How the approach or solution meets your organisation’s policy or goal (6%)
  • Timeframes for delivery (in line with the contract period) and proposed programme for beta, detailing how the timeline will be managed to ensure no delays to the project (6%)
  • Provide details of the suggested size, shape and make-up of proposed team, demonstrating how this team will maintain the ability to deliver the services throughout the project lifecycle (6%)
  • Detail risks and assumptions and a plan for mitigating against them (6%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how your team will work successfully with UKRI as part of a multi-disciplinary team co-located in Swindon (4%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to deliver in an open, collaborate, agile way according to the principles outlined in the Government Service Design Manual (3%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to work and communicate with clients / team members with low technical expertise (4%)
  • Demonstrate your ability to deliver outcomes, applying an agile methodology, in non-agile environments and successfully bridging the two worlds (3%)
  • Demonstrate how you will deliver simplicity (e.g. do less but better, explaining complex issues in a clear, simple way, break down and prioritise complex issues) (3%)
  • Demonstrate your approach to engaging with internal senior stakeholders undergoing cultural change and how this will support project success (3%)
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Latest start date
The commencement of the services is scheduled for 5th August 2019 in accordance with the published requirements. However, this is subject to change should there be any delays in the procurement process.
2. Procurement timeframe
The anticipated procurement timeframes are as follows:
24th June 19 – Notification of shortlisting outcome
2nd July 19 – Written proposal deadline
3rd/4th July 19 – Presentations
16th July 19 – Notification of award outcome
3. The Scope of IR35
This requirement falls outside of the scope of IR35
4. Can you please provide the outputs from Alpha?
The outputs from Discovery and Alpha will be shared with all shortlisted suppliers. At this stage the focus is on suppliers technical ability.
5. Do you expect the service to undergo GDS evaluation?
Would having a supplier with previous experience of the Service Standard Beta process be advantageous?
We do expect to undergo a service assessment, this will be conducted either by BEIS or GDS. As detailed in the specification UKRI welcome bidders who have proven GDS experience or the skills to work to GDS service standards.
6. Can you please explain how this team will be expected to work with the team you are procuring separately for ‘UK SBS DDaT19127 UKRI – The Funding Service Beta Phase – User experience team’
Each development team will be complemented by a member of the user experience team as detailed within the specification to assist with translating the prototypes and user stories
7. Would the UKRI be willing to consider an alternative technical architecture for this beta, if a supplier can propose options which are potentially more cost effective or better able to meet user needs?
No, the Alpha phase of the project is proving the technical architecture meets our requirements. As such we will be expecting to use this architecture in beta.
8. Could you clarify the wording of the following essential skills and experience point: "Demonstrate how your team’s skills and experience in continuous deployment and integration to other business services for example a data warehouse or a finance system"
This is a typo, the sentence should read "Demonstrate your team’s skills and experience in continuous deployment and integration to other business services for example a data warehouse or a finance system"
9. May we provide more than one example for each essential requirement, where not all requirements listed were used in a single previous example/project?
Yes, this is acceptable. Each response can refer to an example of your choice.
10. Are you tied to the technical solutions suggested during Alpha? Specifically, can we put a Django-based solution forward for back-end services?
The Alpha phase of the project is proving the technical architecture meets our requirements. As such we will be expecting to use this architecture in beta.