This opportunity was withdrawn on Tuesday 9 July 2019

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Treaty Section, Legal Directorate)

New Treaty Database for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

29 Incomplete applications

26 SME, 3 large

3 Completed applications

3 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Friday 28 June 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 5 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 12 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To create a single treaties database accessible to the public, with a separate portal for FCO staff that will enable them to see internal information and to update treaty records on a regular basis.
Latest start date
Saturday 17 August 2019
Expected contract length
2 years
Organisation the work is for
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Treaty Section, Legal Directorate)
Budget range
Budgetary approval is in place for a solution costing up to £45,000 (excl. VAT) annually. It would be useful to see a breakdown of costs, including development fee, management fee and support costs.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The UK is a signatory to approximately 14,000 treaties. Treaty Section (based in the FCO) records details of these treaties on a bespoke database. The database is business critical to the section’s work, and is the only current record in the country of the extent of the UK’s treaty obligations.

In upgrading our database, we are looking to improve our treaty information, enquiry and depositary service for FCO staff members, HMG more broadly, and members of the public. The site should be available to FCO staff by 1 August 2019, and go live to the public by 1 January 2020.
Problem to be solved
We currently have two databases: one used by FCO staff members only and the other available to the public [UK Treaties Online:]. Both databases contain the same records, though the internal database also includes a ‘Notes’ field used by FCO staff and records of Memorandums of Understanding.

In place of this split system, which is run by two different suppliers, we would like a single database accessible to the public. FCO staff should be able to login to see internal information (the 'Notes' field and records of Memorandums of Understanding) and to update treaty records on a regular basis.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Internal (FCO) users: As an internal user I want to access and update UK treaty records so that they can be used to advise HMG, government departments, foreign governments and the public.

External users: As an external user I want to have access to records of the UK's treaty records so that I can follow the extent of those commitments and access their texts.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have pre-existing systems for both the internal and external databases: we are looking for the same functionality but as an integrated solution.
Existing team
Treaty Section will be the principal point of contact. Any supplier would also be expected to liaise with the FCO's IT Security Advisers and the Digital Transformation Unit, in order for security testing to be completed and to ensure compliance with government accessibility standards. Initial work in transferring data from the existing sites may also involve contact with our two current suppliers.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Work will be conducted offsite though any chosen supplier must be available to meet at the FCO (King Charles Street, London) as and when required.
Working arrangements
It is expected that in the initially any chosen supplier would attend the FCO for a face-to-face meeting and walkthrough of the requirements. From there work will be conducted by the supplier offsite, with weekly telephone meetings with Treaty Section for updates on progress. Once the site has gone live this arrangement will be reviewed.
Security clearance
All staff working on FCO premises must be at least SC Cleared or capable of being cleared to SC. Bidders must confirm clearance of nominated resources. If required, FCO will initiate SC clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
FCO will exclusively hold all IPR deriving from the work

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
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Has previous experience of working on databases within both private and public sector and central government departments
  • Evidence of successfully migrating data from one system to another
  • Evidence of tuning/enhancing database performance post going live
  • Evidence of ensuring live services continue to perform well as they scale
  • Owns all infrastructure: no need to sub-contract pieces of the project
  • Experience of designing systems for other government departments that adhere to the Government Security Classifications standards and requirements
  • Evidence of running a subscription service that enables users to sign up for updates via the database

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology: how approach meets our goal
  • Estimated time frame for work (start and finish)
  • How supplier has identified risks/dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure and technological capabilities in-house
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Can work with clients with little technical expertise
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Amendment to 'Why the work is being done' section.

'the site should be available to FCO staff by 1st October 2019'

NOT '1st August 2019'.
Thursday 04th July 2019
09:15 - 10:00am

Dial in number: 01908 515 999
Access code: 0197283