Context: The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) is the UK’s democracy assistance agency, working in partnership with political parties, parliaments and civil society organisations around the world to create more inclusive, accountable and transparent democratic systems. WFD strengthens the capacity of these key democratic institutions, helping ensure they have the systems, knowledge and skills to […]
Invitation to Tender: IT Support Services
WFD is issuing this Invitation to Tender (“ITT”) to procure goods/services in accordance with the conditions detailed in this document.
WFD is inviting companies to tender for the provision of IT support services. These include management of the IT infrastructure, disaster recovery, cyber security, IT support and telephony across the organisation. This new service is expected to contribute directly to achieving one of WFD’s annual priorities for FY2021-22: “to become a high performing and resilient organisation”.
WFD is looking for a supplier that has a track-record of providing comprehensive support services underpinned by excellent customer service and offers a tailored approach, supported by a robust service level agreement, to meet the requirements of WFD’s UK and international operations. WFD hopes to build a successful partnership with the selected supplier based on an agreed future technology strategy and high quality implementation.
The contract will be awarded for a period of 4 years and will be reviewed annually and renewed based on performance.
The closing date for this ITT will be 23:59, Sunday 1st August, 2021. WFD intends to issue a contract for the above goods/services, to be completed to WFD’s satisfaction, by Friday September 3rd 2021. The services will be expected to commence on 1 October 2021 or on a date to be agreed prior to that date.
All bids should be in a format that complies with the requirements of this ITT. Bids should be submitted by email to: IT Support Procurement Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend that bids are submitted in PDF format where possible, except spreadsheets. Bids should refer clearly to the ITT reference number. Should you require any further information or clarification on this ITT, please contact the IT Support Procurement Team at email@example.com.
Rolling FAQs will be updated frequently. Please check back for more information.
Q: What phone system do you currently have in place at the moment?
A: WFD currently uses Microsoft Teams for all PSTN calls. We do not have any additional hardware.
Q: What are the locations for the 30 countries?
A: A list of countries in which WFD operates can be found in the ‘Where we Work’ section of the website. The majority of locations are in capital cities.
Q: With regards to the training, is this in resolving issues so training on the job or more formal training sessions? If so, what is the current mechanism for staff training overseas?
A: Training includes on-the-spot training when responding to open tickets and annual training delivery of cyber security via Teams. This was previously successfully held via a PowerPoint presentation and a Q&A, and the session recorded. To support WFD’s Agile Working Policy, all training can be conducted remotely.
Q: Do you have an asset management database at present? Can we import into Service Now if the data is already available?
A: WFD currently logs asset information and this will be made available to the successful bidder.
Q: Please can you confirm this is UK Office hours? E.g. Mon-Fri excl. UK Bank Holidays
A: Required support times are UK office hours (Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays). This does not include security incidents.
Q: Could clarity on what constitutes an ’emergency’ be provided in descriptive detail?
A: An emergency would be a sudden event that brings disruption to the network, such as a cyber attack or core hardware failure, or other disruptive events, that requires immediate on-site presence to remedy.
Q: Is the in-person site visit to be scheduled quarterly or ‘on request’? What type of skills are required for ‘general user support’?
A: WFD requires provision for at least one scheduled visit quarterly, which may or may not be required. The support level would generally be first-line for staff laptop issues or general patching and maintenance (if required).
Q: What is the full asset list in scope here? Is this also including SOC monitoring?
A: The asset list comprises all items in the ‘Hardware’ section of the ITT, as well as 20 monitors and 20 docking stations. SOC monitoring should be included as an option.
Q: What is the End-of-Support and End-of-Life for existing IT Assets that are expected to be managed?
A: WFD’s policy is that laptops are upgraded every 3 years. WFD’s existing IT assets range between 0-5 years in age.
Q: Will we have control over the patching policy or will we be bound to the customers?
A: The winning supplier will have control over the patching policy providing this falls in-line with or exceeds industry standard, NCSC guidance and best practice, and is carried out at a suitable time so as to minimise disruption to users.
Q: Could the level of ‘support’ be clarified please. i.e. down to toners/cartridges? Under warranty/manufacturer support, etc
A: Support is limited to ensuring network connectivity/troubleshooting network-related printing issues.
Q: Are these plug and play? Can the end users plug in/install or will it require STSO visit to finalise installation?
A: Printers in country offices require driver installation, which can be carried out remotely.
Q: Is there any requirement for a managed print service? Print queues being monitored?
A: There is currently no requirement for a managed print service.
Q: What are the current volumes of provision of end-user hardware and is this ad-hoc or a daily/weekly list? Will this involve the signing and control of SOPS (manager approval etc)?
A: Provision of new hardware and repatriation and reconfiguration of old hardware is determined by staff turnover. This would involve control of SOPs.
Q: Management of all relevant software licenses, is this inclusive of Microsoft/Office 365?
A: Software licenses include Microsoft/Office 365
Q: What are the current volumes for VPN requests/incidents?
A: Whilst we cannot quote an exact number, such requests are relatively low, with an average of 6-12 per year.
Q: Would SC clearance be adequate and supersede the need for BPSS security clearance?
A: Clearances above BPSS would supersede the need for this.
Q: What are the current SLA’s and KPI’s?
A: The current SLA’s are categorised according to priority and target response times range between 1-8 hours.
Q: Is there a Security report requirement? Is this monthly reporting?
A: Security reports on patch status, AV endpoint status are required, and WFD would expect proactive monitoring of these (i.e. contacting users that require updates, applying updates to other network hardware). WFD would expect to see these reports during the quarterly account management meeting.
Q: The ‘explanatory’ note says ‘approximate’ for laptops? Please can you provide a fixed number – even if it’s caveated with an ‘as of xx/xx/xx date?
A: 150 is an accurate reflection of the number of devices as of the 1st July 2021.
Q: What is the accounting software and would we be expected to support that?
A: WFD uses Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. The winning supplier would not be expected to support this software.
Q: Is operational support and maintenance needed for all software?
A: Operational support and maintenance is required for all, except for the financial accounting software.
Q: Does the customer own the technology roadmaps for each solution/service? Or do they require the supplier to own this? (e.g. evolution of Windows and when it will be updated)
A: The supplier would be required to own the technology roadmaps for each service.
Q: Has the incumbent supplier or WFD identified any potential TUPE transferees as part of this contract?
A: To the best of WFD’s knowledge, no TUPE transferees have been identified.
Q: How are remote/OS users expected to get their devices replaced when faulty?
A: If the fix cannot be repaired, WFD would consider options, which may include: Shipping a new unit, purchase and configuration of a new until locally, or, repairing the existing unit. The decision would be on a case-by-case basis and would be influenced by a combination of local availability, cost and urgency.
Q: Is support required for corporate mobile phones/tablets?
A: WFD utilises app management policies via Intune, which would be in scope. Currently, corporate mobile phones are very limited and fall under these policies.
Q: Will the option of On Call Support be considered for WFD for out of office hours support?
A: WFD would consider on-call options for emergency out of hours support.
Q: Will an open source or license proprietary tool is being sought for a helpdesk solution?
A: WFD would expect the winning supplier to manage, license and operate the helpdesk solution.
Q: Please confirm if a cloud or an on premise helpdesk solution is being sought for WFD?
A: WFD would expect the winning supplier to manage, license and operate the helpdesk solution.
Q: Can the helpdesk solution be hosted at the supplier own location site and accessible via a secure web/VPN connections by all WFD users?
A: WFD would expect that the helpdesk solution is hosted via the supplier, and reachable via e-mail or telephone for all WFD users.
Q: Please confirm the reporting model in terms of governance.
A: The contract will be managed by the WFD Operations Team, with the Business Operations Manager being the main focal point.
Q: Please confirm if there is an existing monitoring system in place? If yes, can you provide monitoring system details, else do we need to propose/provide the same along with the licenses?
A: The existing monitoring system lies with the incumbent. WFD can’t disclose the specific software details, but can confirm that it is likely that the winning supplier would be required to license and install a new monitoring system on each device.
Q: Please confirm if the printers are managed or stand alone? Also, kindly provide the make and model of printers to be supported in the UK and abroad.
A: The three London-based printers are standalone, WFD does not use a managed print service.
Q: Please confirm if Direct Access is available for users outside the UK?
A: Direct Access is available for users outside the UK.
Q: Do you have a patching solution currently in place? If yes, please provide the name of the solution, else do we need to propose/provide the same along with the licenses?
A: WFD would expect the winning supplier to provide a patching solution and outline all licensing costs.
Q: Please provide the list of software to be supported for Patching.
A: All server OS, laptop OS and any other hardware listed in section 2 of the ITT, that runs software that requires patches to be manually applied.
Q: Are licenses for Office365 already catered for or do we need to provide for Office365 licenses?
A: Office 365 licenses are provided by a CSP that the incumbent has a direct relationship with, therefore these would need to be catered for.
Q: Please confirm if the licenses have already been purchased or new licenses need to be procured by WFD?
A: All relevant licences have been purchased (with the exception of the note regarding Office 365 licenses), but WFD would require the successful supplier to monitor and manage the renewals as required.
Q: Please confirm if a telephony system is already in place at WFD to be leveraged for the support or should a telephony solution be proposed?
A: A telephony system is already in place, with no physical hardware.
Q: Please confirm all telephony solutions related costs including calls will be separately billed to WFD.
A: All telephony solutions costs will be separately billed to WFD.
Q: Are all users of WFD on the same telephony system if there is already one?
A: All users are on the same telephony system.
Q: Are there existing hardware available to perform testing of BCP and DR scenarios? e.g. Restore of backups and configuration.
A: There is existing hardware available to perform testing of BCP and DR scenarios.
Q: What is defined as reaccreditation Cyber Essentials? Please provide more details.
A: Cyber Essentials is a UK Government-backed accreditation that assesses organisations on their cyber resilience. For more information, please see the NCSC website: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberessentials/overview
Q: What is the scope of annual penetration testing? What are the number of assets to be tested?
A: WFD would be open to discussing this with shortlisted bidders.
Q: Is there a standard hardware requirement for the WFD? E.g. Laptops needs to be of a specific brand? specific processor, memory, disk minimum specifications?
A: WFD’s preferred manufacturer is Dell. A full specification can be provided to shortlisted bidders.
Q: Does the customer have an asset management software in place? If yes, please provide solution details, else do we need to propose/provide the same along with the licenses? If so, please provide the requirements of the asset management.
A: WFD currently keeps a registry of all assets, but would encourage suppliers to include provisions for asset management software. Whilst we do not have a set specification, we would expect the following details to be captured and logged: Asset Number, Assigned user, Category, Condition, Manufacturer, Model, Serial number, Vendor, Currency, GBP acquisition cost, date of last inventory, Remarks, Current/disposed. We would expect the registry to be regularly audited.
Q: Please provide a complete list of applications where support is required.
A: WFD would welcome bidders to outline their development rates for: SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, PowerApps, Flow.
Q: For SharePoint – Are custom developments required? Or only the creation of sites and access management?
A: WFD has a small number of custom developments. We would welcome bids that include details on the support offering for ‘standard’ developments (site creation, access management) as well as details for any custom development support offer.
Q: Do we need to provide IT hardware distribution to countries outside of the UK?
A: This can be included as an option, if available.
Q: Does the hardware need to be dispatched from the UK or can be procured within the specific location?
A: The hardware can be procured locally and configured remotely, on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Which cities are all in-scope countries located?
A: WFD operates in the capital cities of all listed countries.
Q: Can WFD confirm there are primary and secondary contacts available in the event of Out Of Hours major issues / security incidents that require liaison and decisions?
A: There are both primary and secondary contacts in the event of major issues out of hours.
Q: Do the 30 countries work within UK time zones?
A: All offices work to office hours in their local time zone.
Q: Would it be fair to assume that this can be limited to ONLY HQ delivered and managed services and NOT for connectivity/functionality issues for remote sites as well?
A: WFD would expect that, in most cases, it would relate to only HQ delivered services. WFD cannot, however, rule out the scenario of an emergency in country offices. We would be happy to discuss this further with any shortlisted supplier.
Q: When SOC monitoring is stated as an option is the expectation that this is provided as an additional optional price point?
A: Yes, that is correct. WFD would be happy to explore the scope with shortlisted suppliers.
Q: What are the purchasing procedures for overseas printers? i.e. purchased within the UK from an acceptable hardware list or purchased in the country of operation locally?
A: Overseas printers are purchased locally, in-country.
Q: Which version/offering for MSO365 is being utilised? E.g. E3/E5?
A: Currently Microsoft E3 is used for the majority of users.
Q: What is the number of domains currently registered? Is this utilising PSN’s DNS?
A: Currently there is one registered domain, not utilising PSN’s DNS.
Q: Does WFD have an existing Microsoft Office support account that they will be expecting the appointed supplier to utilise in the event of Teams telephony based issues?
A: WFD would require the supplier’s Microsoft Support account. Currently, access is granted via the Microsoft Partner Centre.
Q: Could the number and frequency, on an annual basis, of audits be provided?
A: There are no further audits planned this financial year. WFD would be happy to discuss the assumptions with shortlisted suppliers.
Q: Are there existing tools in place to automate the deployment of patches?
A: WFD would be happy to review patching requirements with the successful bidder.
Q: What is the scope of the reporting requirements so that we can qualify if there is specific tooling required?
A: These are reactive reports in the case of an event that requires investigation, such as a suspected breach. Reporting requirements will vary.
Q: Are vendor specific support and maintenance agreements in place for these (with the exception of the Financial Accounting Software)? Are there any dependencies for the Financial Accounting Software or other software services e.g. authentication via Active Directory provided/integrated with MSO365
A: There are maintenance agreements in place for the main systems that WFD use. WFD would be happy to go into greater detail with shortlisted bidders.
Q: Is there an availability target for IT Services (e.g. 99.99%) and is this consistent/the same across all IT services or only for certain, critical services only? Capacity – Are there defined thresholds on capacity which need to be monitored and reacted to? (storage limits, WAN utilisation?) Availability – Are there defined up-times per service? (e.g. 99.5%
A: WFD would expect this to form part of the discussions of an appropriate SLA with the new supplier.
Q: Can WFD confirm that present incumbent will provide all information requested as part of ‘discovery’ with WFD acting as an escalation point in the event requests are not met by the present incumbent in a timely manner?
A: WFD will make best endeavours to ensure that any transition period is as smooth as possible. If applicable. The winning supplier would be expected to lead this process.
Q: On the tender notice a value of £189k is published – Is this per annum or for the 4 year contract term? And assume it is ex VAT?
A: This field relates to the whole contract term, and is the minimum expected contract value. It correlates to the threshold that is required for public bodies to use the Find a Tender service.
Q: Are you currently Cyber Essentials Plus certified?
A: WFD is Cyber Essentials certified.
Q: What has prompted the current tender process? (e.g., Are you approaching the end of the current outsourcing contract, market testing as part of a good governance strategy or looking for a partner who can provide a greater depth and breadth of services?)
A: As a public body, WFD has a responsibility to ensure that the services it procures continue to offer good value for money to the taxpayer. As such, WFD periodically re-tenders higher value contracts.
Q: Do you have an existing internal IT function, and if so, how many staff members does this consist of and what are their roles and responsibilities?
A: IT is currently overseen by part of the Operations Team, who act as the Intelligent Client Function for the IT support contract. There are two members of the team that have regular contact with the supplier, who oversee supplier performance and act as a point of authorisation where required.
Q: Has your organisation developed a Target Operating Model for the desired outsourced IT services?
A: WFD would be open to discussing this with shortlisted suppliers.
Q: Does your physical London office require a proactive or reactive approach to onsite support? What are the organisation’s views of the future with regards to in office working?
A: WFD requires provision for at least one scheduled visit quarterly, which may or may not be required. The support level would generally be first-line for staff laptop issues, or for general patching and maintenance (if required). WFD has recently adopted an Agile Working Policy. Staff are given the flexibility to work remotely where their role allows, or the option to work in the office permanently or on selected days.
Q: What is the expectation for onsite support to the International users?
A: No onsite support is expected for international users.
Q: Noting the requirement for all personnel to undergo Baseline Personnel Security Standard vetting, does this preclude the provision of service desk services from any location outside of the UK?
A: The BPSS procedure would apply to all staff who need to attend WFD’s HQ in-person.
Q: Do you currently benefit from a proactive SOC service, and if so, does this include remediation? Is this envisaged to be a requirement?
A: Details of SOC offering should be costed separately.
Q: Are there any Line of Business applications that require patching, and if so, how often is this anticipated?
A: There are no line of business applications that require patching.
Q: Do you have any requirements related to data sovereignty? Where is data currently stored?
A: Data is currently stored primarily in UK datacentres. WFD is the data controller for the purposes of the UK GDPR and we would expect the selected supplier to comply with the UK GDPR/Data Protection Act 2018 as a data processor.
Q: How is the organisation currently licenced including Server Operating Systems? (e.g., Volume Licencing, SPLA, CSP, EA Agreement). Where CSP licencing is used, is there an intention to novate any existing agreements to the new provider to act as the Tier 1 CSP partner? Is government licencing currently in use?
A: There is currently a mix of volume licensing and CSP. The intention would be to novate the CSP agreements to the new provider. Government licensing is currently not in use.
Q: Is there a desire or aversion to migrating on-premise servers into a hosted platform/IaaS?
A: WFD wishes to migrate on-prem servers to the cloud within the next 12 months.
Q: Are there any existing requirements for application development (SharePoint, PowerApps etc.) or expected future plans that have been scoped in any way?
A: WFD will be scoping further SharePoint / PowerApps work against our existing supplier contract in late summer.
Q: Do WFD host their own website on the core infrastructure?
A: WFD’s website is hosted externally.
Q: Who would be the key stakeholders involved in strategic decision making related to IT change?
A: IT is currently overseen by part of the Operations Team, who act as the Intelligent Client Function for the IT support contract. There are two members of the team that have regular contact with the supplier, who oversee supplier performance and act as a point of authorisation where required. Ultimate strategic decision making related to IT change would fall with the Operations Director.
Q: Is there any indication of the teams call plan that is currently in use for the PSTN Service or the operator that is used for the PSTN Breakout?
A: WFD uses Microsoft Business Voice licenses and Communication Credits, rather than direct routing
Q: Could we please clarify if any of the hardware, including printers, servers, nas, laptops, switches or access points are leased?
A: None of the hardware is leased
Q: Do you have non-EU staff subject to other laws?
A: Outside of the UK, WFD employs staff locally.
Q: Does WFD utilise any other networks? e.g. FCDO, GOV
A: We do not use any other networks
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