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United Kingdom-London: Telecommunications services
Prior information notice
This notice is for prior information only
Section I: Contracting authority
Section II: Object
The ECHO2 Programme: Network Integration Services Procurement
The FCO ECHO2 Programme published a PIN: 2019-146075 dated 21 October 19 to initiate pre-market analysis for two strands of the procurement:
1) the procurement of a Network Services Integrator (NSI); and
2) the establishment and operation of a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for the procurement of internet services.
The proposed approach to the disaggregation of global connectivity services is currently provided under a framework agreement with a single provider.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the British Council (BC) (together the ‘Partners’) are developing the tender documentation for the procurement of Network Integration Services (the ‘Services’) using the competitive procedure for negotiation via a framework agreement with a single successful NSI.
The anticipated scope of the NSI will incorporate the service management and network integration functions, the provision of private circuits (i.e. MPLS, VSAT satellite) and next generation network platform and a secure internet gateway. The NSI will be expected to manage third party provided internet connections to approximately 500 sites in over 170 countries.
The services are required to connect ministerial headquarters and other head offices in the United Kingdom with their respective embassies, consulates and other office locations across the globe totalling approximately 500 sites in 170 countries.
A descriptive document can be obtained by contacting Craig Wormleighton (see section I.1)).
2) Initial pre-market engagement.
During the pre-market engagement in October 2019, the authority and its partners tested the measured approach to the disaggregation of the global connectivity services across the two strands of procurement, NSI and DPS and the use of more flexible procurement options to align with perceived changes in the global telecommunications market.
3) Purpose of further market engagement.
The authority and its partners intend to conduct further market engagement for the procurement of an NSI with the objectives of:
— updating potential suppliers on the ECHO2 Programme progress, strategy, business objectives and developments in the procurement process,
— validating the key procurement artefacts to seek feedback, further inputs and assure is fit for purpose, and
— serving as a limited market warming exercise allowing potential suppliers to assess the opportunity;
Please note that:
(i) the authority and its partners intend to invite a limited (but representative) sample of potential suppliers based on the expressions of interest received by 17.00 GMT on Tuesday 11 March 2020, to participate in the market engagement;
(ii) on the basis that it may not be possible for the authority to accommodate 1:1 meetings with all potential suppliers expressing an interest in participating in the market engagement meetings, the authority and its partners plan to run one or more plenary briefing sessions either face to face or via a conference call;
(iii) potential suppliers who are interested in either:
— participating in the 1:1 sessions, and/or
— attending a plenary briefing, and/or
— obtaining sight of draft procurement artefacts should express their interest by contacting Craig Wormleighton;
(iv) meetings will be held in Central London around 23rd to 25th March.
The potential suppliers will, subject to signing a Non-disclosure Agreement, be sent selected procurement artefacts in advance to prepare questions and discuss during the further market engagement.
On completion of the market engagement phase, the FCO plans to review the relevant information with a view to issuing to potential suppliers a market engagement synopsis. This will include the same information provided to the suppliers who participated in the market engagement phase and will summarise the FCO's findings. Any potential supplier that would like to receive a copy of this synopsis should contact Craig Wormleighton.
Questionnaires may be used to seek formal feedback after the market engagement event to better inform the authority and its partners as it finalises the procurement artefacts.
Please note that the participation of suppliers in this further market engagement phase will have no impact whatsoever on their chances of success in any resultant formal procurement procedure and non-participating potential suppliers will not be unfairly disadvantaged in any way. The market engagement synopsis will be issued well in advance of the FCO commencing the Network Integration Services formal procurement under the ECHO2 Programme, ensuring that all potential suppliers have sufficient time to review the information before deciding whether to express an interest in the procurement.
The FCO will be the contracting authority, acting on behalf of the partners and potentially other UK Central Government bodies.
It is envisaged but not guaranteed that the contract notices for the services procurement will be published in May 2020. The date listed of 1 May 2020 is therefore an estimate.
Section IV: Procedure
Section VI: Complementary information
The authority, the partners and potentially other UK Central Government bodies will use the framework agreement for a term of four (4) calendar years from the date of execution, to procure the services through individual call-off contracts. It is anticipated that the initial call-off contracts will be for an expected maximum duration of five (5) years with options to extend for up to a total of two (2) further years.
The authority estimates that the total value of the Services procurement will be between GBP 50 million and GBP 80 million for the initial call-off term of five (5) years.