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United Kingdom-Reading: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Voluntary ex ante transparency notice
Section I: Contracting authority/entity
Section II: Object
Defra Europe and Trade Digital Delivery Partner
Development and support and maintenance services for the provision of stable platforms to support UK imports and exports of live animals, products of animal origin and the chemicals manufacturing industry. These systems provide vital documentation required to maintain biosecurity and facilitate trade across UK borders and, ensure the safety of the UK’s chemicals.
These systems provide UK access to a number of businesses and individuals.
Defra is seeking a new short term (seven months) development and application management support contract to continue development and associated support of the services in support of the UK transition period as the UK leaves the EU
Defra is to embark on a procurement exercise to establish a digital delivery partner to provide enhancement of existing applications and development of new services and support and maintenance services following the completion of the transition period for the UK’s exit from the EU and ahead of the contract termination date of 31 March 2021, and as such this award is only for a short term.
Section IV: Procedure
This award is for a digital delivery partner contract to provide support to Defra’s digital services to ensure service continuity in the forthcoming period to cover the end of the transition period and the UK’s exit from the European Union on 31 December 2020 as well as the subsequent initial trading period from January 2021 to March 2021. This contract is for a period of seven months (to the end of March 2021).
The need for this award arises as the timeline to transition to another supplier is tight due to the expiry of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
These digital services provide for stable platforms to support UK imports, exports and the chemicals manufacturing industry and are essential for Defra. These systems provide vital documentation required to maintain biosecurity and facilitate trade across UK borders and, ensure the safety of the UK’s chemicals.
This award is made to Kainos Software Ltd. under Regulation 32(2)(b)(ii) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015/102, on the basis that ‘competition is absent [from other suppliers] for technical reasons’ and further that “no reasonable alternative or substitute exists and the absence of competition is not the result of an artificial narrowing down of the parameters of the procurement’. The technical reasons are, by definition, complex and interrelated, but they follow from the following three facts.
One, it would be impossible, or near impossible for a new supplier to gain an understanding of the business requirements in the time available and, in particular, establish the customer intimacy necessary in order to deliver the services in the time available. Two, it would be impossible, or near impossible, for a new supplier to gain the technical understanding of the current digital services that is needed to complete the development of the services and the provision of technical support in the time available, particularly due to the digital services being agile in nature, requiring an interactive and developmental approach to their design. The learning curve for any new supplier would be so steep that there is an undeniable risk that the services would not be delivered adequately in the necessary timeframes. Three, it will be very difficult for a new supplier to provide the level of support required in the first 3 months of operation and the period up to the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020, when the delivery of the digital services will be critical to Defra and this would create an unacceptable risk of service delivery failure.
The situation is also exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19 on both the UK Government and the suppliers, which will make handover/transition to a new supplier and delivery of the services more difficult than is normally the case.
These factors taken together would be likely to have a significant adverse impact on the potential for a successful outcome to any procurement run at this time.
Section V: Award of contract/concession
Section VI: Complementary information