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The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) focuses on improving road safety by setting and enforcing standards for driving and vehicles in the UK. It recently announced, during its technology transformation programme, how it is changing from using primarily outsourced contracts to in-sourced, agile delivered services (using vendors and employees).

With long-term, legacy contracts coming to an end, the department is provided with an opportunity to re-assess strategic direction and look to shorter, more flexible, contracts, where running, improvement and control are kept within the department. Might this be a trend we will see for other public agencies too?

A new digital MOT service is provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) service, handling 42 million MOT tests with more than a billion pounds worth of garage transactions annually, and is the first national government service to be hosted at scale on AWS. This replaces an outsourced 10-year contract with the supplier providing all aspects of the service. At the same time, a technology service desk was deployed, the Technical Support Service (TSS, operated by IT consultancy BJSS) to support the new MOT software application, and its users, currently in use by 23,000 MOT testers around the UK.

The DVSA utilised the government Digital Marketplace to access vendors, needing a single, cohesive team to support the technology projects. We asked James Munson, Director of Digital Services and Technology, a few questions about the transformation, starting with:

What were the procurement challenges?

“The procurement was based on the requirements of the MOT Service and selecting a suitable supplier from the frameworks in the Digital Marketplace. The key challenge was finding vendors who could flex resourcing to meet the demands of the project and deliver using agile methodology with customer need at the forefront. As such, procurement was as much about quality of vendor delivery capability and flexibility, as it was about price.”

And what was their impression of using the Digital Marketplace?

“The Digital Marketplace has made delivery of new digital services much easier with G Cloud and DOS Frameworks, providing a wide variety of vendors that are available to us. Collaboration was initially a challenge, but the multi-vendor, blended delivery team is now working together effectively.”

So, how did the suppliers all work together?

DVSA operates a multi-vendor environment for the MOT service and subsequent business-led continuous improvement process. The teams work in a blended way either in the same location or operating in a virtual way. In the case of the Technical Support Service [our service management function for MOT] the providers were involved in supporting Alpha and private Beta, so became inducted and blended into the one team mentality to build a culture where suppliers work together.”

And how do you contract manage this?

Contracts are in place using standard Crown Commercial Frameworks with Agile ceremonies allowing daily management complimented with formal service management meetings. DVSA has a Vendor Management team which manages the contract performance and variations to the original agreement. Live service is monitored through regular update meetings and visual dashboards providing visibility to the wider service team who can immediately feedback to Vendor Management. An important aspect of MOT is the ability of DVSA, supported by service contracts, to flex resource requirements internally and via suppliers as business change requires it.”

The agency will also be undergoing a similar modernisation journey for the driver and rider services technology and commercial vehicle testing technology which have both also been outsourced for many years.

With the Government’s aim to move towards more agile, short-term, less rigid contracts, the MOT modernisation programme looks to be a good example of this working successfully. Earlier this year DVSA and Kainos won the DL100 award for collaboration recognising the collaboration between users, staff and a multi-vendor team. And the Technical Support Service recently won the ITSM Service Transformation Project of the Year award.

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