Castle Howard IT Procurement Project

BPG were instructed to provide advice and support for an IT procurement project for Castle Howard (CH), a popular tourist attraction and place of historic interest welcoming more than 250,000 visitors a year. As well as managing access to the stately home and gardens the estate also has five shopping outlets, three cafes and a restaurant as well as numerous holiday cottages, a holiday park and camping/caravan park.  They were undertaking a large, complex IT transformation programme to update and replace multiple IT systems to manage and support improved processes for the many and various types of customer interaction with the estate: buying tickets for an event, membership, booking holiday accommodation or eating at one of the many food outlets. The IT solution covered all business areas including support functions such as catering, stock control etc. Managing multiple stakeholders with different views on requirements and priorities added another level of complexity. 

Phase 1 – Pre-Procurement

  • Discovery – this began with a document review. CH were tasked to provide us with any relevant documentation such as outline requirements, business case, governance information, lessons learned from previous procurement/current relationship or any other project documentation to input into the process.  
  • Kick-Off Meeting – We then held an initial kick-off meeting/workshop to set the scene, established project structure/governance and outlined both the RFI and overall procurement processes. We also used the meeting to start initial requirements-gathering.  
  • Requirements Gathering – we conducted the requirements gathering process, for business and technical requirements, which involved detailed on-site discussions with key staff and stakeholders. We used our requirements-gathering templates to record and collate the full scope of requirements.  
  • Documentation Drafting – We worked in consultation with CH stakeholders and key personnel to draft the RFI documentation based on our own templates, which were tailored to meet the specific needs of the project. 
  • Approvals – We conducted a thorough review and approvals process with CH in order to obtain full sign-off of RFI documentation.  
  • Market Knowledge – using our detailed knowledge of the IT market and experience from other similar procurement projects we identified appropriate recipients for the RFI/ITT 
  • RFI process – following the successful completion of the preparatory work we issued of RFI document and carried out the assessment of responses pursuant to next stage of process.  

Having successfully delivered the outputs required by CH for their Phase 1 procurement activities we were asked to deliver Phase 2 the ITT Stage.   

Phase 2 – Procurement

Invitation To Tender (ITT)

  • Incorporating relevant feedback from RFI stage to produce a well written ITT document 
  • Undertaking further detailing/refinement of requirements 
  • Developing and agreeing on bid evaluation framework 
  • Drafting and agreeing ITT documentation 
  • Provision of BPG standard-form contract 
  • Issue of the ITT 

Finalising ITP and ToR for scoping exercise

  • Drafting an Invitation to Proceed (ITP) letter 
  • Drafting the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Scoping exercise  
  • Issuing both documents to the preferred supplier 

Conducting the Scoping Exercise 

  • Supporting CH where necessary during the preferred supplier’s scoping exercise 

Full Proposal Submission and Evaluation 

  • Preparing evaluation workbooks and supporting materials 
  • Reviewing the full proposal and provide feedback to CH 
  • Running proposal evaluation/scoring workshops  
  • Supporting clarifications as necessary 
  • Supporting CH in making a final decision 
  • Drafting award letter

Negotiation of contract for supply 

  • Identifying the most suitable contract to use 
  • Providing advice and support to CH for contract negotiations  
  • Finalisation of contract document bundle and execution. 

IT Procurement Project Outcomes

We completed all of the above activities on time, within budget and to the client’s full satisfaction. The procurement process was conducted in accordance with fair, open and transparent procurement processes which we supported through to the successful start of contract with the new supplier.