The guidelines have the following objectives:
- to enable a common understanding and context of what modern web sites offer and how they are powered (Part I)
- to identify and review issues that are specific to court web sites, as opposed to web sites in general (Part II)
- to develop a principled approach to court web site development (Part III)
- to make specific recommendations on the modernization of court web sites based on modern web site context, court web site issues and selected principles (Part IV)
Part V of the guidelines facilitates adoption of the recommendations in Part IV by providing tools to help courts make the best decisions and secure the right resources, especially if a new platform (software) or solution provider is deemed necessary to power the court web site.
Below, I am sharing our draft on topic. As usual, I’m grateful for any comment or suggestion you may have – merci!
Court Web Site Requests for Proposals (RFP’s)
If a change in web site platform is desired in order to meet the current guidelines, there are two potential RFP’s to consider:
- a Web Content Management System RFP
- a Solution Provider RFP
The Web Content Management System RFP is necessary if the court wants a new platform to run the court web site. The objective of this RFP is to secure the services of a team of developers that will deliver a complete web site adhering to the principles laid out in the current guidelines. Once the web site has been developed, that team of developers should no longer be needed.
The Solution Provider RFP is necessary if the Court wants to outsource the hosting, backup, management, operations and maintenance of the court web site. The Solution Provider can be, but does not have to be, the winning bidder of the WCMS RFP.
Courts that are prepared to internally host and manage their web site do not need a Solution Provider, but they will need dedicated resources to manage the web site.
The Web Content Management RFP and the Solution Provider RFP suggestions below are provided with the following assumptions in mind:
- the court needs a new platform to manage its public web site and wants a Web Content Management System to provide this platform (in accordance with recommendation #1 of the current guidelines)
- the court wants to choose a stable well known platform with a large number of developers experienced in applying, implementing and maintaining it in order to: (a) prevent any lock-in or dependency towards a particular Vendor; and (b) ensure that many hosting options are, and in the future remain, available
Web Content Management System (WCMS) Request for Proposal (RFP)
The CCCT recommends that the WCMS RFP contain the following elements:
- overview section: purpose of the RFP, summary of requirements and approximate value of contract
- background section: stating the court web site history and its current modernization objectives
- contact section: court web site contacts with details of their roles in relation to the court web site project
- submission format and timeline section: specifies to interested bidders the proposal format for submission, the timetable for responses and clarifications, evaluation period, contract award and contract start and end dates
- client knowledge section: specifies to interested bidders how many “internal knowledge workers” and resources will be committed to this contract to work hand-in-hand with the chosen developer. This section is necessary because it lets bidders know how to prepare and adjust their proposals accordingly. The proposal can vary significantly if in-house technical resources are identified to work with the developer from the beginning. If no such resources are available, this should be specified
- requirements section: outlines to interested bidders what their proposal must contain. This section should ask interested bidders to include in their proposal
- the proposed, named Web Content Management System and why the bidder recommends this particular product
- their approach and work plan for this contract
- how their development efforts will minimize later update and upgrade costs
- 3 design / theme proposals (if wanted by the court) – note: this is the look and feel of the court web site
- evidence of capability – bidders to provide at least two examples of similar complex sites successfully delivered to clients willing to act as references
- resources – bidders should name and present the team who would be committed to this project
- deliverables section: outlines the deliverables due under contract and the associated timetable. Deliverables should include:
- a Theme Proposal (proposed visual depictions of the web site, typically shown to the client as mockups, and which precede any theme development)
- a Web Site Proposal (presentation outlining proposed web site functions, characteristics, content types, navigation system, user and content permission system, interactivity features, etc. – this precedes any coding of the web site)
- a Theme (completion of the theme as per client approval of one proposed mockup)
- a Web Site (completion of the web site as per client approval of the web site proposal with adjustments, if applicable)
- a Final Report (the information needed to perform future updates, upgrades, further development and/or customization, transfer of site to alternative hosting platform, backup and restore strategy, etc.)
- search Engine Optimization section: requests bidders to outline their approach to correctly provide web site content to search engines (or to not expose some content – if so desired by the court – e.g. judicial decisions)
- migration of Content and Users section: if the court wants the bidder to include efforts related to migrating content and/or users from a legacy court web site or other information source, the RFP should ask the bidder to outline their approach in this section
- terms and Conditions section: bidders are to include the contract value in terms of fixed price and/or hourly billing, payment terms, copyright in works delivered and warranty and support conditions
- evaluation Criteria: see section C, Part V of the guidelines.
Solution Provider Request for Proposal (RFP)
Upon completion of the above contract, the Court is in position to inherit a fully functional court web site. At that point it may prefer to host and manage the new web site internally, or to outsource the hosting and management to a third party herein referred to as a “Solution Provider”.
In the latter case, a distinct RFP containing the following sections should be issued:
- overview section: states the purpose of the RFP, summary of requirements and approximate yearly value of the contract, if known
- background section: details the court web site platform, content, usage and hosting specifications
- contact sections: Court contacts and their roles in relation to the court web
- submission format and timeline section: specifies to interested bidders in what format the proposal should be submitted, the timetable for responses and clarifications, proposal submissions, evaluation period, contract award and contract start and end dates, with renewal options
- a client knowledge section, specifying to interested bidders how many “internal knowledge” and resources will be committed to this contract, if any, to work hand-in-hand with the chosen solution provider. If no such resources are available, this should be specified
- a requirements section, outlining to interested bidders what their proposal must contain. This section should ask interested bidders to include in their proposal
- the proposed hosting environment and why the bidder recommends this particular one
- their approach and work plan for this contract, including one-time web site migration efforts to the new hosting environment
- how the recommended hosting environment will provide the desired security
- backup and restore strategy
- evidence of capability – bidders to provide at least two examples of similar complex sites successfully hosted and clients willing to act as references
- resources – bidders should name and present the team who would be committed to this project
- proposed Service Level Agreement(s) – how bidder intends to provide support services to the client
- a deliverables section, outlining what are the specific deliverables due under contract and the associated timetable. This list of deliverables should include:
- Migration Proposal (steps leading to the complete migration of the web site from its former hosting environment to its new one
- Migration (completed migration report certifying the site is operating as planned under the new hosting environment)
- a Terms and Conditions section, including the contract value in terms of fixed price and/or hourly billing, payment terms, copyright in works delivered and warranty and support conditions
- the court may optionally include a “development services” section, allowing the court to call-up ad hoc development services from the Solution Provider to further customize its web site beyond its initial configuration. If this section is included in the RFP, the bidders should present development costs and evidence of capability on providing such development services
- an Evaluation Criteria section, as suggested in Part V of the guidelines
Note: the draft evaluation criteria will be presented in the next post.