Expressions of Interest sought for Faster Payments infrastructure competition

Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL) is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced parties by 31 October 2017 for the renewal and associated full management of its NPA compliant infrastructure – the data services that enable the UK’s 24/7 real-time payment service to function consistently and securely.

Interested parties are required to provide the following information and documentation as part of their expression of interest:

Company details:

  1. Company Name
  2. Ownership/shareholders
  3. Company number or equivalent
  4. Board membership
  5. Audited accounts for the last 3 financial years
  6. Date of incorporation or equivalent
  7. Point of contact details including name, position, telephone and email

Guidelines on how to respond to the above are set out on the form provided on FPSL’s website. Please note: failure to provide full information may preclude parties from proceeding to the RFI phase.

The following information is also requested for information purposes only:

  • Rationale for why they should be invited to submit an RFI response.
  • Number of staff, with details of operation and development team sizes.
  • Geographic location(s) of operation nationally and internationally.
  • Location of Data Centres (if applicable).
  • Confirmation of and outline of experience in payment processing, especially real-time and 24*7 operations or other real-time services, if applicable

Single supplier, multiple supplier and consortium models will be considered. Where a consortium or multiple supplier group is formed, FPSL expects to have a single interface or appointed points of contact with a nominated prime contractor.

All expressions of interest should be returned by 31 October 2017 to using the form provided here.


The Procurement Process

Parties are expected to demonstrate the commitment to excellence in payments processing required to enable over a billion secure, immediate payments a year.


Parties will be evaluated against the same criteria and scoring to ensure the process is fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and with equality of disclosure.  Please note that neither this process nor FPSL fall within the scope of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (as may be amended from time to time) or any other form of UK or EU procurement legislation.

The Procurement process will be split into three phases:


  1. Expression of Interest (EOI) (end Q3 2017)

After a review period, interested parties will receive confirmation of their eligibility/ineligibility to proceed to the following phase.


  1. Request for Information (RFI) (Q4 2017)

Subject to entering into an appropriate non-disclosure agreement with FPSL, eligible parties following review of the EOIs will receive an RFI questionnaire, inviting them to provide further information, suggestions and approaches to the challenges outlined in the document. Innovation and thought leadership will be welcomed. All parties will have the opportunity to ask for clarification or expansion on any questions in dedicated Q&A sessions.


  1. Request for Proposal (RFP) (end Q1 2018)

Those parties who responded to the RFI questionnaire will receive an RFP questionnaire and a copy of the draft contract, and will be invited to provide detailed information on the questions posed. Additionally, they will be asked to provide timelines with supporting costs and resource requirements. All responding parties will also be expected to accept the terms and conditions of the contract or, where applicable, to comment on any exceptions to the contract.

RFP responses will be reviewed and scored by an FPSL panel applying the same rigour and criteria to all responding parties, and the scoring will determine which parties are shortlisted for final selection.

Shortlisted parties will be invited to present to an FPSL panel and a Best and Final Offer may be requested. Depending on whether reference customers are provided, additional visits to reference sites by the FPSL panel may be carried out.  Parties not shortlisted will have the opportunity to have a follow-up session with feedback on the rationale for non-selection.

The timelines outlined above are indicative only.   FPSL reserves the right not to award any contract, to make whatever changes it sees fit to the structure and timing of the procurement or to cancel the procurement at any time.  


Contract award

After an evaluation period, the successful bidder will be notified, as will the bidder selected as the ‘preferred reserve’. All parties will be notified of their outcome and unsuccessful parties will have the opportunity to have feedback on the rationale for non-selection.


Further questions

Questions and communications should be routed via the dedicated mailbox using the same address used for submission of the EOI. No direct contact should be made with teams or individuals within FPSL. Any communications regarding procurement directly addressed to individuals within FPSL will be deleted and will not receive a response. 

Q: What is Faster Payments Scheme Ltd (FPSL) procuring?

A: The procurement being led by FPSL is for the real-time 24*7 push payment clearing and settlement risk management system, an element of the New Payments Architecture (NPA).  The NPA will replace the Faster Payments System. Once Faster Payments becomes part of the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), which is consolidating the UK’s retail payment schemes, the NPSO will be responsible for further stages of the procurement process as well as the development of the rules and standards for the other components of the NPA.


Q: Please could you confirm whether you are looking for a company to host the already existing systems (set up by Vocalink), or are you looking for new systems to deploy?

A: We are looking for a strategic partner to design, build, test and deploy a new system and to manage the subsequent service and associated infrastructure.


Q: When do potential vendors for one or more element of the procurement need to advise Faster Payments who they are partnering up with?

A: This would only become relevant to FPSL at the RFP (‘request for proposal’) stage.  At both EOI (‘expression of interest’) and RFI (‘request for information’) submission, there is no requirement to have any arrangements in place with other solution suppliers.   Where any arrangements are already in place, these can be declared at EOI stage, but both RFI and RFP will request confirmation of any changes in partnerships as part of a consortium.


Q: What will FPSL be disclosing post EOI?

A: FPSL will disclose the names of interested parties, but no details as to the elements each party may be interested in.


Q: Do you have any geographic location requirements for Data Centre or service support centres?

A: We currently have no firm requirements as to the location of your operations. However you should note that as the outcome of broader issues such as Brexit become clearer, this may have an impact on our thinking.               


Q: What is meant by "NPA-compliant"?

A: This procurement is for the real-time, 24*7 clearing layer articulated in the Payment Strategy Forum's New Payments Architecture (NPA). At this stage the processing of bulk, unattended, payments is not within the scope of the procurement. However over time the approach to the handling of these transactions will become clearer. Possible outcomes are the creation of a separate clearing infrastructure, on a non-similar basis, or a repositioning of "bulk processing" as an overlay solution, with resultant individual transactions processed on the  realtime, 24*7 clearing system. Resilience, substitutability, performance implications and economic consequences of processing will be some of the factors that will determine the ultimate approach. Vendors should, in any case, be considering scalability of their solutions to meet demand that is orders of magnitude greater than today's Faster Payment volumes, to cater for the potential exponential growth arising from PSD2 and the Internet of Things.


General provisions

This request for EOI is not a recommendation by FPSL or any other person to enter into any agreement or to make any decision. In considering any participation in this procurement, each potential bidder should make its own independent assessment and seek its own legal and financial advice.

FPSL is not bound to accept any offer resulting from this procurement. Nothing in this request for EOI or any other document is to be construed as implying commitment by FPSL or any other person that a contract will be awarded. FPSL, its officers and employees, its agents and advisers are not and shall not be liable for any costs incurred by those expressing an interest or tendering for this procurement, their associated entities or any other person.

This request for EOI does not purport to contain all of the information that an interested party may require. None of FPSL, its officers and employees, its agents or advisers make any representations or warranties (express or implied) or accept any liability or responsibility (other than in respect of fraudulent misrepresentation) in relation to the adequacy, accuracy, reasonableness or completeness of the information provided as part of this procurement or any part of it.

Parties are responsible for ensuring that there are no conflicts of interest either between their own advisers or those of FPSL. Parties must notify FPSL as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes aware of any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest.

The information provided to interested parties is made available on the condition that interested parties shall not:

  • disclose, copy, reproduce, distribute or pass the information to any other person at any time or allow any of these things to happen; and
  • use the information for any purpose other than for the purposes of preparing their responses.

Any party who, in FPSL’s opinion, breaches any of the requirements of this section may at FPSL’s sole discretion be disqualified (without prejudice to any other civil remedies available to FPSL and without prejudice to any criminal liability which such conduct may attract).

FPSL reserves the right to exclude proposals that may risk FPSL failing to comply with its regulatory obligations.