Awarded to TSO - The Stationery Office

Start date: Friday 1 November 2019
Value: £348,300
Company size: SME
The National Archives Front-end Development

17 Incomplete applications

16 SME, 1 large

15 Completed applications

14 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Monday 22 July 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 29 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 5 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A strategic, expert partner needed to build a responsive, compliant and accessible front end to implement new designs and wireframes for and provide a seamless and progressively enhanced user experience that aids legal certainty, as the UK leaves the EU. HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript and some XSLT, experience essential.
Latest start date
Sunday 1 September 2019
Expected contract length
6-9 months – we are aiming to release a redesigned website in Beta in Q1 2020.
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Budget range
£300-500k, excluding VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done is the UK’s official legislation website, used by millions of citizens to do their jobs or defend their rights. Groundbreaking in 2010, the website’s interface (see is showing its age. As the UK leaves the EU, requiring us to publish over 150,000 additional legislative documents, the interface needs rebuilding to deliver the content and features that will help users to understand the legislation they are viewing.

We’ve designed and tested wireframes and prototypes. We need a strategic and expert partner capable of building a responsive, compliant and accessible front-end that interacts with the API, to deliver our designs.
Problem to be solved
Building a progressively enhanced interface to the existing and expanding API that meets the designs. You will:
• Advise on strategic build issues where challenges or constraints present a variety of options
• Build a responsive, rich, sophisticated, standards compliant and accessible interface with the features that implements our designs and aids legal certainty for users.
• Build the front end logic to seamlessly deliver against a wide range of complex user scenarios, using the API.
• Build front end transformations that speedily provide large and complex documents to the user.
• Build a front end that complies with
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a non-legally trained professional I need to quickly cite and access relevant legislation and be alerted when that legislation is revised so that I am confident I’m complying with the law.

As a citizen, I need clear messages - is the legislation in force and up to date? Does it apply to where I live? Are other resources clearly signposted - to help me understand what I’m looking at.

As a law librarian I need sophisticated search and to view legislation at different levels and at different points in time so that I can accurately respond to solicitors’ enquiries.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done has been live for 10 years. The content, core platform and APIs are mature and robust. We have recently completed an in-depth discovery phase of work, which has included analysis of user surveys and in-depth usability labs to identify user needs, and their understanding of legislation. A set of five user personas have been developed to explore the context, needs and behaviours of each user, and identifying a primary persona. We have created wireframes for two design concepts and tested prototypes with users. We will provide design and interaction guidelines for you to work with when implementing our designs.
Existing team
You will need to work collaboratively with three teams:
• The National Archives’ legislation team;
• Our external contractor (The Stationery Office, who are responsible for the architecture and API will undertake any additional development required on the API and data infrastructure) and sub-contractors;
• Our external UX consultant consultants (who have undertaken user research, and who will provide website design and wireframes).

The project will be led by our User Experience and Online Services Manager, working with our Data Manager, Legislation Services Programme Manager, legislation editors, and managing our contractor, The Stationery Office and our usability experts, Bunnyfoot.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The Legislation Services team is based at The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.
Working arrangements
You do not need to be based in London, however we expect you to be available to meet face-to-face with the Legislation Services internal team and partner contractors as required. Co-location within The National Archives is preferred.

We require you to undertake development using agile methodologies, including fortnightly sprints, daily stand-ups and regular retrospectives, though your preferred ways of working will be taken into account.
Security clearance
None required, unless you co-locate at The National Archives. In this instance, baseline security clearance will be required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Experience of XML, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and XSLT capability
  • Skilled using progressive enhancement ( to leverage JavaScript and CSS with only HTML being a requirement
  • Experience of meeting the challenges associated with serving large and complex documents to users
  • Skilled using ( to expose structured data in web pages
  • Experience of providing for ongoing service measurement ( in line with the Service Manual
  • Experience of providing for ongoing A/B testing to allow the service to evolve incrementally
  • Experience of building a front-end for content heavy, feature-rich websites
  • Experience of integrating websites with RESTful APIs, other applications and databases/feeds
  • Experience of delivering technical projects using agile methodology
  • Experience of implementing responsive web designs
  • Experience of building front-ends that are optimised for commonly used devices and major operating systems
  • Experience of delivering digital services to at least a AA WCAG 2.1 web accessibility standard (
  • Strategic thinking and technical innovation, able to solve build problems and negotiate challenges
  • Able to work collaboratively with TNA and third parties, to deliver to fixed deadlines and to budget
  • Experience of adopting user-centred approaches consistent with the Service Standard (
  • Expertise and capability in information security controls and encryption protocols
  • Experience in transition and handover – ensuring that others can easily use the code you have produced
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Examples of building front end interfaces for content heavy, functionality-driven, public-facing websites
  • Examples of using progressive enhancement ( to leverage JavaScript and CSS with only HTML being a requirement
  • Examples of using WAI-ARIA ( to ensure dynamic content and controls communicate changes to assistive technologies
  • Examples of solving build challenges – specifying your role and contribution to delivering the solution
  • Examples of encoding structured data in web pages using, for example, (
  • Examples of where you have used HTML 5, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Examples of where you have built front-ends that comply with the Service Standard (
  • Examples of where you have built accessible front-ends ( to WCAG and testing with users of assistive technology
  • Examples of the audit process you have used to ensure your site is WCAG compliant
  • Experience of developing and automating unit and end-to-end tests for digital services
  • Examples of coding documentation produced and/or commented code you have produced
  • Evidence of where you have successfully worked to fixed timelines and budgets
  • How you ensure security eg for passwords, access, using plug-ins and out of the box products
  • CVs of the team you would use for this project
Cultural fit criteria
  • Collaborative working approach eg how you have worked with back end developers/usability experts as a team
  • Examples of where you have built front end interfaces within constraints
  • Your approaches to project management and your experience of successfully using agile project methodologies
  • Evidenced examples of how you’ve approached and delivered transition and handover of your code and front end
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Asking for the CVs clouds the IR35 rules. Can you confirm if this roles falls outside of IR35?
Our intention in requesting CVs is to allow us to assess the skills and experience of the personnel who will be assigned to this project. It has nothing to do with tax status or liabilities; we would expect any appointed supplier to comply with the law.
2. Who carried out the redesign work and (if it's an agency) will they be pitching for the Front end work?
The design work is being done by our User Experience and Online Services Manager working with our contractor, Bunnyfoot. We do not expect them to be pitching for this work.
3. "Able to work collaboratively with TNA and third parties, to deliver to fixed deadlines and to budget"
Can you please inform us what the "TNA" mentioned above refers to. Thank you.
TNA is an abbreviation of The National Archives.
4. We would like to put out the following question in connection to experience of meeting the challenges associated with serving large and complex documents to users /Essential skills and experience:
• Question: Experience of meeting the challenges associated with serving large and complex documents to users. Please clarify "large and complex documents"
By large and complex documents we mean pieces of legislation, for example the Data Protection Act 2018 or the Financial Services and Markets Act, where the document is large, and where the structure is complex – many Parts, Chapters and Schedules. A user may wish to open all of the Act, or just elements of it. To understand more about the types of document that you will need to serve, visit
5. We are keen to understand more detail about the scope and breadth of the work undertaken in the discovery phase. Are you able to share the outputs of this phase of work, please?
The Discovery work is still underway, and we are in the process of carrying out user research, including an online user survey, the development of wireframes, and user testing on these wireframes. We are aiming to be in a position to share the results of this activity with shortlisted bidders.
6. You note a requirement for "XSLT capability". We note from the existing front-end Git repo an extensive use of XSLT for transforming data to HTML. What do you see the use cases for XSLT in this project?
HTML on the website is dynamically generated by using the XSLT transforms on page request. A use case is that it might be necessary to enhance the transforms depending on the functionality proposed and for any suggested improvements to the HTML-5 and markup enhancements, for example metadata.
7. You note: "As a law librarian I need sophisticated search". Does the API include a sophisticated search that will meet your needs, or will this need to be developed as part of this project?
The API does include search. The search is powered by the back end database and not the frontend logic. There may be work to design frontend functionality to implement or expose enhanced database search for users.
8. Can you provide any Discovery reports or user research that have already been undertaken? If not now, then once you are in the shortlisting process?
Discovery and User Research activity is still in progress. We will be in a position to share the results of user research and discovery activity with shortlisted bidders.
9. You note: "Skilled using progressive enhancement to leverage JavaScript and CSS with only HTML being a requirement". I understand this to mean the core website must work with HTML & CSS with no requirement for JavaScript for the user to access content and core functionality. This is how we normally build sites and web apps but I wanted to check this is a correct assumption?
Yes – the current site uses JavaScript but it must be possible for it to function without it, for accessibility reasons.
10. Would TNA be open to a supplier proposing user research and service design capability, to work alongside the usability experts, to iteratively develop the website?
No – this is already being done and is out of scope for this procurement.
11. You note: "front end transformations that speedily provide large and complex documents". Do you have any information on the document formats these complex document are currently in?
The base format for most legislation document content on the website is XML conforming to the Crown Legislation Mark-up Language (CLML) schema. You can access the XML data via the legislation API by adding "/data.xml" to any legislation content page URI i.e. the XML version of the page. This data is stored in a native XML database and transformed into several different formats for different uses. These include:
• the default XHTML view (/data.htm)
• an Akoma Ntoso XML version e.g.
• an HTML5 serialisation of the Akoma Ntoso XML, for example.
• generated PDFs, e.g.
12. Could you please confirm your expected timelines for the additional assessment methods following shortlisting?
The timelines will depend on the quantity and quality of the bids received, however, it is our intention to notify shortlisted suppliers by the end of week commencing 5th August. It is also our intention to invite written bids from shortlisted suppliers to be submitted by August 30th, with invitations to present bids in person the following week (commencing 2nd September).
13. Do you have a timeline for the shortlisting and choosing supplier process? Will there be an opportunity to meet face-to-face to explore this project in more detail with you?
The timelines will depend on the quantity and quality of the bids received, however, it is our intention to notify shortlisted suppliers by the end of week commencing 5th August. It is also our intention to invite written bids from shortlisted suppliers to be submitted by August 30th, with invitations to present bids in person the following week (commencing 2nd September). We can offer shortlisted suppliers the opportunity to meet face-to-face if that would be helpful in the preparation of a successful bid.