Awarded to Gulp Digital

Start date: Monday 18 November 2019
Value: £308,000
Company size: SME
Homes England

HOMES ENGLAND Help to Buy (HtB) Discovery

9 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 2 large

32 Completed applications

22 SME, 10 large

Important dates

Monday 5 August 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 12 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 19 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We are looking to engage an agile delivery team for discovery across the Help to Buy (HtB) product. The outputs we expect from this work are:

• Identified user needs
• Detailed customer journeys
• Customer personas
• Identified constraints to developing the service
• Opportunities for improvement
Latest start date
Monday 23 September 2019
Expected contract length
8 weeks discovery with the possibility to extend into alpha
Organisation the work is for
Homes England
Budget range
Dependent on team/experience.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Homes England plays a vital role in delivering the Government’s target of building 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s. The Help to Buy (HtB): Equity Loan scheme helps consumers to purchase new homes by improving affordability. It supports housing developers by providing greater demand, cash flow certainty and administrative support for SMEs, all of which contribute to Homes England’s strategic objectives.
Our vision is to provide an industry standard service to consumers and developers and deliver a painless and consistent customer experience, which is more customer centric and agile in its approach to continuous improvement.
Problem to be solved
There are multiple stakeholders in the HtB service, with many moving parts (own websites/processes) and cultural ways of working. HtB want to design and own the end-to-end process to provide:

• a better service to all stakeholders
• a seamless service between agents/brokers/advisors/stakeholders; and
• understand our customers and their needs.

We require a user focused discovery team that will use competitor analysis and customer insight to determine user journeys, customer personas and end-to-end customer experience mapped across the service. The work will extend into alpha to explore ideas and build prototypes to solve the problems identified throughout discovery.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our customers are a combination of first time buyers and second steppers who want to enter or move up the property market. Our external users are mortgage advisors, mortgage brokers, developers, independent financial advisors and lenders. We need to ensure that their experience is seamless and uncomplicated.
Early market engagement
Not applicable
Any work that’s already been done
Not applicable
Existing team
The supplier will be working with HtB staff including the existing customer insight team, communications team, project team and existing suppliers.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Various locations across UK.
Working arrangements
Supplier resources will work as part of a blended internal delivery team across the UK and with multiple partners across the service. Flexible working is encouraged across the locations and remotely after an initial on boarding process. We expect teams to reflect the roles and capabilities listed in the Essential Skills section. The team will work using an agile approach.
Security clearance
not applicable

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Travel: should be considered as part of the overall budget

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
  • Experienced in agile delivery in a FinTec environment
  • Demonstrable experience in Service design and UX
  • Flexible commercial approach to delivering the work
  • Established agile delivery team with recent proven experience delivering agile based discovery
  • Recent demonstrable experience in successfully designing and developing products/services using agile methodologies and practices.
  • Recent demonstrable experience using the GDS Design Principles and Digital Service Standard to deliver public facing digital services.
  • Recent demonstrable experience designing digital services that comply with Government security guidelines.
  • Recent demonstrable experience of building capability in client departments and leaving a self-sufficient, sustainable internal capability.
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering end-to-end service design
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Relevant case studies (20%)
  • Proposed approach (20%)
  • Ways of working (15%)
  • Team structure (10%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Ability to work alongside existing teams and bring them along the journey. (5%)
  • Lean agile team with an inclusive approach to developing user centred services. (5%)
  • Understands the importance of inclusion and collaboration.(5%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Do we need to submit pricing with our response at this stage?
No. Pricing will be requested from shortlisted suppliers following valuation of the essential skills submissions.
2. Please can you expand on the sort of example you are looking for in response to, 'Flexible commercial approach to delivering the work'?
We are looking for suppliers to determine innovative and inclusive ways of working.
3. Are you only interested in working with a single supplier across discovery and alpha or is this discovery being procured as a stand alone requirement?
We are interested in suppliers who have the skills/capacity to move into alpha, as we are reserving the option to continue into alpha with the successful supplier.
4. Is there a max budget set for this project?
The budget will be determined by the market response.
5. There has been an incumbent set of suppliers, Futuregov, in-house who specialise in discovery and service design – will they be lined up for this bid given in-house knowledge. Is this an extension of their work or a separate faction of the business outsourcing support?
No, this is a separate piece of work.
6. Where you are seeking for people to demonstrate 'Experience' are you looking for the answer to show depth of experience within a single example or breadth of experience across multiple projects?
The relevant depth of experience might be evidenced within a single example or across multiple examples. Suppliers may provide one or more examples within the 100 word limit.
7. Can you provide some context around what areas of Fintec you are interested in suppliers demonstrating? It is not clear from the question "Experienced in agile delivery in a FinTec environment" what exactly you are looking for people to evidence.
We are looking for familiarity with financial product development in an agile environment.
8. Are you expecting a POC / Prototype as part of the deliverables or would that be added to tranche 2?
This will be addressed in alpha.
9. Is there an existing service design, which would be expected to be reviewed and assessed in this delivery?
10. How much/many resource will be made available to support this delivery?
There will be a small team of 4.
11. What is the expected sample size of stakeholders in order to deliver a sufficient size discovery?
This will be identified throughout discovery, depending on the number of personas, journeys etc.
12. Can you explain specifically why this requirement is deemed essential: "Experienced in agile delivery in a FinTec environment"
Help to Buy is an equity loan product, experience designing financial products/services is highly advantageous.
13. Can you explain what you are looking for organisations to demonstrate when responding to the following question, "Flexible commercial approach to delivering the work"?
See question 2 above.
14. Re. "Established agile delivery team with recent proven experience delivering agile based discovery" – does this mean you are looking for a specific pre-formed small Delivery team that has completed a Discovery, or for the supplier organisation to have this experience as a whole?
The supplier should provide a seasoned team in agile discovery, that has previously worked together.
15. Related to Q1, the DOS Ad states that supplier resources will work as part of a "blended internal delivery team". Can you confirm which roles you would be providing as part of the Discovery team, or should the supplier expect to provide all the usual GDS Discovery roles?
The supplier should expect to provide all the usual GDS discovery roles.
16. Do you have an expected team size in mind to deliver this?
17. I there an appetite to adopt a different form of payment structure; fixed price for example?
Further information will be provided to short-listed supplier. The authority seeks payment linked to milestones and sprint completion.
18. Will the services be assessed against the GDS Service Standard? ( )
19. Can you please provide some more detail on what roles you expect to provide as part of the existing team?
Customer Insight, Business Analysts, Content Designer
20. The opportunity states that the work will take place in various locations across the UK. Can you please clarify what locations you expect to be a focus for this discovery?
Locations are highlighted below:
21. Do you either require or prefer that public sector examples are cited rather than private sector examples? Or, if we have a relevant private sector example, will it be given equal consideration to a public sector example?
Relevant examples will be given equal consideration.
22. As per DOS guidelines 'You should only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement', are you only requesting one example per skills and experience question?
Please see question 6. You may provide one or more examples within your 100 word limit.
23. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would you expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed 'exceeding' and score 3 marks?
A demonstration by the Supplier of exceeding the skills and experience required.
24. Are you looking for an organisation with GDS assessment experience or just certain individuals proposed in the supplier team?
We are looking for a team who have taken discovery and alpha through GDS assessment.
25. Will you be able to organise access to stakeholders throughout the project?
26. Is there a preferred technology stack within the your estate?
N/A at this stage.
27. Are you able to continue straight into the next phase of this project with the same supplier with no air gap between phases?
This is dependent on Discovery milestone achievement.
28. Are you able to recruit and provide access to users for the purpose of user research?
29. What roles are you expecting to provide and will these all be full time?
Customer Insight, Business Analysts, Content Designer – full time.
30. In order to compare suppliers like for like, how will price be evaluated?
Shortlisted suppliers will be provided with the evaluation methodology.
31. Is there an incumbent supplier in place?
32. Where is the existing team based?
33. You state the work will take place in various locations across UK. Can you please give an idea of where and also which one will be seen as the base location for the purpose of calculating expenses?
Base location London: travel to Bristol, Newport, Coventry, Newcastle, Manchester

Locations are highlighted below:
34. Is there an expectation for how long during a week you would like suppliers onsite?
The successful supplier is required on site but there is potential for some offsite work.