This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Wednesday 21 August 2019
National Leadership Centre

Beta development of digital service for senior public sector leaders

18 Incomplete applications

15 SME, 3 large

20 Completed applications

18 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Wednesday 7 August 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 14 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 21 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
There is no digital service that currently supports the most senior public sector leaders in the country. We need to build one. Develop our Alpha prototypes (website and network directory) through Beta. And build new elements to help users get great content and provide their views to the Prime Minister.
Latest start date
Monday 16 September 2019
Expected contract length
Until end of March (will have some flexibility)
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
National Leadership Centre
Budget range
£430,000-460,000 + VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
The NLC was created by the government in October 2018. It connects the most senior leaders across the public sector in England and helps them work together to improve public services. The Centre runs a world-class leadership programme (with residential courses), connects people across sectors and regions, and is becoming a global hub of leadership data and high quality research.

The Centre's offer is being launched in mid-September and must be well established and tested ahead of a flagship event in January, including its digital services which will primarily support the network.
Problem to be solved
User research and market analysis shows there is no existing service to bring together the most senior public sector leaders. Use of external services (e.g. LinkedIn) is not consistent, and use of sector specific services do not cross organisation boundaries.

The most senior leaders of our public sector cannot find each others' details; contact each other across boundaries with confidence; provide feedback to the Prime Minister as a group; and access cutting edge support and content, curated for them.

The work will need to be front-loaded over the contract period due to parental leave in the NLC team.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our primary users are the most senior public sector leaders in the country, roughly 1,500 people. We have identified many needs, including:

As a member of the network...
1) I need to connect with my peers across other sectors, so I can broaden my network and approaches to challenges
2) I need curated content that’s tailored to my interests, so I can save my limited time

Additional groups include delegates on programmes (I want to know what I expect on the programme, so I can prepare), personal assistants, NLC staff, and interested external parties.
Early market engagement
In February, the NLC tendered for a contract for our current digital work (Discovery and Alpha). The market was competitive and the contract was awarded to Convivio.
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery has been completed. Alpha is currently underway - expecting to complete at the end of August.

Discovery recommendations were:
1) A multi-channel approach to support leaders’ developing and nurturing their face-to-face networks. The digital service will play a supporting role in making key parts of the user journey easier.
2) NLC staff will need to support the digital service, as a concierge and post-programme facilitator.
3) Build a platform that will enable the NLC staff to engage senior leaders with useful content that is easy to find. has been published.
Directory prototype is being tested with users.
Existing team
The NLC is around 20 people:

The Head of Digital acts as Product Owner. It is expected that you'll work very closely with other teams, particularly the Network and Communities team for the directory work.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The NLC is mostly based in 1 Horse Guards Road in Westminster, with a team member in Manchester as well.

This project can be delivered remotely, and travel to test the service with users (who are spread across England) will be required.
Working arrangements
We are unable to host a team regularly in our offices unless you already have CTC clearance.

Remote working is fine, with daily stand ups beneficial - other communications channels (Slack, Hangouts) also encouraged for more informal conversation.

It would be useful to have face to face sessions at least once a fortnight as a whole team.
Security clearance
BPSS is minimum to access government assets. We do not anticipate SC level clearance being necessary.

Existing CTC clearance will be necessary if the team will want to work in 1HG building.

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
  • have recent experience of delivering to the Government Service Standard, including successfully passing service assessments, particularly scaling a service through Beta phase
  • have recent experience of delivering to the Technology Code of Practice
  • have experience of helping an organisation create effective data infrastructure, aligning with government standards and best practice
  • have experience of drawing insights from Beta testing to drive decisions across the client team
  • have experience of developing a digital service in a way that supports delivery in non-digital channels
  • have experience at developing quality services at a very fast pace in a start up environment, including senior stakeholder management
  • have experience of building a highly secure service that is accessible to different organisations and still usable for users
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • show evidence of delivering a project across different parts of the public sector
  • provide details of when the supplier has delivered a beta phase, having not delivered the alpha

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrating an understanding of user needs and NLC requirements
  • Proposed approach and methodology - including technical approach
  • Identifying risks and dependencies
  • Estimated timeframes for the work and plans to manage slips
  • Team structure, including the relevance of the team members' skills and experience
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work in an open and transparent way, sharing work in progress and involving others as you go
  • Value boldness and creative thinking
  • Share learning and build capability in others
  • Value diversity and inclusion
  • Communicate clearly and work with others with less technical expertise
  • Challenge us and the assumptions we have made
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. If we pass the sift, when will the written proposal need to be submitted, and when will the presentation be held?
We are hoping to complete the sift on 27 August, but this may slip slightly due to panel availability. The presentations will be on either 3 or 5 September, and written reports will be requested by 10am the day before.
2. Are you able to share more details of the discovery and user groups?
Yes, we are happy to share a copy of the discovery report, NLC user personas, and user groups. If you would like this information, please email - no commitment to bid is necessary of course. In the Q&A session on 12 August, we will cover the key outcomes and also do a show and tell of the Alpha work.
3. Will your current partner for discovery & alpha be tendering for the beta development?
We haven't been told if they will or will choose not to. Either way, we're committed to this being an open and competitive exercise. Our panel will include independent representation to ensure fairness.
4. The budget is set at £430,000-460,000 + VAT, would you consider a proposal from a company with a turnover that is lower than the budget?
Yes we would. That isn't one of the criteria that we'll be using to assess bids, which will remain constant for each organisation.
5. You mention a Q&A session on the 12th August; please share details.
The details for the Q&A session are available at the bottom of the advert page once you have logged in to the site. It will be run over Google Hangouts on Monday 12th. In the session we will 1) give some more background to the ask 2) hold a quick show and tell on the Alpha prototypes (still in progress) 3) have time for a Q&A
6. Please could you give more detail of what is envisaged/required under "have experience of helping an organisation create effective data infrastructure, aligning with government standards and best practice"?
It is important to us that our partner has experience in building excellent data structure and data management processes. The NLC is a new organisation, and we're just at the start of our data journey. We'd want whatever we create together to enable the digital service to provide as much value to our users. It should be in line with best practice in government, the cross-government data community, and our collective open data ambitions.
7. Are you using or planning to use other systems to support the learning process, such as an LMS or e-learning tool?
The NLC's leadership programme will be first of its kind to bring together leaders across the country. For its first year, we will not be building a new digital service to support the learning - developing one is not in scope of this tender.

More information can be found here:
8. Do you have any technology preferences or assumptions?
As we are still in Alpha, it's hard to give a concrete answer to this. We would like to work very quickly in the new contract to agree any assumptions for the Beta phase.

The final four suppliers will be evaluated on their proposed approach and methodology, including technical approach.

Some preferences are coming close to certain:
- it should be hosted on GOV.UK PaaS
- we should use GOV.UK Notify; other GaaP should be considered before bespoke build
- continuation of Drupal is likely to be beneficial
- the service will have to pull data from Salesforce (RESTful APIs)
9. Is all of the information in the directory going to be collated from publicly available information, or are things like the email addresses not public information?
We think it will be a mix. From our initial desk research, we know that much of it is publicly available, but not all in one place. Any non-public information that we hold will have to be secure unless agreed otherwise. All of it will have to be handled and processed in line with GDPR. We have a team and a plan to deliver the work to gather the information.
10. How do you expect the NLC and the directory's data to deal with churn, for example people leaving their organisations?
We'll be interested in exploring how much self service can play a role during Beta; however, we expect that the NLC will have to maintain the data to some extent - on this point in particular. Our data gathering exercise may have to be repeated on a regular basis.

We'd be keen for your help in exploring this during Beta and basing our decisions on data and user behaviours.
11. The Discovery report talks about people using other channels, eg WhatsApp groups. Will the Directory need to capture these other messaging options?
We're not expecting to build a messaging function as a part of this service. Our research shows that using our information in a user's existing channel is important to our them. Over Beta, we'll need to test how people use the directory and other digital services (and of course our non-digital channels).

As with all of our assumptions, we're open to challenge and user research changing our mind.
12. To build off your Discovery, is there merit in having more than one supplier/contract?
We have looked at various ways of shaping the commercial opportunity, and a single contract was the best value - in this financial year at least. However, if multiple suppliers wanted to group and produce a single bid, we would consider that equally alongside single supplier bids.
13. The current response format asks for experience in related areas. It does not ask for ideas to meet some of the challenges you have talked about. Are you expecting our thinking to the challenges at this stage and if so, what is the process for that?
At the first stage of the bid, suppliers will be assessed and sifted based on their relevant skills and experience. At the second stage, we will ask people for a written report and presentation on their proposed approach (delivery and technical) and methodology; it's that stage which will really bring out your ideas for consideration.
14. To help thinking at this stage should we use the Discovery report as identifying the key areas?
Yes, we would encourage any future work to build off those insights; however, we are not limiting our thinking to those issues alone. We're also open for creativity and challenge on what should / could come next.
15. Can we get copies of the discovery report, NLC user personas, and user groups please?
Yes, we are happy to share a copy of all of these. Please email and we'll send them to you - no commitment to bid is necessary of course.