Awarded to The Fifth Business

Start date: Tuesday 5 November 2019
Value: £120,500
Company size: SME
UK Research and Innovation

DDaT19207 - Development of UKRI Internal Communications Platform: Alpha and Beta

7 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 2 large

11 Completed applications

10 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 20 August 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 27 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 3 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To design, build and facilitate implementation of a staff intranet that is accessible by all staff based upon existing discovery and technical appraisal exercises.
Latest start date
Monday 28 October 2019
Expected contract length
7 months; initial Alpha contract is for 3 months with the option to extend for 4 months for Beta.
South West England
Organisation the work is for
UK Research and Innovation
Budget range
The overall budget range for both phases is £75-125k excluding VAT as per the below breakdown.

The initial contract value for Alpha shall not exceed £50,000, exclusive of VAT. We expect suppliers to cost the alpha phase based upon the work we have requested and the expected delivery time for alpha.

The total contract value for Beta shall not exceed £75,000 for the potential extension to beta, exclusive of VAT. We expect suppliers at this early stage to suggest a time frame for beta and costings.

About the work

Why the work is being done
UKRI brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
UKRI are seeking to implement a new staff intranet as existing sites do not fit the need of a single organisation. This new site will replace existing, separate communications platforms.
Problem to be solved
We need to replace existing internal communications sites, providing an intuitive solution, compatible with our current staff environment (i.e. the use of Microsoft 365 and its integration).
The outcome is intended to support aspirations for cultural change within UKRI, reflecting our brand and core values, delivered using GDS’s principles.
Who the users are and what they need to do
All UKRI staff (over 7,000) based around the UK and internationally.
Staff will need to be able to seamlessly access the site on our internal networks, ensuring cross-channel processes and tools are in place for staff.
Users will be able to access and edit corporate information, filter and access content and 'team' information in a granular manner.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Outputs from an eight-week discovery project to explore and reveal UKRI’s strategic and end-user needs for internal communications. The outputs follow Government Digital Service (GDS) standards in exploring both organisational requirements as well as what the end user needs from a digital platform or service. These outputs will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.

The key findings are a result of research involving stakeholder and user engagement and a technical review of existing platforms. Discovery recommended investigation into SharePoint as an option for delivery.
Existing team
The UKRI Internal Communications Platform project sits in the UKRI Communication and Engagement Team and works closely with the UKRI Digital Data and Technology function. The project consists of:

• UKRI Website Service Owner
• UKRI Website Product Manager
• Internal Communications Staff Engagement Lead

Suppliers will also work with the UKRI brand owners to ensure alignment in messaging and design.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Much of the work should be conducted at the supplier’s own site. However, we expect the supplier to be able to work at the UKRI Swindon office, Polaris House, SN2 1FL for one day every 2-week sprint and for the UKRI team to be accommodated at the supplier’s office when needed.
Working arrangements
The project will follow the technology code of practice using agile methodology: daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprints, demos, retrospectives, show and tells.

We expect the company to work five days a week and be available during business hours to give updates and meet in line with agile working.

The supplier will need to take a lead by being a role model in agile ways of working and invest time in knowledge sharing and coaching to increase the capability of the UKRI digital team.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS).

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
  • Detail how you delivered large-scale intranet solutions in a large multidisciplinary agile team as a digital agency with the following roles: IA, UX, technical, build, development, designer and support. 5%
  • Detail how you have planned and managed a phased roll out of new architecture / transition from its current to future state (including migration planning). 5%
  • Detail how you have delivered a solution that has been successful in bringing multiple sites into one presence. 2%
  • Detail how you have conducted user research alongside analysing existing research to ensure good understanding of users and their needs leading to improvements in user engagement and user satisfaction. 5%
  • Detail how you have created rapid development of prototypes created iteratively via user testing - based on discovery findings to meet user needs (including assisted digital and accessible users). 3%
  • Detail how you have Implemented multi-site/multi-domain publishing on a single platform which, supports multi-media and social integration. 2%
  • Detail how you have provided an easy-to-use, simple interface for content contributors to upload, edit and manage content. 2%
  • Describe your ability to work with internal IT teams to arrange hosting and integration with existing services. 2%
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Detail how you would meet GDS service standards. 2%
  • Describe your previous experience in developing SharePoint driven platforms. 2%

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate how your proposed team’s technical expertise, solution, approach and methodology will ensure the successful delivery of this project. 10%
  • Demonstrate how your team will promote ways of working in an agile environment and how this application will ensure a sustainable outcome. 5%
  • Estimated time frames: proposed programme for alpha and beta phases that outlines the key milestones and how these will be managed to ensure the project is delivered on time. 5%
  • Demonstrate relevant skills and expertise of the team. 5%
  • Provide details of the key risk and a plan for mitigating against them 5%
  • Demonstrate how your Team’s approach or solution meets user needs. 5%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how your Team will work successfully in engaging with internal senior stakeholders undergoing cultural change and how this will support project success. 5%
  • Demonstrate how you will work transparently, collaboratively and share your approach with the project team and seek actionable feedback. 5%
  • Demonstrate how you will work with clients with different levels of technical expertise throughout the project. 5%
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. You state that 'Discovery recommended investigation into SharePoint as an option for delivery.'. Are you committed to a SharePoint solution or would you consider other content management systems or platforms?
We're not solely interested in SharePoint. However, as one of the recommendations from the discovery report specifically mentions exploring SharePoint, it's important that you are able to competently assess it as an option.
2. Is UKRI fixed on the use of Sharepoint or will other technology be considered?
We're not solely interested in SharePoint. However, as one of the recommendations from the discovery report specifically mentions exploring SharePoint, it's important that you are able to competently assess it as an option.
3. Will you be interested in using open source technologies such as Drupal?
We would be happy to consider suitable open-source options
4. In your description of the why the work is being done you refer to "separate communication platforms". Can you give details of technology supports them, please?
These are almost exclusively SharePoint 2010-13 driven sites. There are also a small number of .NET driven custom tools.
5. What source systems would need migrating from?
SharePoint, specifically 2010 and 2013. We also have some database-driven content.
6. Are there employees who can help with this and advise on relevancy or legacy of content?
Yes, we have staff in our organisation who lead on existing internal communications platforms
7. Is there a risk to duplicate or irrelevant content going into the new intranet; would you look on the supplier to advise on that, or provide close stakeholder input on content value at upload time? Or both?
We would expect the user and stakeholder research combined with our and your input in managing content delivery.
8. How do you see testing of the new system being conducted?
We would expect to see iterative developments, tested with stakeholders and users, in line with the Agile Project Management framework.
9. What have been the main issues with information handling in these sources to date? What needs to improve?
We have both disparate channels and methodologies for internal communications. We need to improve both the method and the collective communications platform.
10. Do the information systems in use and proposed have a bearing on job satisfaction for employees? Is there an expectation to be met?
Yes, there is an expectation that this will improve our internal communications for staff and exemplify our core values.
11. What types or documents are being used at current. Office, PDF, video, other media an particularly other formats which need special consideration?
Mostly MS Office suite file formats, we will also need to incorporate embedded media. There are no unusual formats to be considered at this stage.
12. How many documents need to be placed into the system?
This is currently unclear, but we expect to cut down on existing content massively.
13. How are social aspects of intranets currently addressed? How important is this going forward?
Most existing sites have very little if any social aspects incorporated. We would like to introduce some social aspects and personalisation to boost engagement and interest
14. How important is search in a new intranet? Is there a taxonomy in place? Tags, terms, etc?
The search will be important in finding information, there is no existing taxonomy but we employ consistent terminology across sites.
15. What value do you see in Microsoft Teams going forward. Where do you feel the value is for teams over sharepoint?
MS Teams is used for file and document management, collaborative working and limited information sharing. Teams functions as our records management system.
16. Is the new intranet to be a collaboration platform including external agents (non-employees, partners, government bodies etc)?
No, this is aimed at our employee base.
17. What controls do you have in place for information security, or aspire to in the future? Who checks security? Is this process robust now?
We have a protected internal network which meets very high security standards. Our network security is regularly checked.
18. Do you have organisation users tidy and up to date in Azure AD?
Yes, this is centrally managed and kept up to date.
19. How many departments need representation on the new intranet?
This is unclear at this time but it’s expected for most departments within UKRI to have some form of presence.
20. What would departments look to publish on their home page; is there a set format? E.g. org charts, contacts, time of business. Or up to each department?
We would expect to have elements of uniform information (like contacts), bespoke elements will need to be carefully employed, if at all.

An overview of content will be maintained by our Internal Communications Team.
21. How important is mobile access to your new intranet?
Reasonably, we would expect any design to have a responsive framework. We expect mobile use to rise once we have a more mobile-friendly site.
22. How about offline intranet use?
This will not be required.
23. Do you use or are planning to use Sharepoint for Dynamics 365 (CRM) document storage
Not within this project.
24. Do you need to place any retention policies around documents and other content?
Yes, it’s likely we will set review dates for content and limited life-spans for certain information.
25. Are there any regulations, standards etc which are imperative to the design?
We aim to meet minimal accessibility requirements in line with UK legislation. In addition, we will be following the Government Digital Service’ delivery guidelines.
26. What is the level of expertise for stakeholders for Sharepoint and Office 365 products in general. Is there a training need?
Stakeholders have reasonable expertise in managing SharePoint and other MS Office suite tools.

No training will be required.
27. How will the new intranet be supported?
"It will be supported by:

• Central digital team - will manage the server platform
• Web/Intranet Team –will help to build and maintain the site
• Internal Communications – will maintain and monitor the site, they will lead on content.
28. Are there any workflow requirements needing instating from day one?
Yes, we will need at least a level of granular permissions on launch to ensure we are able to devolve elements of publishing.
29. Do you have a brand design in mind? Or looking for guidance on possibilities and variations of your core brand?
We have a core brand which we will need to incorporate into our site. The site will also reflect our core values.
30. Do you have any information retention policies in mind or required above and beyond those in a system such as SharePoint online
No, retention and/or review policies will be very basic as this will not be a records management platform.
31. Do your current systems integrate with other products and have dependencies which need to be met, reproduced in the destination or detached from.
Our current systems have very limited integration. We would expect any external systems which can’t be integrated to be reproduced in some form.
32. Do you have a success criteria in mind for the new system? What would define a sucessful end-platform? What are the main wins? How would you score the result at a high-level?
We would want to see successful integration of existing sites while ensuring we meet recommendations from user research. The main focus is to centralise our internal communications.
33. If SharePoint Online is selected, are there any feature sets which are particularly relevant? What advantages of the (extended) platform spring to mind?
The key features of SharePoint relate more to integration with existing platforms. If we were to use SharePoint, we would find integration with the Active Directory, existing support and employee knowledge advantageous.
34. Have you already decided that you'll use Sharepoint for your Internal Communications platform, or are you open to using other technologies?
We're not solely interested in SharePoint. However, as one of the recommendations from the discovery report specifically mentions exploring SharePoint, it's important that you are able to competently assess it as an option.
35. Please provide clarity on the scope of the project and deliverables, is the technical architecture of Sharepoint in place to build on top of?
The scope of project is as described in the tender information. We do have existing architecture to support SharePoint but we are not decided on that as being the platform we will implement.
36. Please clarify how the scope will be split across the setup of the planning/ UX Design/ Implementation?
Planning for implementation and delivery will need to be part of this delivery package.
37. Is there an IT team responsible for hardware/software/network/security configuration?
We have internal teams who will support our network and hardware as required, we have existing tenancies which could possibly be used.
38. What does success look like?
Success will be the delivery of the platform, incorporating recommendations from Alpha phase, ensuring the key deliverables are met (see tender information).
39. Which content platforms do you need to integrate?
Existing sites are almost exclusively Sharepoint 2010-13 driven. There are also a small number of .NET driven custom tools.
40. What social platforms are you considering?
At this moment in time we are considering the following social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube)
41. Will the decision making and our working relationship be solely with the existing team, please provide details of any further stakeholders involved?
The decision making and working relationship will be with the project leads and our internal communications team. Stakeholders are our staff base and will be the basis of user research.
42. Who will carry out the implementation?
Depending on the solution we are unclear on the specifics of the final implementation.
43. How may Office 365 tenants are used by UKRI users?
Over 7,000
44. What is the scale of the collective user base (concurrent users)?
Over 7,000 users, however it is not expected all users will be on the platform at the same time.
45. To what extent would the supplier be responsible for content creation, as part of the project?
The supplier will have very limited, if any roles in content creation. We will rely on them to advise on the information architecture and development of the structure.
46. To what extent would the supplier be responsible for change management (user adoption) activities as part of the project, as opposed to just the technical build?
We have an internal change management programme which leads within our organisation will engage with.
47. If more than 1 tenant is in use, are there plans to consolidate them into a single tenant?
Yes, please see brief.
48. What technology platforms are the existing communications sites based on?
These are almost exclusively SharePoint 2010-13 driven sites. There are also a small number of .NET driven custom tools.
49. What O365/M65 workloads or services are currently used by UKRI users?
UKRI makes use of the entirely of the O365 suite.
50. What internal SharePoint resource is available within UKRI, and what type of experience do they have (e.g. infrastructure, power user, end user, developer)
We have an experienced development team within our organisation. They have implemented infrastructure for multiple organisations.