Awarded to We Are Snook Ltd

Start date: Monday 17 February 2020
Value: £88,000
Company size: SME
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Discovery into Homelessness data pilots

12 Incomplete applications

10 SME, 2 large

39 Completed applications

31 SME, 8 large

Important dates

Thursday 29 August 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 5 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 12 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
These pilots will involve working with a number of local authorities and their delivery partners to understand what data is currently collected, and how robust it is. They will develop data standards supporting consistent approaches to local data collection, and subsequently develop/test a multi-agency outcomes framework, looking across different services.
Latest start date
Monday 21 October 2019
Expected contract length
12 weeks
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
Budget range
A budget range of between £75,000 to £90,000 (exclusive of VAT) has been allocated for this requirement.

About the work

Why the work is being done
This will be a crucial step in helping us understand the most useful indicators nationally. It will help us understand how and if we might present a variety of data sets in a way that maximises the usefulness of this data. To improve the current data practices we need to deliver these pilots in partnership with people working in services that collect and use data. We know that the using homelessness data services is hugely varied, and so anything we design/build must be primarily informed by the experience of local areas.
Problem to be solved
1. More could be done to improve local/national government’s shared understanding of what constitutes good homelessness services and outcomes. There’s a variety of incomparable data collected and definitions vary.

2. Inconsistencies in data collection/use by a range of homelessness services mean that we do not have an accurate local and national picture of homelessness than is desirable; local authorities are unable to effectively benchmark their performance against similar local authorities; central government cannot always effectively determine local authority performance.

3. More work is required to understand what skills/capacity are needed in local/national government to evaluate data on homelessness services performance.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The hypotheses we would like to test are:

AS an individual / organisation that delivers l/ commissions local homelessness services I NEED central government to define what ‘good looks like’ SO THAT I know what outcomes they expect me/my organisation to achieve locally.

AS a policy maker/local commissioner I NEED to have consistent or interoperating data sets and systems SO THAT the services I deliver are consistent and can be scaled easily.

AS someone delivering local homelessness services I NEED data to be consistent from one local authority to another SO THAT I can accurately compare homelessness in different localities.
Early market engagement
None, although other questions which need answering as part of this requirement are:

AS an individual / organisation that delivers l/ commissions local homelessness services I NEED guidance on what data I should be collecting locally SO THAT I can better understand the issues in my local area and address local homelessness more effectively.

AS someone who needs to monitor national levels of homelessness I NEED data to be consistent from one local authority to another SO THAT I can aggregate this data and get an accurate national picture of need and of the effectiveness of services.
Any work that’s already been done
None although this Discovery Phase will help us to develop the framework iteratively, testing hypothesis with a range of Local authorities who also commission services on the basis of their data, making them an essential partner in understanding the opportunities for improving the use of data.
Existing team
Internal resource from the Homelessness Directorate working on this project part-time:

1 Team leader
1 senior policy advisor
1 Project manager
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
We expect the successful supplier to work regularly with MHCLG in 2 Marsham Street, London. The supplier may work 1-2 days off site.

MHCLG will not fund travel within London, but will fund necessary travel outside of London.
Working arrangements
The supplier is expected to work onsite alongside existing teams for at least 3 days a week. We would prefer the team to be co-located in 2 Marsham Street but expect travel for user research and other activities.

We expect the supplier to work using agile methodology.

The supplier will also be expected to work openly.
Security clearance
CTC or above is desirable as staff won’t need escorting on site. There is no requirement for supplier personnel to be security cleared.

BPSS clearance will be required to access MHCLG's ICT systems.

Please make it clear whether staff have CTC security clearance or not when submitting responses.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of MHCLG. GDPR requirements shall be discussed and agreed with the preferred supplier at the appropriate time.

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
  • Using examples, experience of delivering discoveries in line within the Government Service Manual.
  • Using examples, experience of recruiting users for research.
  • Using examples, experience of delivering user-centred solutions to problems.
  • Using examples, evidence of meeting skill requirements based on the anticipated composition of the team
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • With examples, Working with people with low digital proficiency
  • With examples, working on outcomes frameworks

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding of user needs
  • Approach and methodology
  • Team structure
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Technical solutions
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Care deeply about users
  • Share knowledge and experience with other organisations
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would you please be able to provide some additional clarification on the "outcomes frameworks" you are referring to in the nice-to-have skills and experience?
Experience of developing, testing or researching outcomes frameworks in any service areas (not just homelessness) will be considered as part of this process.

There is significant variation between different sorts of outcomes frameworks, but suppliers might want to consider the Public Health Outcomes framework ( as a rough indication of what we are referring to here.
2. May we ask what commercial models are acceptable and would a licenced product or even SaaS delivery model be entertained? Or are such decisions to be only a final outcomes of this Discovery?
We aren't expecting a service to be developed. The output of this should be a report which helps us answer the following questions and facilitates subsequent development of an outcomes framework:

• do those delivering homelessness services have the capacity/ capability to gather data on their performance;

• which homelessness cohort is it most effective to prioritise (i.e. rough sleepers only or the wider homelessness population);

• which data should we prioritise;

• are there any key users we haven’t considered; and

• how should we run our alpha phase (e.g. what should we seek to de-risk by prototyping).
3. What technical deliverables are expected at the end of the 12 week period? There is mention of development and test of a framework, but it's not clear if this is supposed to be a functional, production-quality (security, documentation and operation-wise) service or merely a prototype to further explore the idea. If that is the desire, is there a preference to extending an existing running platform over building from scratch to achieve this goal?
Please see our response to Question 2.
4. Could you confirm that, by “capped time and materials”, you are just referring to your having an overall budget cap and not that you are expecting the successful supplier to take on commercial risk, given your multi-vendor team structure?
The Digital Outcomes definition of a “capped time and materials” approach is the same as a time and materials approach. But there is a limit on how much customers have to pay for the work. If a supplier reaches the limit before the work is finished, the supplier has to complete the work at their own cost. If the supplier finishes the work before they said they would, the Customer only pays them for the time they took to do the work.
5. DOS guidelines state that suppliers should provide one example per skill/experience criteria at the shortlisting stage. Some questions state "using examples", suggesting you require more than one example in response. Please confirm your expectation in terms of the number of examples required and confirm how you will maintain equality when comparing answers – for example, not giving more marks for two examples rather than one or vice versa.
Previously, advice provided is it’s up to you what evidence you provide to answer our requirement questions. However, the DOS guidance is more specific than our previous advice. As a result, this is telling suppliers to focus on one example so you should focus primarily on one example.

So, where we have said "using examples", please amend this to "using an example" in your responses.
6. We have recently seen buyers provide guidance on how to exceed expectations at the shortlisting stage. Please could you provide this.
No specific guidance has been drafted and developed on how to exceed expectations at the shortlisting stage. However, to try to answer this question, we define “providing added value” as being beyond simply satisfying the requirement. Factors can be identified and evaluated which offers potential added value, with strong evidence to support the response.
7. Could you please confirm what is expected under "outcomes frameworks"?
Please see our response to Question 2.
8. The requirement states examples, in plural – is this still correct or valid.
Please see our response to Question 5.
9. Can you please confirm if this requirement is subject to any Purdah rules, should there be a General Election?
At present, no guidance on purdah has been issued as no election has been called. However, if an election occurs, then guidance shall inform us what can and what cannot be done during the purdah period. The best advice we can provide at present, is that this requirement shall remain until further guidance can be provided. However, please also note that rough sleeping and homelessness are two MHCLG policy priorities.
10. Could you provide an indication of number of pilots, and whether these are confirmatory or defined (which may cross over each other)?
No fixed view on this but we shall work with the successful supplier to further define this.
11. Any flexibility with working in London 3 days a week. What’s driving the Discovery? Will the team be spread around?
The successful supplier shall work in an agile way. We would like the successful supplier to collaborate and work closely with MHCLG, hence the reason why we would like staff of the successful supplier to work in London three days a week. However, working patterns can be discussed and agreed with the successful supplier if this is an issue.
12. Will MHCLG be providing a Product Owner full time during the phase of this procurement?
13. In order to compare suppliers, how will price be evaluated?
As set out in the tender document price attracts a 40% evaluation weighting.

At the appropriate time, we shall request this information from suppliers. Normally, we request the number of days and day rates for each role suppliers shall provide to deliver the requirement. We have asked for a capped time and materials model, but if there are elements which are already fixed (by suppliers), these should be noted within suppliers’ commercial proposals.
14. Will the scores from the evidencing round be taken through to final evaluation? Or will they only be used for the purposes of shortlisting suppliers? If they will be, what proportion of the overall evaluation criteria will they make up?
This has not yet been discussed or agreed with the Evaluation panel. However, our previous experience of using the DOS framework suggests that long-list scoring will be taken forward to the short-list stage.
15. Is this opportunity outside of IR35?
As this is an outcome (and not a specialist role), the expectation is that this will be outside IR35.
16. When suppliers are asked to submit evidence, the following advice is given: "You should only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement (unless the buyer specifies otherwise)." By using 'examples' in the questions, do you want suppliers to provide more than one example for each evidence answer? If so, will breadth of experience or depth of experience be scored better?
Please see our response to Question 5.
17. Can we ask what criteria MHCLG will be using to judge whether an evidence answer 'exceeded' requirements and therefore scores full marks (3)?
Please see our response to Question 6.
18. What is the timeline for procurement after the first stage (suppliers to providing evidence to the listed skills and experience)?
Bids close – 23.59 on Thursday 12 September
Feedback to successful shortlisted and unsuccessful suppliers – Friday 20 September
Supplier Presentations – Monday 30 September
Final decision – Wednesday 2 October
Contract Starts – Monday 21 October
19. Will MHCLG be providing a Product Owner full time during the phase of this procurement?
Linked to our response to Question 12. However, further details are provided below.

We won’t be providing a Product Owner full time at this Discovery stage. However, there will be a Policy lead and Service Design lead aligned to the work to provide steers and ensure continuity across other directorate projects.
20. Will this project be taken through the GDS Service Assessment?
No, we will not be taking this project through a GDS Service Assessment as this is a Discovery phase. However, should this work progress through to Alpha, we intended to hold ourselves to the Service Standard and so all relevant points should be considered at Discovery stage also.
21. Can you give a high-level view of how this data is currently collected? E.g Approach to collection, the format, how frequent etc.
We are interested in a wide range of data sources collected via different processes, by different organisations and with different frequencies. For example, some data will be collected on a quarterly basis with oversight from central government, other data sets will be collected on an ad-hoc basis by those delivering homelessness services with no oversight from any organisations.
22. Can we ask what supplier team profile the budget has been based on?
None – the basis is the budget allocated for this requirement.
23. Have MHCLG already identified users for user research and be able to facilitate access to these users during Discovery? Also, have MHCLG already got access to user recruitment services and be covering the cost for this?
MHCLG have identified some users that we would want to involve in user research but we are interested in the possibility of using this discovery phase to identify additional users.
24. Will MHCLG accept proposals that offer a shorter timescale than that published?
At the appropriate time, we shall consider proposals submitted to deliver this on a shorter timescale
25. Are you looking for an organisation with previous GDS experience or just individuals within the bid to have GDS experience?
We would prefer suppliers who have previous GDS experience (especially in delivering digital services through the Government Shared Service Manual).
26. Would it be desirable for the supplier to have experience moving forward to deliver Alpha and Beta phases on previous projects?
We do not consider this as ‘necessary experience’ but we are happy to consider this as evidence if suppliers can demonstrate why they regard this relevant and valuable experience.
27. Can MHCLG organise access to the internal/external stakeholders throughout the project?
This will be agreed with the successful supplier at the appropriate time.
28. Can you move straight into Alpha without an airgap?
No – it is likely that there will be a pause as further internal and external financial approvals shall be required.
29. Will access to existing data sources be available from day 1 of Discovery? If not, when will this data be accessible?
Please see our Response to Question 21.
30. Will Value for Money be evaluated as part of the price section?
Please see our response to Question 14.
31. Can you please provide any details about the 'delivery partners' mentioned in the summary of the work section?
We ideally want to work with a range of delivery partners including housing officers, health services, probation services, Children’s services, adult social care and non-commissioned services. However, we will finalise our methodology in collaboration with our chosen supplier.
32. Have any other suppliers been involved with this work to date? Specifically, preparing the Discovery?
33. Have the pilot Local Authorities already been chosen? If so, are you able to detail the rationale behind choosing them?
The pilot local authorities have not been chosen.
34. How many Local Authorities are you expecting to work with during this Discovery?
We will determine the methodology for this work with the supplier but we estimate between 6-12 authorities.
35. Please can you advise if you would like one or more examples across the shortlisting skills and experience responses? Typically, the guidance states one example, however your criteria suggests multiple are required.
Please see our response to Question 5.
36. Could you please elaborate on the following question:
"Using examples, evidence of meeting skill requirements based on the anticipated composition of the team"
We would like you to:

a) propose a team to meet the requirements; and

b) provide evidence that your team has the skills needed to deliver the outcomes we’re seeking. Your evidence should include examples or case studies of previous work where the same skills were needed.
37. As per digital marketplace guidelines, suppliers are expected to use one example to illustrate their skills and experience when responding to questions. Are you looking for one or multiple examples in supplier responses?
Please see our response to Question 5.
38. Have MHCLG already got access to user recruitment services and be covering the cost for this?
Linked to Question 23, however this question was not answered in our response to this question.

We expect suppliers to manage recruitment for this project and for the costs to be covered in the bid. We will be happy to support this effort by providing contacts with Local Authorities and key providers etc.
39. Are you looking for an organisation with previous GDS experience or just individuals within the bid to have GDS experience?
Linked to our initial response to Question 25.

Further information is that we are looking for an organisation with demonstrable experience and competence in working to GDS service standards and a good track record of passing GDS assessments.