Awarded to Nomensa Ltd

Start date: Monday 9 December 2019
Value: £58,989.50
Company size: SME
Essex County Council

0812 Digital accessibility partner to capability build across Essex County Council Revised

11 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 2 large

8 Completed applications

5 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Friday 11 October 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 18 October 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 25 October 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Act as our accessibility ‘partner’ offering support, guidance and recommendations to enable us to meet WCAG 2.1 AA requirements across our significant web estate. Build understanding and capability across the organisation enabling us to independently test products with our users and assure our content and code accessibility compliance going forward.
Latest start date
Monday 9 December 2019
Expected contract length
1 year
East of England
Organisation the work is for
Essex County Council
Budget range
The budget is capped at £60k

About the work

Why the work is being done
We are a large and complex organisation with a significant web estate with a range of legacy sites and apps. In addition to the main site there are over 80 microsites that will need to be assessed and made compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA by September 2020.

There are a handful of staff who understand digital accessibility from a code and content perspective and we need to build our capability and capacity quickly to enable us to comply with the legislation and ensure our web estate remains accessible going forward.
Problem to be solved
Content Designers, Developers and Graphic Designers do not have a clear understanding of what WCAG 2.1 compliance means for their profession or the best tools or techniques to check and assure their work.

User Researchers do not understand what tools, techniques, facilities or approaches they may need to create a test panel of users with disabilities and impairments that can test our digital products on an ongoing basis.

Senior leaders and commissioners do not have a clear understanding of the importance of delivering inclusive digital services to support self-service and channel shift.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Content Designer, Developer or Graphic Designer, I need to understand what constitutes WCAG2.1AA compliance for my profession so that I can meet the need of all users.

As a User Researcher I want to create a panel of residents with a range of disabilities and impairments so that I can test websites, apps and systems on an ongoing basis to understand if they are compliant.

As Head of Product I want to support senior leaders and commissioners to understand the importance of inclusive digital services so that they are commissioning digital products that are accessible from go live.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have done an audit of our web estate and now hold a list of:
• Website names and URLs (approx. 80)
• Some platform information
• Identified content editors

Work is already underway to ensure content and code on is accessible and we are just completing fixes based on recommendations from a Shaw Trust assessment.

We already have the SiteImprove tool but it has never been used for accessibility checking purposes outside of We are working with SiteImprove to train developers and Content editors on the system.
Existing team
Service Design Team:
• Product Manager x 2
• Delivery Manager x 1
• Content Designer x 6
• Front End Developer x 1
• User Researchers x 3

Graphic Design Team:
• Designers x 4

Technical Services Team:
• SAAS Team x 6
• Technical testers x 6
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Main site - County Hall, Chelmsford, plus other ECC locations as needed. You will have to be available at these locations when required but we also accept that this can be balanced with work being progressed or delivered remotely if deemed suitable.
Working arrangements
Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques. This will involve daily stand ups and fortnightly sprint planning sessions which include a retrospective of the previous sprint and prioritisation by the Product Owner for the following sprint.
Security clearance

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 successfully implementing AA WCAG 2.1 standards
  • Experience of delivering an accessibility project with a public sector body where you worked as a joint team and operated within the organisations governance and culture
  • Experience of working with an organisations leadership team to ensure that accessibility is understood and championed from the top down
  • A detailed understanding of how to best support User Researchers to create a panel of residents with a range of disabilities and impairments for ongoing testing
  • Experience of providing User Researchers with practical methods and techniques appropriate to testing with users with accessibility issues
  • Experience of delivering a high quality handover that ensures a legacy of accessibility understanding and capability remains within the organisation
  • Capacity to mobilise a skilled and experienced team, responding flexibly to peaks and troughs in demand and able to substitute similar resources without implication to the project
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Share an outline of the roles and responsibilities of the team that will be working with us
  • A short case study that illustrates your work against a similar set of requirements

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach to and experience of working with senior leaders to embed a top down understanding of the importance of online accessibility across our delivery of services to users
  • Experience of supporting a User Research function to effectively recruit and test with users with a range of disabilities to ensure that meaningful insights can inform product development
  • Your experience of working to deliver against a similar set of requirements in a public sector organisation
  • Your ability to scale the appropriate resource to meet the needs of the accessibility project over the next 12 months
  • Approach to and experience of leaving a meaningful legacy that enables an organisation to continue to deliver accessible online services to users
Cultural fit criteria
Describe previous work where you have established a trusted advisory relationship within a public sector body
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. The following question has been received:

a. will the visa be sponsored for deserving candidates to travel to your place
b. My understanding is you plan to have 3 resources for approx 1 year
ECC are unable to provide a sufficient response to your question without understanding how this relates to the published requirement.

Please can you clarify.
2. Will your organisation provide visa sponsorship in order for resource to work/visit your office?
Unfortunately ECC will not be in a position to offer Visa sponsorship
3. Do you anticipate a supplier providing a team on a full time basis for 12 months, within your capped budget?
No we don’t. We will work together to identify the key activities and their sequence during a more detailed scoping meeting at the start of the contract. We envisage a heavier weighting of resource in the first 6 months and these are unlikely to be full time within this period.

We anticipate our partner enabling us in an advisory capacity across a range of workstreams and then leaving us for a while so that we can complete a set of activities. We then anticipate them returning for another phase of advisory activity and so on.
4. Do we need to consider Mobile devices (Android-Phone, Android- Tablet, iPad-Phone and iPad-Tablet) under test?
5. Would it be possible to work remotely (from offshore)?
We don’t want to manage an offshore supplier or a UK supplier with offshore resources. We want the supplier to be able to spend a relevant amount of time onsite in Essex.
6. Will the Engagement plan be of 10 months approx. ( 9 December,2019 to September 2020)?
The contract is to run over 12 months. While the bulk of this is obviously focussed on delivering to meet the September 2020 deadline, there may be a handover period which exceeds this taking it to November 2020 (given the timescales we are currently working to for awarding).
7. We use the tools NVDA, WAVE, WAT,JAWS, Voiceover, TalkBack and ChromeVox. So, Any specific tool preference to test the website?
We have SiteImprove as our corporate tool and are aware of the tools mentioned. We have no preference on the tools the provider uses providing they are used with good reason .
8. Do we need to consider Mobile devices (Android-Phone, Android- Tablet, iPad-Phone and iPad-Tablet) under test?
We will be considering mobile devices as part of our work.
9. Which operating System is required for testing (Windows7, Windows10 and Mac)?
This is the guidance that we work to:
10. Which browsers are required for testing (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari)?
We work to the following:
11. There is one major site ( and approx. 80 microsites are in scope, we need the breakup of microsites in terms of complexity level compared to major site, Like below:
a. Low ( approx. 10% – 40% of complexity compared to
b. Medium ( approx. 40 % – 70% of complexity compared to
c. High ( approx. 70% + of complexity compared to
We can only provide a rough estimate at this point in time. We are setting up a project team and recruiting resources to do an assessment of the sites and without this it will lack accuracy.

There are 2 sites of note that are more complex than in terms of built in functionality and challenging CMS’s. We would say that the remaining sites are a blend of low/medium with a 50/50 split between flat content sites and those with limited functionality.
12. Do we need to consider the WCAG 2.1 A and AAA along with WCAG 2.1 AA?
We absolutely need to consider WCAG 2.1 A.

WCAG 2.1 AAA is not required and given the scale of the job in hand it is unlikely that we would want to spend time trying to achieve it. Making 80 sites accessible to AA standard will take a significant amount of time.
13. Would it be fine to carry out some part of the work remotely as long as the partner has resource available in Essex for relevant amount of time?
If there is work that doesn’t need to be done on site then ECC do not mind where that takes place, however, ECC do not to be spending time on remote calls. ECC do want people on site when needed.
14. GDS Assistive technology guidelines include evaluation with screen magnifiers and speech recognition as well as hyperlinks and user editable fields with the common screen readers – is the evaluation of every hyperlink and every user editable field of all pages within the scope of work for the supplier, or do you expect us to help build that capability within ECC?
You won’t be expected to assist in the actual evaluation of the vast majority of sites, but will be expected to help build the capacity within ECC necessary to evaluate these, which will entail an understanding of how to best use assistive technologies.