Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Discoveries into Digital Tools for Consular Assistance

Incomplete applications

25
Incomplete applications
24 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

38
Completed applications
31 SME, 7 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Thursday 17 October 2019
Deadline for asking questions Thursday 24 October 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Thursday 31 October 2019 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Discoveries into three areas of improving consular services for British citizens and FCO staff: exploring how British citizens could use Digital Tools for consular assistance; how to improve consular pages on Gov.UK and reviewing The Complaints and Compliments Handling System that is used by FCO staff.
Latest start date Thursday 2 January 2020
Expected contract length 3 months
Location London
Organisation the work is for Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Budget range £100,000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done The Digital Transformation Unit (DTU) conducted a discovery last year into Gov.uk/Notify and identified a need for digital tools within consular assistance, but was unable to explore this further. Additional consular insights have identified lower levels of satisfaction around customers navigating information on consular pages of Gov.uk and suggested conducting in depth user research to make recommendations for improvements. The Complaints and Compliments Handling System could be improved removing time consuming manual processes. Therefore, the recommendations from these discoveries should ease consular staff burden and improve the user experience for British citizens using consular digital services.
Problem to be solved There are services provided by British Consulates which would benefit from digital tools which would free up staff time to focus on face to face consular assistance and supporting vulnerable customers.

Consular insights identified lower levels of satisfaction around customers finding information on Gov.uk consular pages creating more work for consular staff handling enquiries from customers who could not find relevant information.

Consular staff who use the Complaints and Compliments handling system find the process too manual and time consuming. They have a high turnover of staff using the system and find it an arduous process to teach new starters.
Who the users are and what they need to do As a British citizen overseas, I need access, help and guidance for the situation I am in quickly without as much reliance on consular staff.

As a British citizen, I need to easily find accurate, relevant information on the Gov.uk pages, so that I can be as informed as possible and be aware of any tasks I may need to complete.

As consular staff, I need to process complaints and compliments efficiently, so that I can focus resource on less manual processing tasks..
Early market engagement The Gov.uk/Notify discovery work was completed last year.

There is separate ongoing discovery work already being conducted by the consular insight team into consular strategy, FCO's partners and how consular assistance engages family members in assistance cases, which will be completed by December 2019.These discoveries may have insights that feed into the digital tools for consular assistance aspect of the discovery, particularly in regard to bereavement customers.However, this is yet to be determined.
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team You will be working with the Digital Transformation Unit, comprising a Delivery Manager, and a Product manager. The team would be expected to work closely with colleagues across the office, particularly within the consular directorate, to gain an understanding of the existing services offered and user needs. A project manager is being recruited separately to run this and one other project.
Current phase Discovery

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place London with some travel to Milton Keynes
Working arrangements The supplier is expected to provide resource that can be on-site (London or Milton Keynes) during business hours Monday - Friday. The resource should: collaborate and work effectively with the existing Product Owner and Senior BA team members. Be expert in agile approaches including sprints, daily standups, sprint reviews and retrospectives, and working to agreed definitions of done. Be comfortable talking to non-technical staff and translating their requirements into technical terms. Be a good listener. Where appropriate, be innovative and propose changes to processes. Be able, unaccompanied, to meet technical and non-technical staff and represent the Digital Transformation Unit well.
Security clearance All staff working on FCO premises must be at least SC Cleared or capable of being cleared to SC. Bidders must confirm clearance of nominated resources. SC would be a great help but if required, FCO will initiate SC clearance.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
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.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Give examples of delivering projects using user-centric agile methods
  • Have experience of working in line with GDS Service Manual standards and knowledge of wider industry-standards
  • Have experience of successfully delivering discovery digital services in a public sector environment
  • Have experience of designing user-friendly interfaces in line with GOV.UK style
  • Have evidence of using prototypes, testing, iterating and user research to inform user-friendly digital services
  • Have evidence of a robust security management system which addresses physical, personnel, procedural and technical risks
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills with the ability to tailor messages to the audience and present at Board level and senior stakeholders
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • experience of recruiting hard to find participants for user research
  • experience of conducting User Research on a sensitive topic
  • experience of working on services offered in a range of domestic and international locations

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Flexibility
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Confident in consulting multiple stakeholders, suppliers in the UK and overseas, developing and managing relationships and leading discussions with stakeholders to seek input and feedback (10%)
  • Working in multidisciplinary teams with other suppliers (2%)
  • Working with technical and non-techincal staff to understand requirements (2%)
  • Building good relationships and trust with teams both with and without departmental sponsors (2%)
  • Quickly joining teams and understanding their needs (2%)
  • Experience working in an agile manner (2%)
Payment approach Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Notice to suppliers. The FCO is now conducting ‘nameblind’ bids to continually improve open and fair competition. To support the FCO in this, suppliers are requested to refrain from referring to their organisation by name or including identifying features within responses as far as possible.
2. Notwithstanding the need for all team members to be on site with stakeholders for meetings and ceremonies, we would anticipate some team members working remotely for some periods; including to undertake user research activities and co-locate from our offices. Might this be acceptable? Yes, this would be acceptable. As it is only a three month delivery we hope the supplier would be on site as much as they can be so a good relationship can be built with the product manager and other stakeholders. However, we realise this is not always necessary and some remote working is fine within reason.
3. The opportunity specifically mentions an exiting product manager and delivery manager, but also refers to business analysts. Do you anticipate providing a business analyst dedicated to the discovery, or do you anticipate a seller supplying this role (if deemed necessary to the discovery)? There will not be a business analyst dedicated to this project from FCO. Therefore, if deemed necessary to the discovery we expect a business analyst to be provided by the supplier.
4. Could you please share discovery report created for The Gov.uk/Notify discovery work? We are unable to share the discovery at this stage.
5. What are the roles expected by the FCO for this engagement? We expect the supplier to advise us on the roles required.
6. Do supplier staff need to be on-site full-time? We work offsite at our office and could be on-site for meetings and specific pieces of work where applicable. Would that be acceptable? As it is only a three month delivery we hope the supplier would be on site as much as they can be so a good relationship can be built with the product manager and other stakeholders. However, we realise this is not always necessary and some remote working is fine within reason.
7. Is there a current incumbent currently working onsite? No
8. Beyond the specialist roles provided by the buyer, i.e. as stated in this opportunity, we envisage what type of specialist resources may be optimal & beneficial towards what this Discovery project needs to be successfully carried out and accomplished.
Yet, we'd like to understand what specific resources coming from the supplier the buyer considers as key for this engagement to succeed.
We expect the supplier to advise us on the roles required.
9. Can you confirm the day rate budget for this role please? It is not a day rate; it is an outcome-based procurement with a set budget.
10. In terms of on-site working – are you looking for suppliers to work on your premises full time, or would a 'as needed' be sufficient? E.g meetings, workshops, interviews. As it is only a three month delivery we hope the supplier would be on site as much as they can be so a good relationship can be built with the product manager and other stakeholders. However, we realise this is not always necessary and some remote working is fine within reason.
11. Is there the ability to remote work 1 day per week? Yes.
12. Is there the ability to remote work 1 day per week? Yes.
13. Is there flexibility on which site the Consultant can work at. EG – 3 days in London, 1 day in MK and 1 day remote? Yes. Only occasional travel to Milton Keynes may be necessary. As it is only a three month delivery we hope the supplier would be on site in London as much as they can be so a good relationship can be built with the product manager and other stakeholders. However, we realise this is not always necessary and some remote working is fine within reason.
14. In order to compare suppliers like for like, how will price be evaluated? This exercise is being run to provide the outcomes as set out in the opportunity. Suppliers are asked to provide a fixed price proposal against these defined outcomes. Price shall therefore be evaluated and scored against the lowest price bid with the lowest price receiving the maximum score and a price twice the lowest value scoring 50% of this maximum etc.
15. Has any other supplier been engaged with this project so far? No
16. 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? Scoring from the first round shall be taken through to the second round and combined with the proposal evaluation scoring to provide a final technical score.
17. For clarity, what roles are FCO expecting to provide for this project? (reason being the 'existing team' mentions DM and PM, the 'working arrangements' mention PO and BAs). Also, are all the roles that FCO expect to provide expected to be full time on the project? We expect the supplier to advise us on the roles required and if they’d be full time. There will not be a business analyst nor a Delivery Manager solely dedicated to this project from FCO. The only dedicated resource the FCO will provide will be a Product Manager.
18. Are FCO able to recruit and provide access to users for the purpose of user research? We may be able to provide some access, however we expect the supplier to do the recruitment and screening for the user research.
19. Will new budget approval and a procurement exercise be needed to complete any work after this phase? Yes. This procurement is only for the discovery outcomes with the outcomes of this work determining the way forward and all, part or none of the recommendations moving forward. Any future work at Alpha phase shall therefore be required to be procured through a new process.
20. As there is a duration and budget specified, can we assume work for the Discoveries has been limited and prioritised? The work we require completed has been outlined within the requirements. Based on previous discoveries we anticipate that this is achievable within the budgets and timelines specified.
21. As there is a duration and budget specified, can we assume work for the Discoveries has been limited and prioritised? The work we require completed has been outlined within the requirements. Based on previous discoveries we anticipate that this is achievable within the budgets and timelines specified.
22. Will this project require engagement with GDS? Yes. The discoveries will follow the services standard and may require an assessment before moving to alpha.
23. Will FCO be able to organise access to stakeholders throughout the project? Yes.
24. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would FCO expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed 'exceeding' and score 3 marks? The FCO does not provide specific guidance on how suppliers are to respond in order to achieve higher scores and it would be difficult for us to do so as suppliers can demonstrate exceeding the standard in many ways. Exceeding often demonstrates strong alignment to organisational objectives or delivering additional value against the requirement.
25. Is the listed price exclusive of VAT? Yes.
26. As per DOS guidelines, 'You should only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement', are FCO only requesting one example per skills and experience question? Yes.
27. How has the listed budget been derived? Based on previous work.
28. What are the steps and expected timeline for procurement after the initial evidencing round? We expect to evaluate responses WC Monday 4th November. Suppliers will be informed of their success or lack thereof WC Monday 18th November. Those successful will be asked to submit further documentation and supply a presentation, Monday 25th November – Friday 6th December.
29. Is there an expectation for how long during a week you would like suppliers on either site? We expect the supplier to co-locate with the team in London, however we will accept some remote working within reason.
30. 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? We will give all answers the same consideration, however examples that have particular relevance to the requirements will naturally be scored higher whether that is because it is a similar organisation or something else that makes it particularly relevant. We expect suppliers to have good awareness of the services standards for government services.
31. Is there a preferred technology stack within your estate? We use a range of technologies and as this is a discovery we would expect some recommendations for technology selection based on our existing stack and other relevant criteria.
32. Are you looking for an organisation with GDS service standard experience or just certain individuals proposed in the supplier team? We expect a good awareness of GDS Service Standard at least.
33. How will expenses be managed for travel outside of the base location? Following on from this, is it expected that London would be the project location for the purpose of estimating expenses? There may be some travel to Milton Keynes but expect the majority of work to take place in our offices in London.
34. Is there expected to be any international travel as part of the Discoveries? If so, can we assume FCO will be providing expenses to cover this? No international travel is expected.
35. Roughly how many users are there of the current services? Both the gov.uk and the Complaints Handling System. We expect the supplier to estimate number of users as part of the discoveries. There are not existing digital services that are being improved but rather manual process that we are looking to potentially transform. The numbers of assistance cases per post are published on gov.uk
36. Is our understanding correct that you would like to split this work into three Discoveries to cover the three areas in the 'problem to be solved' section? If so, are you expecting these to be run in tandem or consecutively? Also, are you able to provide the high-level rationale for splitting the Discovery as such? Yes, that is correct. It is the supplier’s choice whether to run these in tandem or consecutively. The choice for this is to have these completed by this financial year.
37. For clarity, are the services that need improving to be accessed outside of the UK? Yes – we expect the services to be accessed both within and outside of the UK.
38. How is information currently provided into the 'Complaints and Compliments Handling System? This is currently managed manually via spreadsheets. We expect the discovery to propose a digital solution.
39. Were any external suppliers involved in the last Discovery or the current one? Yes.
40. Are you able to provide any rough examples of the types of Digital Tools you are hoping to explore? We have suggestions from consular, however, we are interested in exploring the problem before we suggest any specific digital tools.
41. For clarity, are the current 'consular pages' described in 'Summary of the work' provided here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consular-services ? These are included in the content that will be analysed as part of this discovery.
42. Will the people involved in the previous and current Discoveries be available for the new Discoveries? Outcome documentation will be available to the successful supplier.
43. Are you able to detail the team and capabilities that have delivered the Discovery work so far? The team that completed Discovery work last year was multi-disciplinary and recruited in the same method as this discovery. The ongoing Discoveries are being conducted by the consular insights team who do market research.
44. Are you able to share the outputs from the Discovery last year? Yes, but not at this stage. Outcome documentation will be available to the successful supplier.
45. If FCO have completed the other Discoveries internally, are there any specific reasons that FCO are now reaching out to external suppliers? FCO have used external suppliers for previous Discoveries.
46. Are you expecting to award one single supplier the contract to deliver these Discoveries? Yes.
47. Please provide more detail as to what you mean by "Have evidence of a robust security management system which addresses physical, personnel, procedural and technical risks" A strategy that shows the supplier is complying with security procedures, processes and existing legislation and is GDPR complaint. We expect the supplier to be able to provide a security and risk management system as part of any business cases and comply with our security policies.
48. In the skills and experience section, can you please clarify (possibly with some examples) what you mean by wider industry standards? Wider industry standards refers to existing best practice, IT service management, agile delivery and GDS Service Standards.
49. Could you expand a bit more on "robust security management system which addresses physical, personnel, procedural and technical risks"? are you looking for the security needed around interacting with consulates ? Similar phrasing is also used in ISO27001 for securing data; is this more what you are looking for? A strategy that shows the supplier is complying with security procedures, processes and existing legislation and is GDPR complaint. We expect the supplier to be able to provide a security and risk management system as part of any business cases and comply with our security policies.
50. When you ask for experience of "working on services offered in a range of domestic and international locations" are you looking for the ability to be able to deliver in international locations or that we've worked on services developed in the UK that are used worldwide? Developed in the UK and used worldwide as the FCO have many posts abroad to provide assistance to British citizens in addition to the London location.
51. When you ask for experience of "working on services offered in a range of domestic and international locations" are you looking for the ability to be able to deliver in international locations or that we've worked on services developed in the UK that are used worldwide? Developed in the UK and used worldwide as the FCO have many posts abroad to provide assistance to British citizens in addition to the London location.
52. For the question “Have evidence of a robust security management system which addresses physical, personnel, procedural and technical risks” could you please clarify whether you would like to see evidence that the supplier has their own robust security management system, or that the supplier has worked with/implemented/developed robust security management systems? A strategy that shows the supplier is complying with security procedures, processes and existing legislation and is GDPR complaint. We expect the supplier to be able to provide a security and risk management system as part of any business cases and comply with our security policies.
53. Please provide more detail as to what you mean by "Have evidence of a robust security management system which addresses physical, personnel, procedural and technical risks" A strategy that shows the supplier is complying with security procedures, processes and existing legislation and is GDPR complaint. We expect the supplier to be able to provide a security and risk management system as part of any business cases and comply with our security policies.
54. 1. A discovery often requires a small team of around 4 people for approximately 6 weeks. Given your budget range of £100,000, what supplier team profile do you envisage and ideally for what duration (noting the contract term is 3 months)? Are these effectively 3 relatively small discoveries that you expect to be conducted in parallel, or sequentially?
Will the FCO's Product Owner and Senior BA fulfil these roles as part of a collaborative discovery team? Are there any other roles within the team that the FCO will fulfil?
We expect the supplier to advise us on the roles required. There will not be a business analyst solely dedicated to this project from FCO. The only dedicated resource provided from FCO will be a Product Manager. It is the supplier’s choice whether to run these in tandem or consecutively.
55. 1. What users will the FCO recruit/provide access to and what users will you expect the supplier to recruit?
2. Do you expect user recruitment and incentive costs to be included in the proposal, or do you expect them to be passed on to the FCO as 'materials'?
3. What timescales are you working to for informing shortlisted suppliers, submission of proposals and scheduling of presentations?
Is there further information that you will share with the down-selected suppliers that will help inform the discovery approach?
1. FCO can facilitate access to internal FCO consular resource who may be able to give some contacts. However, we also expect the supplier to proactively recruit users.
2. Yes, the user recruitment and incentive costs should be included in the budget.
3. We expect to evaluate responses WC Monday 4th November. Then suppliers will be informed of their success or lack thereof WC Monday 18th November. Those successful will be asked to submit further documentation and supply a presentation, Monday 25th November – Friday 6th December.
4. Previous Discovery outcome documentation will be available to the successful supplier.