This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Tuesday 3 December 2019
NHS England and NHS Improvement

Sharing Platform

38 Incomplete applications

32 SME, 6 large

37 Completed applications

30 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Tuesday 19 November 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 26 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 3 December 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
NHS England and NHS Improvement require an online sharing platform for health and social care. This is a larger solution to the one currently in place, which will build on the successful growth of the FutureNHS service.

This project aims to deliver a sustainable solution for online sharing and collaboration.
Latest start date
Tuesday 14 January 2020
Expected contract length
Maximum 2 years
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
NHS England and NHS Improvement
Budget range
Discovery: £100k - £200k

Alpha: £200k - £400k

Beta: £900k - £1.2m

About the work

Why the work is being done
A significant need has been identified across the health and social care system to support the way in which organisations, teams and individuals work collaboratively together.

A digital solution which supports online sharing, learning and connecting people across the whole of the health and social care system is vital. An online platform that continues to enable and sustain the growth of transformation and innovation for better health and social care outcomes is key to support the health and social care community to drive forward these improvements and developments.

This large-scale solution will be building upon the success of the current FutureNHS service, with the aim of developing and enhancing the online sharing and collaboration opportunities available to the whole health and social care community.
Problem to be solved
The health and social care system is complex, with many organisations and teams developing new and innovative ways to drive transformation for the improvement of systems, services and ways of working, which ultimately impact on and aim to improve health and social care within communities.

Supporting these many different organisations and individuals to work together and collaborate efficiently and effectively can be challenging. Barriers include a variety of individual IT and digital infrastructures currently in place that do not talk to one another. This makes knowledge sharing, learning, connecting with others and developing cross-organisational projects significantly more difficult to achieve.

These silos can result in duplication of work and the divergence of transformation solutions, which impact upon the outputs and positive change that the system is trying to make. By providing a cross-organisational digital online solution that aims to significantly reduce these silos and therefore improve how the system connects, shares and works together is vital in driving forward the delivery of health and social care for the future.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Many staff across the health and social care community in England are engaged in a wide range of transformation projects.

The users working on these projects can vary in terms of seniority and experience, as well as the type of organisations to which they belong.

To address the current problems with knowledge sharing and spread, these users need to be able to connect, collaborate and share with other users across organisational boundaries and silos.

The health and social care community is made up of users from across national, local and regional organisations and teams, including; Clinical Commissioning Groups, Primary Care Networks, national bodies, Integrated Care Systems, Academic Health Science Networks, patient representatives, not for profit bodies, local government and social care bodies, plus many others.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We are currently in a discovery phase and have:
- Identified users
- Undertaken user research to understand and define the challenges they have for sharing and collaborating with others across the health and social care community
- Captured user ideas and requirements for an improved service

This is a continuous process for the team and will continue throughout the procurement process and life of the service.
Existing team
The FutureNHS service is currently run by the Strategy & Development team within the organisation's Data, Analysis and Intelligence Service.

The team employs a Product/Platform Manager, reporting into a Head of Innovation & Collaboration, who will work on this project with the supplier. The supplier is expected to provide a delivery team to work with the Product manager and engage with the wider FutureNHS service team and external ambassador group through the Product Manager for insight.

Further capacity may exist within the team to aid user research, communications and project management; however, the supplier should not depend on this support.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The current team are located remotely but come together at least once a week in London.

The tool will be used across the country and we would expect appropriate research to be accordingly undertaken.

Development of the new platform will take place at the supplier’s address. Travel/expenses to sites should be included in your costs and will not be reimbursed separately.
Working arrangements
The chosen supplier is expected to accommodate the Product Manager and other FutureNHS service team members where needed for at least 3 days a week for face-to-face meetings.

We are looking to deliver the new solution according to the Agile principles as documented in the Government & NHS Digital service manuals. We will expect the chosen supplier to perform and provide evidence of such practices in operation.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1. All outputs will be owned by NHS England & NHS Improvement and published openly where appropriate using a suitable open license that supports reuse (e.g. MIT and OGL).

2. All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of NHS England & NHS Improvement.

3. GDPR requirements will be discussed and agreed once the successful supplier has been notified (as part of discussions to agree the wording of the call-off contract).

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
  • Demonstrable experience of a willingness to work in the open and create open source applications
  • Experience of agile product development
  • Experience of undertaking user research and service design for large multi-site organisations
  • Demonstratable experience of deploying flexible, agile product delivery teams throughout the product development lifecycle.
  • Experience of deploying User-Centered Design to create products and working with UX/UI best practices
  • Experience of translating business problems and user needs into technical designs
  • Experience of creating products and environments which facilitate integrations and the ability to plugin applications developed by 3rd party developers
  • Experience of using common programming languages (e.g. .NET & Python) and frameworks to develop knowledge sharing and collaboration applications (please provide examples of languages and frameworks used)
  • Demonstrable experience of utilising test-driven development (TDD) practices, covering a minimum of 80% of code using unit and integration tests
  • Experience of using a distributed Source Control, preferably git/GitHub
  • Experience of using continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD) techniques from the outset of a project (sprint 0)
  • Experience of creating products using third party identity providers (IdP’s) using OAuth
  • Demonstratable experience of delivering products in environments with high levels of data security and data protection (e.g. Healthcare, Defence, Finance etc)
  • Experience of creating living documentation via a wiki to aid knowledge transfer from the outset of a project (sprint 0)
  • Experience of largescale and complex selective data migration of user and content migration
  • Experience of supporting live products, including change control and release management practices
  • Experience of working with a cloud first approach
  • Experience of managing and supporting products hosted in a cloud infrastructure and environment provisioned by the client
  • Must be able to commence the project in January 2020
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience working with the NHS and/or public sector bodies
  • Demonstrable knowledge of NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Experience with interfacing with Microsoft Azure or AWS
  • Experience of integrating and working with the APIs of applications such as Tableau, Office365, Google Suite, Zendesk
  • Experience of working to NHS Digital Service Manual and/or to Government Digital Service Manual standards and taking projects through phases of GDS assessment
  • Using Github and publishing code and documentation under MIT & OGL licences

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed technical solution
  • Methodology
  • Team structure
  • Proposal to deliver a plugin capability
  • Test approach
  • Knowledge transfer approach
  • Approach to data security and information governance
Cultural fit criteria
  • Describe how you would work as a team with our organisation, other suppliers and stakeholders to ensure successful delivery of this project. Please provide examples from similar organisations and/or projects.
  • Detail how your organisation is delivery and quality focused. Please provide examples of achievements with other clients.
  • Describe your approach to being transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Describe how your organisation has helped influence the direction of a supplier’s product different to their thinking which resulted in a positive outcome
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is the vendor able to provide further details on the nature of information to be shared – are documents required to be managed and, if so, do the documents relate to projects, cases, departments, some other grouping or are they un-grouped?
Document/File management functionality will be a requirement of the platform. The capability to share information within groups of various sizes, with appropriate permissions but also share wider across the whole platform will be required.

Groups on the platform will represent groups commonly found across Health & Care. These can range from communities of interest and individual organisations to national programmes/projects and organisational groupings (e.g. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships)
2. The opportunity makes reference to 'digital infrastructures currently in place that do not talk to one another'. Can the vendor provide information on whether integrations with other systems are expected as part of this project and the nature of the integration required?
We want the platform to be interoperable where appropriate with other systems across the Health and Care sector. Requirements like Single Sign On will be important to ensure we are not creating another profile and login for employees to remember.
3. Are you open to working with a mixed team made up of both on and off-shore resources.
Providing there is justification for this and examples of evidence where this has produced positive outcomes without hindering the cultural fit, there is no issue with using on and off-shore resources.
4. In many sections this opportunity is very well written, but there are too many 'skills and experience' questions, needing 100 word answers to be carefully crafted, for us to be likely to take part at this early stage. Would it be possible to prioritise 10ish of these you need to select on most, and then you could ask shortlisted suppliers to cover the rest in proposals?
Unfortunately we are not able to prioritise these.

We do appreciate the feedback, and acknowledge that reducing the number of skills and experience would reduce the number of answers and therefore the evaluation time.

We are not expecting each answer to have 100 words, some may indeed warrant a shorter response.
5. Are.NET and Python specific requirements or are they, as the question suggests, merely examples of common programme languages?
.Net & Python are the programme languages that we have more experience working with. However, we are open to considering other languages providing a strong justification is required.
6. Is it possible to share the results of the Discovery phase?
We will be sharing further information with the shortlisted suppliers for the evaluation phase. Whilst lots of user research has been carried out, the initial part of this project will require the support of the selected supplier to help pull all the discovery work together in order for the project to move into the Alpha phase
7. It is mentioned in the Discovery phase that a number of user requirements and improvements were identified, please can you provide the details of these recommendations.
These will be shared with the shortlised suppliers in advance of the final evaluation
8. Please can you provide an outline of the user personas that would be potentially adopting this new shared collaboration platform.
These will be shared with the shortlised suppliers in advance of the final evaluation
9. Are the published budgets exclusive of VAT?
Budgets are inclusive of VAT
10. Do you have a target technology set in mind for this project?
No, we are looking for the chosen supplier to assist with advising on the most suitable technology for the platform
11. One of the criteria mentions deploying flexible, agile product delivery teams. Is there an expectation that multiple teams will be required, or does this simply mean multiple agile feature teams, within an overall software delivery team?
There is no definitive expectation with regards to this. We are looking for an overarching agile delivery approach, but will be flexible in aligning ourselves to the chosen suppliers preferred agile delivery method
12. When you discuss plugin applications and integrations, do you mean at an API level or plugin architectures for user interfaces, such as a website or office apps?
We have requirements for both API level integration and a plugin interface for apps on the new platform
13. Are you able to share any of the work and research done to date in the Discovery phase prior to proposal presentations?
These will be shared with the shortlised suppliers in advance of the evaluation
14. Given a reasonable amount of work has been achieved during the Discovery phase already, what are the gaps you believe still needs completing?
As part of the discovery phase we will be looking on the chosen supplier to complete this gap analysis based on a review of our current work
15. You state the need to demonstrate a willingness to work within the open can you explain what is meant by this.
We are looking to follow GDS design principles in terms of making things open. The following link provides details of what is meant by this
16. You state that you would like experience of using.Net and Python and associated frameworks. Is there any consideration to other frameworks especially open source ones?
Yes, provided justification is given.
17. The opportunity refers to common programming languages (e.g..NET & Python). Do you have a preferred language at this point and is specific experience with.NET & Python essential?
.Net & Python are the programme languages that we have more experience working with. However, we are open to considering other languages providing a strong justification is required.
18. Do you have a preferred technology stack?
19. Can you elaborate on current features and functions liked in FutureNHS vs new features you would like to see?
These will be shared with the shortlised suppliers in advance of the evaluation phase
20. Do you have any preference for programming languages/frameworks? specifically given the desire to create open source applications?
21. Could you please provide further details on what types of data, and how much data you anticipate migrating, as part of this project?
Common document and media file types found in most organisations will be expected to be migrated, along with content data and user profiles.
22. Data migration and different department groups are mentioned once or twice in the overview document. Are there any rough calculations on the expected numbers in terms of provisioning of users? For example 5,000 users, 50,000 users or 500,000 users?
We currently estimate expected registered numbers to be 100,000 users on the platform by the end of 2020/21 finanial year with approximate 2000 GB of storage.
23. What kind of information will be shared on this platform? Is it patient level clinical event data? Is there a list of in scope data sets already? Or a vision for these?
Health and Care transformation knowledge and management information will be shared across the platform. There is no requirement to hold patient level or clinical event level information on the platform. There is no requirement for information classified above "Official" in terms of sensitivity to be held on the platform.
24. At proposal stage you ask for details of the Proposed Technical Solution and exactly how Plug-ins will work. Given that the DOS advert suggests that the work will be building on a successful service that is already in place, will you be sharing details of the existing system with the shortlisted suppliers to enable them to provide this detail, or are you actually requiring a new greenfield system with similar functionality to the existing one?
The requirement is for a new greenfield system with functionality commonly found in similar collaboration and sharing platforms. Further information will be provided to shortlisted suppliers
25. Is it possible to set up monthly milestone and be paid at each one?
We cannot confirm commercial payment arrangements at this stage.
26. Is there a restriction on where the project can be based specifically in reference to the face-to-face meetings with the Product Manager and other team members?
There is no restriction and our product manager is able to travel, within reason, for operational meetings. Review meetings with other other team members will need to take place in London. The current team host face to face meetings in London.
27. Is there an incumbent already involved?
The current FutureNHS platform is built on Kahootz. We are looking to build on the success of FutureNHS. This is a greenfield project and all work to date on this project has been carried out in house.
28. Can you please confirm any current incumbent suppliers involved in the FutureNHS project?
The current FutureNHS platform is built on Kahootz. We are looking to build on the success of FutureNHS. This is a greenfield project and all work to date on this project has been carried out in house.
29. Please also confirm any suppliers involved in the project to date?
The current FutureNHS platform is built on Kahootz. We are looking to build on the success of FutureNHS. This is a greenfield project and all work to date on this project has been carried out in house.
30. Can you please outline the timeline for the additional assessment methods, following the shortlisting phase?
We are hoping to have completed shortlisting by the 13th December, at which point we shall issue our requirements and request for proposal document. We'd look to be evaluating proposals in early January in readiness for presentations week commencing 13th January.