Awarded to Oxford Insights

Start date: Monday 17 February 2020
Value: £79,230
Company size: SME
Government Digital Service (GDS, part of the Cabinet Office)

WP1847: Global Digital Marketplace gender equality & social inclusion in ICT procurement - discovery

8 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 2 large

11 Completed applications

9 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Friday 3 January 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 10 January 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 17 January 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
GDS requires gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) research and analysis relating to information, communication and technology (ICT) public procurement, and recommendations for integrating GESI responsive initiatives into the programme’s delivery, focussing on priority countries Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa, aligned to its ‘5 Pillars’.
Latest start date
Monday 17 February 2020
Expected contract length
9 weeks (to 17 April 2020) + possible extension of up to 2 weeks
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Government Digital Service (GDS, part of the Cabinet Office)
Budget range
£90,000 + VAT

As this contract spans two financial reporting years, the successful supplier is requested to invoice up to £72,000 (excluding VAT) for work completed, before the end of the 2019/20 financial year.

This forecasted figure may be updated when the call-off contract is finalised

About the work

Why the work is being done
Procurement enables public institutions to positively and sustainably stimulate economies, by establishing more open, transparent, fairer, non-discriminatory and inclusive markets.

The United Nations (UN) report: ‘Leave No One Behind. A Call to Action for Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment’ states:

“Strong and accumulating evidence suggests that lower levels of gender inequality are associated with gains in terms of income, economic growth and national competitiveness.”

GESI responsive public procurement helps to stop commercially discriminatory practices, promoting opportunities for gender equality and economic empowerment of under-represented groups, eg women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The UN Technology and Innovation Labs (UNTILs) report: ‘Inclusion and Diversity: Tech it or leave IT’ states:

“Technology can be an enabler of advancing diversity and inclusion across the globe. There is a risk of perpetuating or strengthening existing biases and power imbalances if diversity and inclusion in tech are not specifically addressed. Critical considerations are necessary to ensure that no group is inexistent, invisible or discriminated against within the tech sector or by technology, and technology includes all.”
Problem to be solved
Gender equality and women’s empowerment are indispensable to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the UN Development Programme and the UN Development Fund for Women report: ‘Corruption, Accountability and Gender: Understanding the Connections’ corruption disproportionately burdens women.

Directly, corruption reinforces women’s social and economic marginalisation by restricting access to education, markets and credits, and public office. It inhibits access to basic public services and can take the form of sexual exploitation.

Indirectly, the burden derives from corruption’s greater impact on society’s poorest, of which women form the majority, meaning women are more likely to be affected.

As Hera Hussain, Senior Advocacy Manager at the Open Contracting Partnership, says in this blog post: ‘Gender-smart open contracting: empowering communities and enabling inclusive growth’ :

“Governments spend one-fifth of their budgets buying goods and services from the private sector, but women-owned businesses supply only 1% of this market…
Gender bias and rigid power dynamics can recreate discrimination and oppression in how government money is planned, procured, implemented and monitored.”
Who the users are and what they need to do
As citizens, we need to know our governments are being fair, open, transparent, inclusive, non-discriminatory, and acting with honesty and integrity, when deciding how our taxpayers’ money should be spent, so that we trust they’re delivering better public services.

As public procurement officials with integrity, we need to lower market access barriers for a more diverse range of businesses, eg women-owned SMEs, so that we’re tackling discrimination, supporting fairer markets for women entrepreneurs, and encouraging inclusive procurement practices across the public and private sectors.

As women-owned businesses (whether SMEs or large) with integrity wishing to supply our products, services or works to governments, we need to know that public officials are being honest and inclusive, so that we trust they’re evaluating us fairly and without discrimination while planning, procuring, implementing and monitoring public spending.

As researchers or journalists, we need to easily analyse bulk sets of gender-disaggregated data on government spending, so that we can identify gender gaps and barriers to women’s participation in public procurement, which helps to hold institutions to account for decisions that affect public spending, gender equality and social inclusion.
Early market engagement
GDS has engaged with the market on numerous occasions since the Global Digital Marketplace Programme was first publicly announced in September 2017 - see the GDS blog post titled ‘Make procurement open: it makes government better’ .

Most recently was August 2019, details of which (including what was discussed) have been published as a GDS blog post titled ‘Engaging UK suppliers in the Global Digital Marketplace Programme alpha phase’
Any work that’s already been done
This document provides general background information regarding the GDS Global Digital Marketplace Programme:

Relevant work planned, underway or completed with national or subnational governments in target countries, partners and stakeholders, will be shared with the successful supplier.
Existing team
The Global Digital Marketplace Programme team consists of:

-Head of Global Delivery
-Head of Product
-Head of Business Partnerships
-Interim Head of Subnational Government and Tech Sector Engagement
-Regional Product/ Senior Delivery Managers
-Standards Assurance Lead
-Skills and Capability Lead (also the team’s GESI representative)

The successful supplier should plan for potentially collaborating with other suppliers' teams working on:

Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
GDS is based in the White Chapel Building, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 8QS.

The successful supplier will be able to work remotely and does not have to be based in this office.

Any contact with the Global Digital Marketplace Programme, wider GDS teams, other suppliers' teams, etc, should reflect this.
Working arrangements
This work can be completed offsite and no international travel is expected.

The GDS Global Digital Marketplace Programme team would like research and analysis insights to be presented incrementally throughout the engagement, during short, fortnightly ‘show and tell’ sessions. These sessions can be delivered remotely although the team welcomes onsite meetings.

GDS will share with the successful supplier any relevant findings from our own discovery and alpha work running parallel to this contract, which will focus on priority countries of Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All expenses must be pre-agreed with between the parties and must comply with the Cabinet Office (CO) Travel and Subsistence (T&S) Policy.

All vendors are obliged to provide sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures so that the processing meets the requirements of GDPR and ensures the protection of the rights of data subjects.

For further information please see the Information Commissioner's Office website:

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
  • In-depth understanding and experience of conducting primary and secondary research on areas of public or private sector policy and social impact.
  • In-depth understanding and experience of presenting clear, compelling, evidence-based recommendations for change and social impact, based on primary and secondary research.
  • Experience of researching either public procurement, the ICT sectors, or GESI, in the context of public or private sector policy and social impact.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of conducting research and analysis in ways that align with the approaches described in the GOV.UK Service Manual.
  • Self-directed and comfortable taking delivery ownership for research, analysis and recommendations development.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • How (by 17 April 2020) the proposed solution will deliver: -GESI research and analysis relating to ICT public procurement. -recommendations for integrating GESI responsive initiatives into the programme’s delivery.
  • How (by 17 April 2020) the proposed solution will focus on: - priority countries (examples from other countries are also welcome). - the ‘5 Pillars’.
  • How (by 17 April 2020) the proposed solution will focus on: -helping stop commercially discriminatory practices. -promoting opportunities for gender equality and economic empowerment of under-represented groups, eg women-owned SMEs.
  • Team structure and organisational make up.
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Please provide work histories of all proposed team members - these will be scored as a set.
  • Those shortlisted must be able to present - date to be confirmed.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Collaborates transparently and closely with colleagues when making decisions.
  • Works with GDS in a self-starting fashion.
  • Has policies, procedures or working practices and ethos that supports GESI.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please state the marks per Proposal Criteria and per Cultural Fit Criteria.
We will use a 0-3 marking system for all criteria. Each criteria will have equal weighting. The totals at assessment stage will be weighted against the published percentages for technical competence and cultural fit.