This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Friday 31 January 2020
NHSX - Department of Health and Social Care

Participant recruitment for regular user research activities

4 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 0 large

7 Completed applications

7 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Friday 17 January 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 24 January 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 31 January 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The digital transformation team at NHSX needs a specialist service to recruit participants to take part in regular user research activities.
Research dates
Dates will be confirmed at the start of each project. The contract runs February to April 2020
Organisation the work is for
NHSX - Department of Health and Social Care
Budget range
Supplier submit a rate card containing a breakdown of their rates for:
• Recruitment cost (per participant)
• Service fee
• Incentive costs
• Any additional fees for specific user groups e.g. accessibility
Budget approved to spend up to £100k total

About the work

Early market engagement

About the research

Description of your participants
To be specified at start of each round

Participants may be from the following groups:

General public/patients
● People accessing health services from different demographics
● People with a specific health condition
● People with experience of a particular situation e.g. waiting over 2 weeks to receive test results
● Children and young people (aged 8-25)
● Vulnerable, hard to reach groups
● Currently living in England from a spread of locations, age groups, ethnicities, disabilities and genders including trans people
● Some of the topics we are working on include mental health, outpatients and maternity

Health professionals and staff
● Clinical staff working in specific health service in the NHS (e.g. mental health service, GP practice, hospital)
● Non-clinical staff supporting delivery of service (e.g. admin team, health care assistants, managers)

Exclusion criteria
Participants should not:
● Have taken part in user research in the last 3 months
● Work for a central government body or know anyone who may have a stake in the project

Consent and data
● All participants must give informed consent ahead of the research and be informed of NHSX privacy notice
● Should be prepared to be recorded (audio/video/photograph) depending on research method
Assisted digital and accessibility requirements
We will likely need at least 2 participants in each research round of research with:
Mild access needs (cognitive, motor, visual or hearing)
Severe access needs (cognitive, motor, visual or hearing)
Low digital skills and less confidence online
Research plan
-Recruiting participants for regular user research activities. This may include (but is not limited to) in-depth interviews, contextual research, site visits, home visits, diary studies, card sorting, co-design workshops, usability testing and surveys
-Managing the screening process to ensure participants meet specific criteria. This may include (but is not limited to) their experience with a particular health service/demographics/employment status/age/gender /disability
-Sharing information sheets and collecting informed consent in appropriate format using NHSX consent forms
-Booking participants to allocated research slots
-Sending invitations to the research/reminders and joining instructions
-Sending necessary follow-up emails e.g. support leaflet/feedback/survey on their experience taking part
Research location
The research will take place in different locations across England. This may include (but is not limited to) contextual site visits in GP practices, hospitals or health centres. In-depth interviews in participant's homes, co-design workshops and testing ideas in community centres, schools or research labs.
The team is based in London and Leeds, but will travel to appropriate locations for user research depending on the needs of the research.
Access restrictions at location
Number of research rounds
To be defined at the start of each project. Budgeted for 21 rounds of research.
Number of participants a round
To be defined at the start of each project.
Usually 6 participants per round.
How often research will happen
We will have regular user research activities taking place across different projects at one time.
User research will happen at least once every sprint in every project team. There are currently 3 live projects.
Evening or weekend research

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
You should use the standard contract unless your organisation needs to include additional terms and conditions.
Read about how the terms and conditions work.
The suppliers have already agreed that:
their prices must include all incentives, recruitment, and travel and subsistence costs paid to participants
you don’t pay for participants who don’t attend on the day
they are responsible for paying participants directly

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 recruiting specialised research participants for government services
  • Follows an ethical, rigorous approach to screening potential participants
  • Access to a range of reliable networks to reach suitable participants
  • Able to process informed consent and incentives for participants
  • Able to mitigate the risks of participants not showing up for user research or not meeting the criteria.
  • Able to recruit participants with mild and severe access needs (motor, cognitive, visual, hearing)
  • Able to recruit participants with low digital skills / confidence online
  • Works in an agile way and is flexible in the research methods and contexts they can recruit for
  • Ability to work nationwide
  • 9. Complies with GDPR regulations on storing and processing participant data
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience recruiting research participants in a health context
  • Experience recruiting users from vulnerable, 'hard to reach' groups

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • ● Their approach to recruiting and screening participants who meet specific criteria
  • ● Breakdown of recruitment costs, incentives and any admin fees
  • ● Risks and dependencies with approaches to managing them
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence






Questions asked by suppliers

1. From reading this project overview, it sounds like you are looking for a partner to recruit participants and that you will conduct the actual research yourself. Is this correct? Its not clear what involvement or not you want of a partner once the participants have been recruited.
'That's correct, we will be conducting the research ourselves. The partner is a specialist recruitment agency who will support with finding, screening and booking in appropriate participants for the research. When the research is taking place, this may include corresponding with participants, sending reminders, joining instructions and follow up information. Thanks