Awarded to Lagom Strategy Ltd

Start date: Wednesday 1 July 2020
Value: £50,200
Company size: SME
NHS Health Education England

Discovery phase for careers website for the NHS

22 Incomplete applications

18 SME, 4 large

89 Completed applications

75 SME, 14 large

Important dates

Wednesday 22 April 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 29 April 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 6 May 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Discovery phase with a focus on end-user research to explore user needs and whether these are being met by the current website. This phase will need to look at the current functionality/user journeys and make recommendations for future development so we can make informed decisions on the website's future.
Latest start date
Tuesday 26 May 2020
Expected contract length
Three months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
NHS Health Education England
Budget range
Up to £60,000.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The NHS published an Interim People Plan in May 2019 and is expected to release the full plan later this year. It is likely that this will have NHS recruitment targets to deliver the ambitions of the NHS Long-Term Plan.

As part of this, the NHS needs a careers website that inspires people to consider a career in the NHS while offering them up-to-date, accurate and accessible information so they can make informed choices. This means that our digital offer must meet the needs of its users while being part of the NHS recruitment solution, including supporting recruitment campaigns.

The NHS Interim People Plan also has a clear action in respect of the Health Careers website:

"Review the Health Careers website to ensure it is an attractive advertisement for a wide range of roles, entry points and benefits of working in the 21st century NHS and enables us to compete with other large national employers."

Some work has already been undertaken in this area around brand and identity. This project now needs to build on this initial work so that we can ensure we have a website that is fit for purpose.
Problem to be solved
Conduct thorough and objective user research activities to gain a more detailed and evidenced understanding of the needs of the diverse users of the Health Careers website as well as other key audience groups.

First, we need to understand whether the current user personas are still fit for purpose and whether the current digital offer is meeting their needs eg functionality, information architecture, content, design and accessibility.

The questions we need to answer are: does the website currently inspire consideration of a health career? Are users able to find the information they need to make informed decisions? And does the information available meet their needs in respect of supporting their career decisions?

We are also keen is explore the user's journey from landing on the website to registering for ongoing information, which will support wider campaign and communication activity.

We are seeking evidence-based recommendations on the improvements needed so we can make informed decisions on future development, including whether or not a new website is needed.

We anticipate that the work will require user participant recruitment, usability testing sessions, user satisfactions surveys and user interviews.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a student/a career changer interested in a specific NHS career, I need to understand the skills, experience and qualifications needed so that I can follow my dream.

As a student/career changer interested in a NHS career but not knowing what I want to do, I need to understand the careers on offer, which best suit me and the skills, experience and qualifications needed so I can make an informed career decision.

As a student/carer changer who doesn't know what they want to do, I want to feel inspired while gaining an understanding of the NHS careers on offer and the skills, experience and qualifications needed so I can make an informed career decision.

As someone who used to work in the NHS and keen to return, I need to know how to come back so I can restart my NHS career.

As a parent or carer, I need to understand what careers are available in the NHS and information on what they involve, the routes in so I can help those I look after to choose their future career.

As a career adviser/teacher, I need tools and careers information to help me deliver high-quality careers advice and guidance.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Some work exploring the brand and identity of the website and wider service delivery was undertaken in summer/autumn 2019 which included focus groups, interviews and workshops with end-users and key stakeholders.

This highlighted specifc issues, including the website not being particularly inspiring in creating an emotional connection, and confusion around the use of the Health Education England logo.

Some small developments are being undertaken to improve this which we expect to be live in advance of this project commencing.

The results of this work will be made available to the successful agency.
Existing team
You'll be working with Health Education England's (HEE) Health Careers team who are marketing, communications and careers professionals.

This team will have support from HEE's digital communications team. Some interaction might be needed with the current digital agency who are responsible for the development, support and maintenance of the website.

You may also need to work with the team's exisiting digital agency.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote working will be assumed especially in the current climate where
physical meetings aren't possible.

This will be discussed further upon commission and at any kick-off meeting.
Working arrangements
The supplier is expected to work within the brief provided and alongside the existing Health Careers team. Suppliers can determine their preferred methodology of discovery activity.
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
  • Offer evidence of recruiting and setting up user research with a range of audiences and stakeholders
  • Show experience of facilitating face-to-face and remote usability testing sessions with end users
  • Show evidence of making clear recommendations for future website development
  • Show experience of user research activities and outputs in line with the Government Digital Service’s Design Principles and Digital Service Standard
  • Show evidence of leading user research activities for a digital service during an iterative development project
  • Demonstrate experience of presenting user-friendly research to different audiences, including those with low technical expertise
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Evidence of recruiting and setting up user research with a youth audience
  • Experience and understanding of working on digital projects with a NHS
  • Experience and understanding of working on digital projects with a public sector organisation

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Recommended approach and methodology
  • A clear understanding of what we are looking to achieve
  • A clear understanding of our end-users
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Identified risks and dependencies and how these will be managed
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Be comfortable and confident in their recommendations and be willing to challenge us
  • Can work with clients with low technical expertise
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. We have experience working with Public Health England. Would you accept this as evidence for the question on working with the NHS or does the experience have to be directly with an NHS organisation?
Experience and understanding of working on digital projects within the NHS and/or a public sector organisation, including Public Health England, would count as 'nice-to-have skills and experience' but is not an essential requirement for evaluation.
2. You mention there were interviews, focus groups, and workshops in 2019, and as a result, work is currently ongoing with a digital agency.

Can you share who conducted this work, an indication as to whether the work currently in progress has a positive effect, and what impact you think it will have on this project?
We are unable to share who undertook this work. This work is now complete and has led to us looking to change the brand and identity of the website and other resources. The changes to the website are due to go live in the next few weeks. The research will help in respect of the development of personas and will offer a range of other insights to help this project.
3. Is there an existing product backlog available for the discovery?
Please can you clarify what is meant by 'existing product backlog'.
4. Based on the budget and scope for this project, it would be beneficial to augment the discovery team with HEE team members blended with the supplier team. Would any HEE team members such as product owners be available to blend with the supplier team?
The Health Careers team is a small team of five, comprised mainly of communications professionals. This project will be one of many projects we will be working on and while we will try to be available wherever possible, we cannot promise that we will be able to 'blend' with the supplier team. We will of course be involved in the day-to-day running of the project, and we will be on hand for any questions or consultations.
5. Is the scope of user research participants based solely in the UK or likely to include international participants?
User research should be UK-based.
6. Is there an existing directory of participants that can be called upon for this discovery? This could be in addition to extra recruitment.
Potentially, yes. We have a database of people who have agreed to be recontacted for research purposes but it will really depend on the methodology proposed.
7. Is there an existing relationship with a supplier for the recruitment of user research participants?
There isn't a supplier for the recruitment of user research participants, but HEE may be able to support you with recruitment of participants, which can be discussed further upon appointment.
8. Is there a separate budget allocated for a user research participant recruitment service?
No, all work needs to be within the budget range of £60,000.
9. Service Design’ implies an element of optimizing an organisation’s operations to better support customer journeys. Is there an expectation that the successfully supplier will be involved in this part of the work, or will their responsibility lie mainly in the design of the digital service?
The focus of the project is on conducting end-user research to explore user needs and whether these are being met by the current website. This phase will need to look at the current functionality/user journeys. As part of this, other elements of service delivery may arise but is not a core part of the project. As a discovery phase project, we do not expect the supplier to deliver any of the recommendations.
10. In your criteria :

"Evidence of recruiting and setting up user research with a youth audience" – what age range are you particularly interested in?

"Experience and understanding of working on digital projects with a NHS" – do you mean working directly with the NHS?
The further someone is on their education journey, the more they start thinking about their future career options, peaking as they need to make critical decisions eg GCSE options, further education and leaving school/college. Leaving higher education is another critical point in someone's career decision making. Taking all of this into account, by 'youth audience' we are broadly referring to those who are 14-24.

Working with the NHS may mean the supplier was procured to provide services for any NHS organisation, be it a hospital trust, commissioning unit, public sector health body, GP practice or arms-length body.
11. Is it permissible to provide more than one example where required to fully address the question?
Yes, you are welcome to provide more than one example.
12. Please can you share a procurement timetable outlining steps (which would typically include evidence response evaluation, shortlisting of suppliers for next stage, preparation of supplier proposals, evaluation of supplier proposals, announcement of successful supplier, contract completion, contract signatures, commence work), bearing in mind the dates published on the contract notice include latest start date Tue 26 May?
We aim to let suppliers know whether they have been shortlisted in w/b 11 May 2020 after our shortlisting and evaluation process. If an assessment stage is needed, this will be done virtually w/b 18.5.20, with an announcement of the successful supplier and award the contract w/b 25.5.20. Please note that there may need to be some flexibility within this timeline.
13. Do you have any preference between public sector or private sector examples? Or will both be treated equally as long as they are relevant to the question?
Both public sector and private sector examples will be welcomed as long as they meet the criteria listed. However, examples from the public sector would meet the 'nice-to-have skills and experience' criteria and will be taken into account in the buyer's evaluation.
14. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would you expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed 'exceeding' and score 3 marks?
It will really depend on the criteria being scored. For example, for the 'recommended approach and methodology', we will be looking for agencies to have shown real justification through evidence for their approach, maybe with some exploration of why methodologies were chosen over others. This is just one example and will not be the only thing looked at to score three marks. There will also be some interpretation by the individuals assessing the proposals.
15. Will you be able to organise access to users and other stakeholders throughout the project?
Potentially yes but this will really depend on your methodology and who you think you'll need to speak to.
16. Will your Product Owner be allocated full time to this project?
The Health Careers team is a small team of 5, but intends to be involved in the day-to-day running of the project. However, they will not be allocated full time to the project.
17. 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?
All information provided in the proposal will be taken into account when selecting the successful supplier.
18. At the proposal stage, in order to compare suppliers like for like, how will price be evaluated: will you be evaluating by the total price, rate card or both? How do you ensure that you are completing a genuine value for money comparison rather than just a rate card comparison?
We will look at the entire proposal to see whether this project is VFM. This will not necessarily be the total price. We need to feel confident that the project will be delivered to a high standard and offer us a robust evidence base for taking the next steps in future development.
19. What roles are you expecting suppliers to provide? In addition, are you expecting all roles to have the ability to be full time for the duration of the project?
We would need the supplier to be able to deliver the project within three months and at a cost of no more than £60,000. We have no expectations of particular roles, although would a day-to-day contact for the project would be expected.
20. Could you confirm how the the current personas were generated? Are these evidence-based or built on internal expert user insight?
The personas were developed in partnership with a digital agency. They were based on desk research and internal expert insight.
21. Has any research into the site’s current level of accessibility taken place? If so, what were the outcomes and can this be shared with bidders?
We want to make sure that we meet at least AA standard for accessibility. However, this is something that is currently being explored by our current developers to ensure we are still meeting these standards. Once this work is completed, it will be shared with the successful agency.
22. You state: "Some interaction might be needed with the current digital agency who are responsible for the development, support and maintenance of the website.""

Can you confirm whether the current digital agency will also continue to develop, support and maintain the website if this project moves into an Alpha phase, etc.?
This will be something that will be explored upon completion of the Discovery phase and decisions are made on the next steps.
23. You state: "Some interaction might be needed with the current digital agency... You may also need to work with the team's existing digital agency."

Can you confirm whether there are two agencies involved here, or just one?
For clarification, we currently work with a single digital agency for the development, support and maintenance of the website.
24. Can you confirm whether the current digital agency/agencies are intending to bid for this opportunity?
This tender is open to all suppliers, including the existing digital agency. This opportunity is a separate piece of 'discovery' work with clearly defined outcomes. Current knowledge or experience working with Health Careers will not necessarily be advantageous.
25. The advert says "You may also need to work with the team's existing digital agency." Please can you clarify this an internal team or an external supplier?
The existing digital agency is an external supplier.
26. Will providing additional attachments showing evidence of experience be allowed?
27. Can you confirm that the website in scope for this Discovery is:
Yes. However, we may also be looking to include, which is also part of our digital offering for the youth audience.
28. Will you accept more than one example given as evidence in a 100 word answer? Or will you enforce the single example per answer guidance set by the Marketplace?
Yes, you are welcome to provide more than one example.
29. Clarification question:

Where you say ‘Demonstrate experience of presenting user-friendly research to different audiences, including those with low technical expertise’...

Do you mean research stimulus (for example, clickable prototype of a technical system for user testing), or research insights (e.g. interpreting technical recommendations in a way that makes sense to business stakeholders)?
Primarily, research stimulus, especially in the current climate when we are likely to have to use technology to meet the outcomes of this project. However, we would also welcome examples of where research insights have been presented simply allowing people with low technical expertise to make decisions.
30. For the example in relation to facilitating remote usability sessions (second point in essential skills and experience) – are you looking for an example of remote one-to-one usability sessions or non-facilitated quantitative sessions?
Any relevant example of facilitating remote usability sessions is welcome, as long as they were facilitated sessions, whether one-to-one or group sessions.
31. Are you looking for a single example project that covers both face-to-face and remote usability testing sessions” in a single project, or will multiple examples provide the necessary evidence of experience?
You are welcome to provide more than one example.
32. Will the project be subject to GDS Assessment?
Yes, if appropriate after the discovery phase.
33. When you say 'Offer evidence of recruiting and setting up user research with a range of audiences and stakeholders' please can you elaborate on who/what you mean by audiences and stakeholders?
By audiences, we mean end users, intended users, or people who fit the relevant demographics of the end-users. By stakeholders, we mean organisations or professionals who you work with to develop, promote, or use the product or service with.
34. What is the value of the incremental improvement you are looking for?
This is a discovery project which will focus on answering the questions listed in the 'problem to be solved' section of the requirements. We are not looking for an incremental improvement at this stage.
35. What evidence suggests the site is not performing as well as it could be?
The purpose of the discovery is to establish this, i.e. is it meeting the needs of our users. We are approaching this with an open mind and to discover whether the website is fit for purpose.
36. Has any work been done yet to identify the balance of concerns between being inspirational (emotional) and being practical (rational)?
Good question but I'm afraid it isn't clear who you are thinking about. We assume you mean the end user rather than us. We think that the balance between emotional and rational thinking will depend on where the person is on their journey. Someone who has already made the decision to be (X career) will be looking for more rational information to support that decision while someone at the beginning of that journey is likely to want to be inspired which could be triggered by an 'emotional' response. The audience we have defined might help with your thinking around this.
37. Is the audience UK or global? If global, how is this distributed or prioritised around the world?
The website's audience is predominately UK-based.
38. Who on the internal team would we work with directly?
You will be working with the Health Careers team, a small team of 5, which intends to be involved in the day-to-day running of the project. You may also work with members of our digital communications team.
39. How many on the wider stakeholder group?
We have a wide range of stakeholders, and depending on your methodology, we will look to access relevant networks and partners who benefit from the website.
40. Who are the other agencies we might work with?
We currently work with a single digital agency for the development, support and maintenance of the website.
41. Q: We note in the Interim Plan that there is a new ‘compact’ deal set out and that this affects recruitment. Can you tell us more about this ‘compact’ and about lessons learned from Empowering leaders to lead7 by Sir Ron Kerr and the Review of the Fit and Proper Persons Test8 by Tom Kark QC (both referenced in the interim plan.
To our knowledge the information the outputs of this work being led by NHS England hasn't been published. However, we also fail to see the connection to this project as it is about the recruitment, development and appraisal of NHS leaders who are not a primary user of our digital service.
42. Q: The Interim Plan refers to growing the nursing workforce by over 40,000 by 2024 – do you know what percentage is international and what is domestic and percentage splits by role?
I am afraid this information is not available at this time.
43. Q: Can you share the work done on brand and identity and in particular the insights that have informed this work and can you share the current user personas? Also, can you share the focus group outputs from the website exploration done on summer/autumn 2019?
These will be shared with the successful supplier upon appointment. A rough outline of are under the 'Who the users are' section of the requirements
44. Q: To date, what work has been undertaken (if any) on common considerations for a career in the NHS and do you have any existing data that indicates how key groups make informed decisions?
In July 2019, we undertook some research around brand and identity of the website and other resources. As part of this, barriers and motivators were explored on NHS careers. The research will help in respect of the development of personas and will offer a range of other insights to help this project. There will also be other pieces of research that we will share with the successful agency that will prove useful.
45. Q: What recruitment marketing work is being undertaken to drive candidates to the site and what work is done when onboarding successful recruits?
There are campaigns at particular times of the year that drive people to the website. Primarily, this is linked to work on nursing. We do not do 'onboarding' e.g. direct recruitment.
46. Q: The interim people plan refers to a workforce that comprises doctors, nurses, allied health professionals (AHPs), pharmacists, healthcare scientists, dentists, non-clinical professions, social workers in the NHS, commissioners, non-executives and volunteers. Would this website need to cater for all these audiences?
Good question. Our main purpose is to support recruitment into these professions by offering careers information and advice so people can make informed decisions. Current staff and healthcare professionals are offered some information but they are not the primary audience.
47. We are making an assumption that the website you are looking to improve/replace is – is that correct? If so, the website includes a secure area behind a login – does the project include work to improve/replace that too?
Yes, it is that website. We may also want to look at as part of the youth audience. We feel that the secure area should definitely be explored as part of this discovery
48. Is out of scope for this project?
Yes, it is out of scope.
49. You state that ‘Suppliers can determine their preferred methodology of discovery activity’ – we are assuming that this will be within the guidance set by the NHS Digital Service Manual, is that the case?
Yes, but we also welcome innovation.
50. Will the Health Education England team be able to support and provide stakeholder user contacts for recruitment for research and usability testing sessions?
Potentially, yes, depending on the methodology.
51. It states that the output of the work is to ‘make recommendations for future development’ – will this include producing design assets such as user journey mapping, reworked personas and simple prototypes if deemed appropriate?
We would not expect prototypes but personas are expected. Journey mapping would be welcomed but is not expected.
52. Do the findings have to be presented to pass a formal discovery gateway – such as that defined by Government’s Digital Service? If yes, will the successful agency be part of that process?
Potentially, yes but this will depend on the result of the discovery phase.
53. If the outputs of this discovery phase recommend future development work will this be put out to formal tender or will the team’s existing digital agency conduct the work?
We are unable to answer this question at the moment.
54. Will providing additional attachments showing evidence of experience be allowed? – How can these be attached to the response to this opportunity ?
Yes but you will need to work within the constraints of the Digital Marketplace
55. Our focus is purely on discovery for digital services, we don't have developers and we don't build websites. Would you be happy to work with a supplier in this way or are you looking for someone who will also implement a CMS or LMS post-discovery?
We are purely looking for discovery for this stage of the project.
56. I'd like to understand the reason that you are not just commissioning your existing supplier to conduct the discovery for this service... Thank you
We are not sure how this is relevant to the proposal and how it will help inform your response.
57. How much involvement will your product team want in the project, will you be able to attend / dial into research interviews?
Yes, if appropriate
58. Will you be able to share any data analytics for the discovery phase (subject to being down selected to the shortlist of suppliers to go through to the next stage)?
Yes, we will be able to share information on Google Analytics and anonymised information on who is registered on the website.
59. Once chosen to as the supplier to undertake this work, will you be willing to share your wider engagement strategy (to ensure personas can be evaluated effectively)?
Yes, this can be discussed as part of kick-off.
60. How many persona's have you developed?
Seven with variations within each.