Awarded to Criteria Fieldwork Ltd

Start date: Monday 27 April 2020
Value: £400,000
Company size: SME
Department for Education

User Research Participant Recruitment and Incentive Payments

4 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 0 large

9 Completed applications

8 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Thursday 5 March 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 12 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 19 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
DfE needs participants to take part in regular user research, which supports our digital transformation programme. We need the supplier to be able to reliably deliver participants nationwide, including members of the general public, professional users and people with access and assisted digital needs.
Research dates
Expected contract start date 16th April 2020
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
Budget approval is subject to internal DfE approvals.
A pipeline of activity is foreseen over the next 24 months, with an indicative budget against the requirements for this capability being £400,000, but that scope could expand or contract.
Each SOW will outline the work required and the associated budget, suppliers will need to provide clear costs to enable tracking.
DfE does not commit to any minimum or maximum spend at this point.

About the work

Early market engagement
Suppliers were asked to provide recommendations on -
How DfE can segment the market to ensure that the supplier can deliver the type of users required without issue.
Propose delivery model options and risks and issues. (for example: number of contracts, regional split of contracts, segmentation of users etc

Responses were received from 7 suppliers.
Recommendations were to procure a Nationwide contract and not to segment 'hard to reach'  participants

About the research

Description of your participants
Participants are likely to be from some of the following groups:

People who work in schools, including; free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools; academies and multi-academy trusts; grammar schools; faith schools; further education colleges; independent schools; alternative provision; and supplementary schools e.g.
-teachers (UK and international)
-trainee teachers
-teaching assistants
-senior leaders (e.g. CEOs, headteachers, heads of department, curriculum leads)
-admissions staff
-finance staff
-people who buy things for schools
-safeguarding leads
-people who work in local authorities supporting schools or delivering training

People who work in universities e.g.
-technical staff
-senior leaders
-admissions staff

People involved in training and career development e.g.
-training providers (e.g. teacher training and CPD, post-16 education and training providers)
-apprenticeship providers
-assessment organisations
-employers (SMEs, large enterprises)
-career advisers
-people looking for a new job

People involved in child social care e.g.
-social workers
-children in care and those who have recently been in care
-local government officers

-parents (e.g. parents of children with special educational needs, home educators)

-pupils and students (4-18 years, adult learners)
-childcare providers
-youth workers
Assisted digital and accessibility requirements
Access needs
Conditions that affect their mobility e.g. RSI, arthritis, MS.
Low vision or registered as blind.
Neurodiverse participants, e.g. dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyscalculia.
Hearing loss or people who identify as d/Deaf.
Use assistive tools for their devices or modify their set-up to access the internet.

Assisted digital needs
Low confidence when it comes to online activity or using computers
Use computers infrequently
Don’t own a device to access the internet
Need help to complete an online application
Willing to try/learn new things on a computer
Need to get help from friends and family to carry out online tasks.
Research plan
Individually briefed for each recruitment round via SoWs. Typical research methods may include, but are not limited to; interviews, observation, focus groups, card sorting, accessibility and usability testing. Research may be in-person or remote.
Research location
Opportunity is for a National contract. DfE would like to work with a supplier who is able to provide us with a wide and varying range of participants across the United Kingdom, A proportion of participants are likely to be required in and nearby London, Coventry, Manchester and Sheffield. The research that will be carried out is to support the work taking place across DfE. Each SoW will detail the specific place the research will be carried out (e.g. lab, at home, neutral location) or if there is a need to recruit participants from a specific area of the country.
Access restrictions at location
Each SoW will identify the research location, along with any and all restrictions that may affect participants, including access. DfE will work with the successful supplier to understand any further restrictions that may not have been identified
Number of research rounds
A SoW will be provided to identify the number of participants needed and the time period required
Number of participants a round
This contract will support a number of digital programmes and projects across DfE. We don't anticipate more than 80-100 participants to be required during any period. A SoW will be provided for each programme or project and will identify the number of participants required (including spares).
How often research will happen
The frequency of research rounds (and numbers of participants per round) will fluctuate with the demand for user research within the department. We are looking for a supplier that we can work in partnership with and who can supply the necessary participants inline with our pipeline of activity.
Evening or weekend research
  • Weekday evenings
  • Weekends

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Standard contract terms. Additional services relating to incentive payment only will be included in the 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
  • How you are able to recruit the target participants (and similar) nationwide in the UK
  • Which online channels are used to recruit e.g. social media, online communities
  • Which offline channels are used to recruit e.g. high street, telephone, community groups
  • How your organisation determines and successfully recruits participants who demonstrate low levels of digital/online skills and/or access
  • How your organisation determines and successfully recruits users with mild access needs/impairments
  • How your organisation determines and successfully recruits users with moderate to severe access needs/impairments
  • How your organisation recruits non-native English speakers
  • How your organisation recruits for research to take place in a participant's home or place of work (particularly for those with access or assisted needs)
  • Your organisation's process for screening participants
  • How your organisation provides updates on recruitment progress
  • How and when participant profiles are provided for review by the researcher in advance of the research session
  • How your organisation incentivises participants to participate, including how and when you pay any incentives to participants
  • How does your organisation makes use of customer lists/data, if supplied
  • How your organisation assures quality of recruits
  • How your organisation checks and maximises attendance from participants
  • How your organisation replaces drop outs
  • How your organisation replaces participants if deemed unsuitable against recruitment profile
  • If, and how, your organisation partners with other organisations in order to sucessfully recruit participants
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of successfully recruiting participants in the education sector (including professional users)
  • Experience of successfully recruiting participants in the child social care sector
  • Ability to create, maintain and adminster bespoke panels on behalf of clients

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Specify your estimated timeframes for high-prevalence participant groups e.g. secondary school teachers, university students
  • Specify your estimated timeframes for low-prevalence/'harder to recruit' participant groups e.g. teachers with assisted needs
  • Detail your approach to recruiting participants with mild access needs and provide evidence of previous success
  • Detail your approach to recruiting participants with moderate to severe access needs and provide evidence of previous success
  • Detail your approach to recruiting participants with assisted digital needs and provide evidence of previous success
  • Detail your approach to recruiting professional users (e.g. teachers, employers, academics) and provide evidence of previous success
  • Provide a rate card detailing your recruitment costs and incentives for each of the indicative target user groups outlined
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence






Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this a London opportunity as it mentions national elsewhere in the advert?
DfE are looking for a supplier who is able to find user research participants from across the United Kingdom. Research could be carried out in DfE locations, London, Coventry, Sheffield, Manchester, Darlington, Cambridge or elsewhere across the UK