Start date: Monday 8 June 2020
Value: £500,000
Company size: SME
NHS Blood and Transplant

Service and User Centred Design Strategic Partner

25 Incomplete applications

24 SME, 1 large

47 Completed applications

31 SME, 16 large

Important dates

Thursday 19 March 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 26 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 2 April 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Strategic Partner for Service Design and User Research to embed a human centred, user centric design process resulting in high performing services and an increase in the value from digital and technology investments.

The strategic partner will be utilised to increase the capacity of NHSBT’s Design Team.
Latest start date
Monday 1 June 2020
Expected contract length
24 months
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
NHS Blood and Transplant
Budget range
Maximum spend on this contract will be up to £500,000.00. Work will be costed and approved via individual Statements of Work (SOW). Each SOW will follow internal approval policy. NHSBT does not commit to the maximum spend identified in this section. Primarily we expect SOW's to be agreed on a fixed price basis, however a capped time and materials may also be used as appropriate

About the work

Why the work is being done
We are looking for a strategic partner to help us build our internal capability in Service and User Centred Design enabling us to deliver multiple strategic and tactical initiatives over a number of years. We have an ambitious programme of change planned and we believe that focusing on design at the outset will deliver significant value for the organisation and customers.

NHSBT requires an approach to design that incorporates creativity, is a human centred process, balances the needs of our donors and customers, works in a regulated operational business and results in the delivery of quality services.

NHSBT wish to procure a Service and User Centred Design Contract that increases the capacity of the NHSBT’s Design team and helps us to drive a change in culture.
Problem to be solved
We are seeking to work with a strategic partner that can help us embed a service design culture and provide the relevant resources in the following (but not limited to) areas:
User Researchers
Business Analysts
Business Architects
Service Designers

Our requirement is for the successful supplier to provide:

• People that can conduct service design and user research activities
• People that can lead Discovery teams
• Harmoniously co-exist and collaborate throughout NHSBT, understanding the culture and values of the organisation.
• People that will work with business stakeholders at all levels.
• A proven methodology/approach for design and coach NHSBT staff to embed new ways of working and drive a change in culture
• Single contract to cover all types of User Centric Design that can meet our resourcing demand requirements
• Pre-vetting/onboarding, inductions and training in business process and procedures to guarantee a quick turn around when resource is required.

NHSBT envisage that the successful supplier will have embedded design resources with knowledge and experience around Service Design, Business Design and User Centred Design as well as the relevant accreditations.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users will be defined in the individual Statements of Work but may include NHSBT employees, donors, donor families, patients etc.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
The supplier will be working working with NHSBT's internal Business Design team, project and programme teams and other relevant stakeholders.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Including but not limited to:
Filton Blood Centre, 500, North Bristol Park, Filton, Bristol BS34 7QH
NHSBT, Fox Den Road, Stoke Gifford, Avon, Bristol BS34 8RR
Birmingham Donor Centre, 65 New St, Birmingham B2 4DU
West End Donor Centre, 26 Margaret St, Marylebone, London W1W 8NB
Working arrangements
Individuals must be available to travel to NHSBT Centres in (but not limited to) Birmingham, Bristol and London. Work will be conducted both face to face and remotely via Skype etc.
Individuals must comply with the NHSBT Expenses Policy.
Subject to any changes in policy, the resources will provide their own laptops and mobile phones for use on NHSBT premises. NHSBT provides secure access to its network as required.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Suppliers will provide a minimum of two relevant candidates for each role requested by NHSBT within 10 working days.

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
  • Provide a methodology for Service Design and User Research for embedding a user centric design culture and resource with proven experience (min 5 years) with the roles identified above.
  • The Supplier shall provide resources who have worked with different methods of project delivery e.g., Waterfall, Agile, Hybrid models.
  • Resources provided will have practical experience of successfully working in a highly regulated environment. This mandates a level of rigour and the regulatory environment is similar to pharmaceutical manufacturing.
  • Provide details of your experience in supplying User Centred Design resources, highlighting key projects, the resources you supplied have been involved in.
  • Provide a TAM with experience in leading on cultural alignment within an organisation by growing a pool of resources that are trained on such organisation’s processes/procedures in advance.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Knowledge and experience in NHSBT processes/procedures or for any other similar organisations/working environments

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Please provide a draft plan with a view of key milestones, dependencies and timelines required to enable the service once a partnership is established (5%)
  • Describe the number and experience of resources you could supply and provide example CVs for the identified roles. Specify if resources are directly employed or not. (15%)
  • Please confirm your previous experience and approach to Service Design, User Research and embedding a User Centric Design culture. (15%)
  • Explain how you will undertake knowledge transfer to NHSBT (15%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Please describe your approach and method for delivering the scope and requirements described for the strategic partnership, seamlessly embedding the process for engaging resources with NHBST (10%)
  • Please provide details of your experience in supplying User Centred Design resources, highlighting key projects, the resources you supplied have been involved in. (10%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you let us know due to the current virus situation is this contract still going ahead and if it is can some home working be used when possible.
Is it also possible for the use of video comms to carry out some of the research
This is indeed continuing and remote working is a viable option. The use of video comms is also acceptable as an alternative means for research if the situation continues.
2. Please can you clarify what is meant by 'TAM with experience'?
This refers to a Technical Account Manager or similar role
3. Can you please confirm if you there is an incumbent supplier?
We can confirm there is no incumbent supplier for this requirement.
4. The opportunity gives payment approach as “capped time & materials”. But the budget range section contains a contradictory statement: “Primarily we expect SOW's to be agreed on a fixed price basis, however a capped time and materials may also be used as appropriate"
Apologies for the confusion, the statement in the budget range section is correct.
5. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The team will be:
Wendy Clark – Chief Digital Information Officer
Harj Toor – Assistant Director Business Design
Ben McGuiness – Head of Digital Delivery
Christie Ash – Assistant Director Performance & Business Development
6. As there is no mention of a commercial model, can you confirm if we will price per the requirement during the next stage of the competition? Thank you.
We do not require a commercial proposal at this time, this will form part of the proposal which will be requested from shortlisted suppliers.
7. At this stage it states that Price is weighted at 30%. Can you please confirm what is required for this weighting if pricing will be carried out with shortlisted suppliers? Thank you.
The initial stage will be evaluated on the bidders responses to the essential and nice to have skills and experience, bidders will be shortlisted accordingly, then the resulting proposals will be evaluated and scored in line with the published weightings, including price.
8. What specifically is it about the regulatory environment in pharmaceutical manufacturing that is important for NHSBT, so that we can respond with an appropriate example from our experience working in regulated environments.
The supplier must be able to evidence that they are aware of the regulatory environment that NHSBT has to operate in, adhering to MHRA regulations.
9. Is there a specific format you are expecting the responses to follow? The usual format format for these responses is one example stating the situation, work done and result.
No specific format expected
10. For the question "Provide details of your experience in supplying User Centred Design resources, highlighting key projects, the resources you supplied have been involved in", would you like to see multiple project examples? The usual format for these is to use one example with a format of situation, work done and results. What evidence are you expecting to see?
It would be good to understand the volumes of projects completed by the supplier
11. Please can you provide the full Expenses Policy?
Unfortunately there is no facility to publish this within the initial stage, it will be provided at the next stage.
12. We are keen to be your strategic partner for this piece of work but we would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you in more detail your requirements so that we test our capability fit and ensure that we provide you with the best possible proposal and ultimately outcome. Would a short conference call be possible to achieve this aim with the NHSBT leads for this work?
Unfortunately this will not be possible at this time, as we will not be able to provide this for all suppliers who may be interested in this opportunity.
13. Please can you provide details of what the next steps are following this initial application i.e. notification of shortlist, deadlines for the written proposal, if there will be a presentation etc, and dates for each?
We are aiming to notify shortlisted bidders/request proposals by 8th April, with the proposal deadline on the 29th April, we are aiming to evaluate proposals w/c 4th May, and have bidder presentations w/c 11th May. These dates are indicative and could need to be amended.
14. Most of the Essential Skills bullet points are not worded in the usual Digital Marketplace stage 1 style. Please can you therefore confirm that you are still expecting standard stage 1 style responses – i.e. 100 words giving a single example (other than Q4, which requests multiple) as evidence of where the supplier has done each of those things previously?
Yes that would be acceptable
15. Could you please let us know how much of the work can be done remotely?
This needs to assessed based on the situation we are in at the time of contract award.
16. Is the team expected to be engaged for the full 24 months at the maximum cost of £500k? Or could a larger team be engaged for a shorter period of time?
This would be assessed on a needs basis.
17. Are you able to expand on the roles of stakeholders our team will be working alongside?
This will be a mixture of operational stakeholders (Service Owners, Product Owners, Product Managers), IT stakeholders (Architects, Analysis, Developers). Do expand on the other stakeholders you would expect to be working alongside.
18. To what extent (if at all) will the delivery of the resulting Statements of Work be aligned to the Service Manual and associated GDS assessments?
This will be reviewed and assessed when the Statements of Work are agreed.
19. Is it permissible to provide more than one example where required to fully address the question?
Yes where required this is permissible
20. 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?
If you have public sector examples please provide these, however private sector examples will not be marked down.
21. 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?
At the proposal stage we will be asking the suppliers to complete the 'commercial schedule' which is the mechanism we will use to ensure we are comparing suppliers costs on a 'like for like' basis.
22. 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?
The scores from the 'evidencing' or initial round will only be used to shortlist suppliers, they will not be carried forward to the proposal stage.
23. We note the unlimited indemnity (clause 34.2) in respect of losses incurred if the Supplier breaches Clause 14 and any Data Protection Legislation. However as market trends show that customers are not asking for unlimited liability and indeed the guidance from Cabinet Office to all public bodies is to cap data protection breaches to be commensurate with the value of the contract, can you confirm if you are willing to consider a separate liability cap in principle. Particulars can be discussed should we be down selected
As this is a standard clause within the CCS call-off contract document, we will not be able to amend this. If you would like to query this clause with CCS please feel free to contact them directly.
24. Are you able to recruit and provide access to users for the purpose of user research in the individual Statements of Work?
Yes we would look to standardise a process to this.
25. Will you be able to organise access to stakeholders throughout the individual projects arising
Yes we will
26. Will the relevant Product Owner be allocated full time to the individual projects arising?
Yes ideally
27. For the question 'Provide a methodology for Service Design and User Research for embedding a user centric design culture and resource with proven experience (min 5 years) with the roles identified above.' Are you looking for detail on our methodology for how we do service design / user research, or for how we embed a user centric design culture and run a manage service that provides resources with proven experience? As it would be challenging to detail both in 100 words.
We are looking for detail of the latter the former can be presented in any presentation
28. 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 is envisaged that the questions within the first evaluation round will largely meet the requirements or not, due to how they are written. However we would just ask you to respond in as much detail as possible within the limits given.