No suitable suppliers applied

The buyer didn't award this contract because no suppliers met their requirements. They may publish an updated version later.
Home Office

C18580 Digital Accessibility Partner

14 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 5 large

13 Completed applications

9 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Friday 15 May 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 22 May 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 29 May 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We’re looking for a supplier who can support the Home Office’s Digital, Data and Technology directorate with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to deliver truly accessible and inclusive services on a range of internal and public facing services.
Latest start date
Monday 13 July 2020
Expected contract length
2 years with an option to extend by a further 6 months.
Organisation the work is for
Home Office
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
Home Office users and employees rightly expect modern technology which helps users receive the service they require and supports employees in protecting the public. An important part of delivering modern technology is ensuring that it’s accessible and inclusive to the widest user base possible not only to meet our legal obligations but because it’s vital that anyone can access our services or be employed by us.

Through our increased digitisation of services and the use of user centred design, we are increasing the opportunities to engage digitally with government services. This presents us with a need to work with suppliers who can provide the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to help to delivery teams to create accessible and inclusive services consistently.
Problem to be solved
Government services need to meet user needs and be designed to ensure that everyone can use them. However, a large proportion still fail to achieve this.

Whilst we’ve increased the capacity of our internal accessibility team, the demand for support from service delivery teams continues to outstrip what the team can deliver.

As a result, we’re looking to build a strategic relationship to help meet the demand for expert accessibility skills to help ensure our teams can deliver accessible services consistently.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Home Office customers and staff.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
A centralised civil servant team of accessibility consultants currently exists. Supplier will be working with distributed delivery teams (mixture of civil service and third party) and with the centralised team.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The majority of the programmes and projects are located within the M25 but the successful supplier must be capable of providing the service nationwide.
Working arrangements
Likely to be a mixture of on site and remote delivery depending on the individual project. Some projects will require resource to be embedded within the delivery team, some may be possible to do from supplier premises.
Security clearance
Up to SC

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1.Travel expenses are payable for journeys outside the M25 (for Greater London based SOWs) or for journeys greater than 10 miles of other SOW base locations, where approved in advance by the customer and in line with HO Travel policy (subsistence is not payable).

2. Professions rate caps will be applied to all standard roles at all SFIA levels. SFIA 1, 2,6 and 7 levels are not required.

3. Seasonal furloughs may be required.

4. Maximum sub-contractor margin caps will be applied.

5. Individual SOWs may be required at fixed price, T&M or capped T&M.

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
  • Demonstratable experience of supporting 5 agile delivery teams concurrently to integrate accessibility into their product / service.
  • Demonstratable experience of researching and understanding the needs of people with disabilities
  • Experience of working with delivery teams to building their capabilities in delivering accessible and inclusive products / services
  • Demonstrable experience of conducting user focused accessibility testing, user focused defect prioritisation and providing fix solutions
  • Demonstratable experience of identifying and implementing workarounds and adjustments for disabled users using a journey whilst defects are resolved
  • Demonstrable experience of identifying accessibility issues beyond the scope of WCAG2.1, such as digital interface optimisation, offline contexts and policies to build truly inclusive services across multiple teams concurrently.
  • Demonstrable experience of recruiting a diverse workforce and promoting a supportive and inclusive culture
  • Demonstrable experience of deploying innovative approaches to test products and service accessibility
  • Demonstrable experience of managing and overcoming resistance among team members, leaders and stakeholders to make the effort to changes relating to accessibility
  • Demonstrable expert usage of Assistive Technology (AT) and understanding the needs of people with disabilities
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable (and recent) experience of supporting teams to meet the government’s Service Standard
  • Demonstrable (and recent) experience of placing accessibility consultants into agile delivery teams in government
  • Experience and understanding of the Public Sector Bodies (Website and Mobile) Accessibility Regulations (PSBAR)
  • Demonstrable experience of integrating and collaboration with an existing in-house accessibility team

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Essential skills (from stage 1)
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach meets the requirements
  • Capability and capacity to provide specialist support
  • Added value
  • Accessibility of submission
  • Practical Scenario
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Share knowledge and experience with team members and replacement teams
  • Be comfortable standing up for their discipline
  • Can work with teams with low accessibility expertise
  • Practices inclusion throughout their work
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. Is this contract outside of IR35?
The DOS guidance states "You can only use the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework for workers who meet the rules for working off-payroll (known as ‘outside IR35’). " This requirement is therefore outside IR35.
2. Can you provide details of the SFIA professions rate caps please?
Please note the 'additional T&Cs' section above. The rate caps for standard roles will be £625 (SFIA 5), £575 (SFIA 4) and £425 (SFIA 3).
3. What is the overall budget for this contract?
The call-off contract value will be capped at £4m and indiviudal budgets will be assigned on a SOW by SOW basis.
4. Please can you advise the expected budget for this requirement?
Please see the answer to Q3 above.
5. Can the Authority please confirm the expected budget and/or the likely team size that the supplier would be required to deploy?
Please see the answer to Q3 above.
6. What rate caps will you apply? You mentioned rate caps for all standard roles at all SFIA levels. SFIA 1, 2,6 and 7 levels are not required.
Please see the answer to Q2 above.
7. Whats the budget for this?
Please see Q3 above.
8. Could you give an indication of workload under this contract – duration of each SoW, number of concurrent projects, size of the team required in each instance (possibly just one person per instance)? For each project and in total?
We don't have a pipeline we can share however, the work is likely to be a mixture of landed resource supporting delivery teams and work which can be completed agency side where the content is already in the public domain. For the majority of pieces of work we believe one resource would be suitable. It's likely that over the course of the contract the demand would increase gradually but we do expect some immediate demand between now and September.
9. Who is on the panel?
The evaluation panel will be made up of the Head of Accessibility and Inclusion; Senior Accessibility Consultant ; a member of the design and research team and a Commercial Manager.
10. Is there an incumbent in place?
There is a number of suppliers providing similar services but no central, specialist accessibility partner, providing accessibility services only.
11. a. How many programmes, projects and delivery teams will be supported by the accessibility partner?
b. Will legacy and 3rd party tools also be in scope for support?
a. see answer to Q8 above.
b. yes.
12. Will you consider an application from an accessibility consultancy on the basis that they would partner with another named consultancy of equal professional status to provide the resource level you require? The contract would be between the Home Office and one consultancy i.e. it would not be a consortium.
13. Will you consider engaging more than one supplier if there is not a single supplier that meets your requirements?
The framework structure doesn't allow for more than one contract award. If the procurement is not successful we would need to review the requirements and procurement strategy.
14. Can you indicate what SFIA level you assign to the various activities such as wireframe reviews, WCAG audits, assistive technology testing, user research, user testing, training, consultancy, policy creation, document accessibility etc.?
Broadly speaking, SFIA 3 would be considered a Junior, SIFA 4 a mid weight and SFIA 5 a Senior. From this alignment it should be clear how you align resources in line with the level of experience required to perform the individual tasks outlined. We would not expect all resource provided to be Senior.
15. What will the maximum sub-contractor margin caps be?
16. Please can we just clarify for the travel and expenses. For work required onsite INSIDE the M25 – there will be NO travel, expenses or subsistence payable – even for suppliers that are not based in London? For work required onsite OUTSIDE the M25 – travel expenses will be paid – but there is no subsistence payable – so no expenses paid for hotels, accommodation, meals etc?
Each statement of work (SOW) will identify a base location. If the base location is within the M25 then no travel, accommodation or subsistence (meals) is payable, for journeys within the M25. If the base location is outside the M25 then no travel, accommodation or subsistence (meals) is payable within 10 miles of the base location. to be continued....
17. Q16 continued.
If the SOW requires travel from the base location to other sites (outside of the M25 for Greater London base locations or outside of the 10 mile base location perimeter for base sites outside of Greater London) the travel and accommodation expenses will be payable (where pre-approved and in line with HO policy) but subsistence (meals) will not be payable.
18. Is the requirement of the supplier purely for accessibility advisory, guidance, training and conducting of audits/testing and user testing – OR – is there also a requirement for design and development (coding etc) by the supplier?
There is no requirement for design and build services under this contract.
19. SC – Security Clearance. If the supplier team members do not have the appropriate level of security clearance, will Home Office sponsor this and support the process before the engagement begins?
Yes, Home Office will sponsor clearances.
20. Could you clarify the point on seasonal furloughs. Are these to be considered during the delivery of an SoW or is this something that may apply between SoWs?
Some Programmes may operate a seasonal furlough, which will be identified in the SOW, so that the Supplier is aware in advance of signing a SOW.
21. Could you list the security clearance levels that are required?
Would you support and/or sponsor the security clearances?
Are these required on day 1 of the engagement or would it be acceptable to demonstrate a pool of supplier personnel eligible to undergo the clearance process on day 1 followed by the application during the course of the engagement?
CTC and SC. Home Office will sponsor clearances as required for individual statements of work.
22. Would you consider a level of near-shore / off-shore delivery to build resilience into the service delivery model?
No, not at this time.
23. Given the current pandemic crisis, do you expect onsite working to commence from day 1 of the engagement or will the supplier be able to deliver services remotely?
The Supplier will be required to deliver services remotely during COVID working restrictions.