Awarded to Stance Global

Start date: Wednesday 29 July 2020
Value: £36,100
Company size: SME
Hackney Council

A discovery to determine the optimal telephony solution(s) to meet user needs

11 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 3 large

23 Completed applications

18 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Thursday 18 June 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 25 June 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 2 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A discovery to determine the optimal telephony solution(s) to meet user needs
Latest start date
Monday 27 July 2020
Expected contract length
The project is expected to take 6-8 weeks
Organisation the work is for
Hackney Council
Budget range
We anticipate spending c. £30-40,000 excluding VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Council’s existing telephony contract is coming to an end. It has four elements: mobile phones, desk phones (Nfon / Cloudya), contact centre (Puzzel) and voice-activated switchboard (Netcall). We want to ensure we identify the right technology for the next contract (excluding mobile telephony where we have identified an alternative arrangement).

There are four objectives we’re seeking to achieve over the next contract:
Greater automation: supporting self-service journeys where appropriate and consistent multi-channel experiences
More personalisation for residents making multiple contacts
Efficient end-to-end journeys - particularly when contact needs to be referred to the back office
Sustainable cost

We are currently experimenting with webchat (Tawk) and Amazon Connect.

We want to identify the right technology / partners that reflects the government’s Code of Practice and support meeting the Service Standard.
Problem to be solved
We want to understand:
- whether we can reduce the total cost of the telephony solution
- how we can support excellent performance and reliability of the service
- how we might leverage our APIs to increase self-service / automation
- the skills we would need to have to support the solution
- how we can provide the optimal service for staff working remotely and in the field
- how we can support smooth, efficient end-to-end customer journeys

A successful engagement will provide:
- An objective assessment of the options against the Code of Practice
- A model for understanding the costs associated with the recommended approach
- An analysis of the skills required to maximise the recommended approach
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a resident I want to phone the council with a query so that I can get my problem resolved in the channel of my choice

As a member of contact centre staff I need to receive, transfer, and make phone calls to residents and other members of staff

As member of staff I need to be able to receive, transfer, and make phone calls without revealing my personal mobile number so that I can work from anywhere

As a member of a back office team supporting residents I need to be able to receive calls during working hours so that we can meet demand

As a contact centre manager I need to be able to track, manage and quality assess the calls that we handle so that i can continually improve my service to residents

As an ICT support team I need to easily configure the telephony system so that I can deliver a good service to my colleagues
Early market engagement
The brief for the pilot of Amazon Connect is available: The weeknotes for the project are at
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
We do not anticipate providing a dedicated team to support this work but the team can draw on the ICT infrastructure and applications teams; contact centre managers and back office support teams as required.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Working arrangements
The work can take place remotely but the team will be expected to write weeknotes and a regular show & tell to engage key teams
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
  • Demonstrate experience of assessing software against the principles in the government’s technology code of practice and/or the Service Standard
  • Demonstrate a track-record of user-centred design and Agile approaches to delivery
  • Demonstrate their understanding of one or more leading telephony solutions
  • Share their work freely and openly with the Council and the wider community
  • Demonstrate a track record of successful capability building with internal teams
  • Be vendor-agnostic - eg. Not tied to any one particular software solution
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Hackney’s technology strategy
  • Have experience of working in local government

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding of user needs from the service
  • Clarity of the approach
  • Experience from a similar project
  • Team structure, including skills, experiences and relevance of individuals
  • Identification of risks and plan to mitigate them
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Share knowledge and experience with team members and the wider service
  • Hackney Council is a diverse organisation, reflecting the diversity of our borough. Describe how you would successfully work as a team with Hackney and other suppliers in a diverse environment.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this the same opportunity that was previously published on Saturday 13 June 2020?
Yes. We made some changes following feedback but the award criteria and desired outcomes from the brief remain unchanged.
2. Do Hackney Council outsource any contact centre capabilities?
We outsource the out of hours services with the contract due to expire in March 2021.
3. Would an entirely softphone based deployment be acceptable within the strategy
Yes - based on our current understanding but we’d expect this work to validate our understanding of user needs
4. Please provide detail on the existing level of CRM integration and how this supports end-to-end customer journeys in any new solution?
None.CRM plays a small role in our current approach supporting specific user journeys where a business application isn’t in use
5. Please detail Hackney Council's internal vs. external skills and resource profile which support telephony
A member of the IT support team leads on technical configuration of the contact centre solution whilst contact centre managers have developed their own skills. We would expect to work across the IT service support, infrastructure, apps, and potentially development teams if appropriate.
6. Please provide a breakdown of telephony user volumes (e.g. Total Users = X, Contact centre = Y, Standard Users = Z)
Approximately 3,500 users in total, of which 150 are based in the contact centre.
7. Is there an incumbent supplier that is currently supporting the existing test solution / provided support for the mobile option?
The Council has 2 contracts for mobile SIMs, one with EE via Centiant International Ltd (for mobile phones circa 1,800 connections) and the second with BT (for tablet devices circa 900 connections).
8. Please detail the next stage of the process following initial evaluation, including timescales, deliverables, and engagement opportunities.
We expect to work to the following timetable

Initial evaluation - 3 July
Shortlisted suppliers invited to provide written proposals by 13 July
Meetings with shortlisted suppliers, if necessary - 16/17 July
Project kick-off - 27 July
9. Is existing supplier evaluation a requirement of any deliverable?
We expect to understand the leading options in the market which may include the existing suppliers. We don't see an evaluation of the current contract as particularly valuable.
10. Please detail Hackney Council's contact centre landscape, i.e. dedicated agents, or capabilities used by wider organisation.
We currently have four contact centre teams - corporate, neighbourhoods, new builds and repairs. There are other teams that operate customer-facing services, typically this is managed via hunt groups with no interaction with Puzzel - eg complaints, Mayor's enquiries.
11. Please provide detail on the existing level of CRM integration and how this supports end-to-end customer journeys in any new solution?
There is currently no CRM integration. We don't use CRM to support end-to-end customer journeys in most services. However, we'd expect a telephony service that provides well-documented APIs so that we can interface with our emerging CRM-related products.
12. Do we need to register for question and answer session?
13. An essential criteria is to be vendor agnostic, what exactly does this mean given that the Council is already undertaking a pilot of Amazon Connect?
It means we want to work with a consultancy that doesn’t have expertise solely with one vendor and/or doesn’t act as a re-seller only for one vendor.
14. What are the next steps following the discovery? How will the council be identifying the most suitable solution, procuring it and implementing it?
We’re expecting the discovery to leave us with a recommended option and the evaluation to be objective and as such form the basis of the procurement justification. The optimal procurement route will depend on the recommendation.

In terms of implementation, that will also depend on the skills and technology required.
15. To what extent are the requirements (functional and non-functional), hardware/equipment needs, call routing options etc. already defined?
We have made some assumptions of what’s required, based on the experience to date but would look to refine these with the preferred consultancy.
16. This tender is just for a discovery piece to identify the optimal telephony solution. How does that pilot relate to this discovery work? What is the desired output from this tender and the pilot?
We will have completed the pilot for Amazon Connect before this project starts and assessment of the work against the government’s Service Standard. These outputs will be available to the consultancy and enable us to come to a shared view of whether this is part of our consideration-set for the future.