Awarded to Zaizi Limited

Start date: Tuesday 1 September 2020
Value: £301,650
Company size: SME
London Councils

Freedom Pass and Taxicard: Discovery / Alpha

8 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 1 large

34 Completed applications

26 SME, 8 large

Important dates

Wednesday 8 July 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 15 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 22 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
London Councils aim to introduce a standardised application and self-service website for the London Freedom Pass and Taxicard schemes.

Discovery will provide user research and review of existing services to inform the digital solution. Alpha will develop prototypes and solutions based on discovery.

See Annex 1: Additional.Information.for.Bidders:
Latest start date
Wednesday 26 August 2020
Expected contract length
Discovery 6 weeks; Alpha 8 weeks.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
London Councils
Budget range
£130,000-£180,000 for Discovery. £200,000-£260,000 for Alpha. The Supplier shall provide a price breakdown for the combined overall price for both Discovery and Alpha, noting that Discovery is capped at £180,000 and Alpha is capped at £260,000.
NOTE: The overall price for both phases (Discovery & Alpha) will be that used at Evaluation.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The vision is to increase user satisfaction and uptake of the online service, reduce application processing times, and improve the detection and prevention of fraud.

Discovery will explore user needs for creating an end-to-end digital solution whereby disabled and older people can apply for and manage their travel concession online (replace and renew passes and update details).

Subject to acceptable options being presented, Alpha will commence following Discovery. Alpha will provide prototypes and test the best route of achieving the desired outcome in order to procure a Beta and Live for the new product solution using the findings found.
Problem to be solved
The Discovery will need to analyse customer satisfaction of the existing digital and paper service, establish user needs, and identify opportunities which will support our digital roadmap.
Alpha will develop and test chosen option with all users, demonstrating its technical, contractual and legal feasibility.

Refer to Annex 1: Additional Information for Bidders.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Freedom Pass/Taxicard applicant, I need an accessible and simple website to use, so that I can apply for my concessionary travel pass securely and quickly online.
As an existing Freedom Pass/Taxicard holder, I need an accessible and simple website to use, so that I can manage my concessionary travel pass securely and quickly online.
As a CMS user I need to be able to view all data submitted by an applicant/pass holder so that I can carry out eligibility checks, issue passes quickly and efficiently, and detect and prevent fraud.
Early market engagement
Market engagement for Beta and Live will begin once the Discovery phase is completed and it is clearer to London Councils what that proposed solution will look like.
Any work that’s already been done
London Councils has some user feedback collected from online surveys from the existing Freedom Pass website. The incumbent service provider has also collated data using Google Analytics. Local authorities have an existing knowledge base from recent Blue Badge developments.
Existing team
The supplier will be working with London Councils’ Chief Contracts Officer, Projects Officer and Mobility Services Manager, borough officers in London, TfL, and contractors based in Hull and Scotland.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The team will work from their own premises but will need regular meetings with London Councils, either using appropriate video conferencing technologies or at 59 ½ Southwark Street, London, SE1 0AL; with local London authorities, TfL, and London Councils contractor, based in Hull and Scotland. There is a substantial element of the task involving direct contact with user groups and the team should have the ability to travel to other locations as required to meet users or host user research.
Working arrangements
We would accept two suppliers working together to provide the Discovery and Alpha phase The teams will need to work for approximately 6 weeks on Discovery and 8 weeks on Alpha. We would expect them to visit our team and stakeholders as required for meetings and workshops, as well as be available for regular tele-conferences and show and tells. They may need to visit our offices more in the initial phase of work as we plan and agree the scope of the project. Expenses should be covered within budget for the project.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
There will be a break point between the Discovery and Alpha phases. The Alpha phase will only be conducted if an acceptable option is presented following Discovery.

Development solely using Open Source products or products where the IPR will rest with London Councils upon delivery.

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
  • Have 3+ years experience conducting user experience research
  • Have 3+ years experience establishing and validating user needs for digital services in a central or local government context
  • Have in-depth understanding of user-centered research, design principles, methods and tools
  • Experience of identifying users of digital services in the public domain and securing their participation in user research
  • Experience of effective engagement with current and potential users, including assisted digital users
  • Have excellent analytical, problem solving, written and verbal communication skills
  • Proven experience of organising, managing, executing and analysing usability test sessions
  • Evidence of working with third parties to develop standard interfaces and data exchange portals
  • Proven ability to support a flexible way of working, making late changes to plans and re-formulating to maintain project progress against timelines
  • Knowledge and experience of delivering digital services to the GDS service standard and design principles
  • Have availability of resources to be able to start as soon as possible.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of taking a service through the GDS service assessment process
  • Experience of working in/with public sector teams, particularly those with no/limited experience of Agile, in Discovery and iterative development
  • Have demonstrable experience of working in a culture of continuous delivery and improvement
  • Experience of Online transactional services
  • Experience of leading Discovery and Alpha phases within the public sector
  • Experience of delivering the expected outcomes for the Discovery and Alpha phases
  • Demonstrate a successful approach to completion of required GDS Service Assessment, Security Health Check, Penetration Testing, Service Readiness, and release reviews as part of quality and acceptance tests
  • Proven track record in the building and development of automated testing procedures
  • Have experience of successfully delivering a minimal viable product/proof of concept for successful delivery of a robust product into a 'live' environment on behalf of a government department.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Identify the approach and methodology to project planning and delivery; how the approach/solution meets our goals and user needs, and how these will be reflected in the outcomes (8%)
  • Knowledge and understanding of existing and potential London Councils in-house and outsourced capabilities and demonstrate how these capabilities will be considered for final options and recommendations (5%)
  • Detailed resource plan and estimated timeframes for the work – demonstrating how in-house, supplier and external resource will be used and at what stage (8%)
  • Demonstrate how the requirements of other areas, such as Local Authorities and TfL, will be integrated into the project (5%)
  • Demonstrate how risks and dependencies will be identified and what approaches will be used to manage them (5%)
  • Suppliers must demonstrate their experience in designing and developing end to end solutions (including front and back end) through a range of previous work for customers on similar scales (5%)
  • Why you think your approach offers London Councils value for money in the context of this project and over the next five years? (4%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Experience working with public sector organisations and local government (10%)
  • Future focused, striving to deliver best possible solution/concept (5%)
  • Work well in a collaborative agile team and transparently as an extension to our team, proactively and positively sharing all information relating to research, findings and decision making (5%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. In the working arrangements you have stated, "We would accept two suppliers working together to provide the Discovery and Alpha phase". Is your preference to have two suppliers deliver the project and actively looking for partnering?
London Councils does not have a preference on whether one supplier delivers both the Discovery/Alpha projects or if two suppliers work together to deliver the project.
2. The standard DOS contract allows for a lead supplier (prime contractor) who subcontracts work to others. Are you happy to include a subcontracting relationship like this for this work?
We are happy for a lead supplier to subcontract work.
3. How much time do you have allocated as a gap between end of Discovery and beginning of Alpha? How much notice can you give the supplier that Alpha will be restarting? Do you have any budget to retain team members between Discovery and Alpha?
A two week gap can be allocated between Discovery finishing and Alpha starting. 6 weeks has been allocated for Discovery. Suppliers for Alpha will be informed at the start of the Discovery project for the expected Alpha start date.
There is no separate budget to retain team members and this should be considered within the overall budget for the project. To note, we do not expect to pay to retain team members if they are not actively working on the project.
4. You are evaluating based on “Knowledge and understanding of existing and potential London Councils in-house and outsourced capabilities and demonstrate how these capabilities will be considered for final options and recommendations”. How are you going to help a non-incumbent supplier gain this knowledge to prepare our response?
London Councils is a small organisation with a small team working on projects. This includes; a product owner, part-time testing resource, as well as some senior level support. London Councils does not have in-house development capabilities. All London Councils development is done by third parties. For Freedom Pass, database capabilities are provided by ESP Systex Ltd.
5. Who is the incumbent service provider who collated data using Google Analytics? Will this data be available to bidders post shortlisting?
ESP Systex Ltd is the incumbent supplier. They and London Councils collected Google Analytics data. This will be made available to bidders post shortlisting.
6. The annex mentions "Work with London Councils contractor to meet boundaries and technical stack requirements when developing prototypes, for back and front-end technologies."
Is our understanding correct that the commissioning of the technical stack for Alpha will sit with the London Council's IT contractor, and therefore is out of scope for the Discovery/Alpha supplier?
Will the contractor need to agree solution designs with the supplier?
The incumbent supplier, ESP Systex Ltd., also provides a card management system and database that sit behind the website. It will continue to provide these. Therefore, it is building APIs to ensure that end-user data captured through the website can be integrated with the card management system and database. The contractor must work with the incumbent to ensure that this works in practice.
7. Can you elaborate more on what do you mean by "Experience of Online transactional services"? Are you looking for supplier's experiences in building online transactional products and services, or experience working with online transactional providers? Or working within regulations of one transactional service or what exactly?
Primarily we are looking for the suppliers' experiences in building online transactional products and services. However, as we use a third-party for processing of payments for replacement passes, some experience of working with on-line transactional suppliers is required in this context. Finally, all of London Councils products and services must comply with current legislation and regulations e.g. GDPR and payments. The supplier will ensure this happens.
8. "Have excellent analytical, problem solving, written and verbal communication skills"
Are you asking if a) we, as an agency, have these skills or b) whether our deliverable to a client answered this need or c) something else?
Secondly, please could you advise what sort of evidence you are looking for to best give you confidence of this capability.
You should demonstrate that you have these skills with the use of examples. The examples you provide should describe the situation, the task, the action you took, and the result achieved.
9. Has there been any pre-market, or early market engagement, for this Discovery and Alpha?
10. Do London Councils have existing digital or technology partners that are eligible to bid for this opportunity?
We do not know. It is possible. However, each bid will be judged on its merits. We will choose the highest scoring bidder. Whether we have worked with them before, or not, is not part of the selection criteria.
11. In the Work which has already been done section, you refer to " The incumbent service provider" – has that incumbent been asked to bid for this project/ are they likely to bid for it?
We do not believe the incumbent supplier will bid for this work. To the best of our knowledge, the incumbent supplier's London Councils development resource is currently fully allocated to other London Councils work. This is one of the reasons for going to market with this opportunity.
12. You mention in the notice that you would expect all work to be open source. Can you tell us if you think this would preclude us from using any commercially available software as part of the solution eg a headless CMS.
The notice contains London Councils' requirements. London Councils wishes to retain maximum flexibility and to avoid being tied in to particular products. Bidders are free to propose alternatives to the requirements. However, in doing so, there is a risk that your proposals will score worse at assessment than other bidders' proposals that have met the requirements. Ultimately, this is a tactical bidding decision for your organisation.
13. Within this brief, you mention an incumbent. Are you expecting to also receive a bid from the incumbent? Is there a reason other than contract size as to why you are going to market?
See response to Q11.
14. Is it intended/required to draw representation from all 32 councils, or a more centralised but demographically representative sample?
Please clarify the role/ function of the ‘contractors based in Hull and Scotland’? Is this the digital partner?
What is the role of ESP Systex Ltd.?
How many London Boroughs already have online application services for disabled applicants?
Have those Councils with online systems already gathered feedback from their users? And if so, was this for both services (Freedom Pass/ Taxicard)?
Do the existing contractors have accessibility expertise? E.g., ensuring text is accessible to the visually impaired
A demographically representative sample is acceptable.
ESP Systex Ltd provides a card management system and travel card production facilities. They are based in Hull.
Journeycall Ltd provides contact centre services. They are based in Scotland.
We are not aware of borough user research.
The existing contractors have accessibility expertise.
15. Hi, Can you clarify technical stack being used. In the tender notice you say open source but in the linked documentation to London Councils there is mention of.Net in use. Is.Net a requirement for this work?
ESP Systex Ltd., the CMS supplier, will supply a published API to the integration. As long as the new portal supplier can link to the API, we do not have any requirements or stipulation as to the technology stack they use as the portal supplier will be hosting and maintaining the portal themselves.