Awarded to Big Blue Door Ltd

Start date: Sunday 1 November 2020
Value: £38,815
Company size: SME
Health Research Authority (HRA)

HRA internet and intranet hosting and maintenance

6 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 1 large

5 Completed applications

5 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Monday 24 August 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 31 August 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 7 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Hosting and maintaining the HRA’s corporate website (in Wagtail) and intranet (in Drupal) and providing day-to-day support under a call-off agreement.
Latest start date
Sunday 1 November 2020
Expected contract length
2 years
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Health Research Authority (HRA)
Budget range
circa £23,000 per annum

About the work

Why the work is being done
The HRA’s corporate website and its password-protected staff-facing intranet are currently hosted and maintained under two separate contracts. To release capacity in the organisations communications team we intend to combine these two services under one contract.
Problem to be solved
The HRA requires a supplier who can
• Host and maintain the organisation’s corporate website (using Wagtail)
• Host and maintain the organisation’s intranet (using Drupal)
Work with the communications team to deliver improvements to both services via a call-off support arrangement, and improve user experience
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users of the HRA website are researchers and sponsors (applicants) applying for approval to undertake health research in the UK as well as members of the public and/or research participants looking for information about research underway or completed.

As a visitor to the HRA website I want to:
• Find out how to submit an application to undertake health or social care research
• Understand what the HRA expects from applicants
• Find information about research studies that matter to me

The users of the HRA intranet are staff (including contractors and temporary staff).

As a visitor to the HRA intranet I want to:
• Find out what’s happening at the HRA and how it affects me
• Find information about the organisation, including where to access support if needed
Early market engagement
The HRA conducted a request for information in 2019 to ensure that there are suppliers who can host and maintain both services, despite their different platforms, and to clarify that this would not be more expensive than the current solution delivered by two separate suppliers. Any further procurement was put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Any work that’s already been done
The current suppliers have had contracts extended until the end of October 2020.
Existing team
• Head of Communications (contract manager)
• DHSC procurement team
• HRA finance team
• Communications Manager(s) and Communications Officer(s) (channel managers requesting support under call-off contracts)
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The HRA communications team is based in central Manchester but currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect to engage with our supplier remotely.
Working arrangements
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
  • Demonstrable evidence of supporting and maintaining public sector websites and intranets
  • Demonstrable evidence of working collaboratively with organisations
  • Knowledge of and expertise in accessibility standards and guidelines
  • Knowledge of and expertise in GDPR compliance
  • Knowledge of and expertise in GDS Compliance
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Experience of working in the health sector

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed technical solution for hosting and maintaining internet and intranet
  • Risks and dependencies identified and proposed approach to managing them
  • Availability of support and approach to call-off maintenance arrangement
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Works collaboratively with members of the small team at the HRA, who are not digital specialists
  • Seeks to understand the HRA and find a flexible way of working
  • Proactively shares knowledge and experience with the HRA
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Further Information

Health Research Authority was established in December 2011 to protect and promote interests of patients and public in health research and to streamline regulation of research.

HRA makes sure health and social care research is ethically reviewed and approved, people are provided with the information they need to help them decide whether they wish to take part, and that their opportunity to do so is maximised by simplifying processes by which high quality research is assessed. In doing this, we help to build both public confidence and participation in health research, and so improve the nation’s health.
2. Introduction
The HRA has around 200 staff across England, based in five offices or working from home.
3. HRA products
The HRA’s corporate website, in Wagtail CMS, was developed in 2017 and launched in 2018. It contains around 40,000 pages which includes information about the organisation and its strategy, and advice and support for researchers making applications to the HRA. The site also contains a directory of Research Ethics Committees across the UK, and a database of health and social care research studies in flight or completed since the formation of the HRA.

Users include members of the research community as well as patients and the public seeking information and reassurance about health and social care studies.
4. HRA Products Continued
The website has around 2m unique page views per year and around 5GB traffic per usual weekday and is managed by the HRA’s communications team. Content owners from operational teams across the organisation are responsible for updating different sections.

The HRA intranet was developed in 2014 and refreshed in 2017. It offers password-protected access to news and features about the organisation, as well as access to internal documents, processes and references. The intranet is managed by the HRA’s communications team.
5. HRA Products continued
The intranet is often the first thing staff see when they log in each day, and from there on in they use it frequently for updates and information throughout the working day. It is vital this is an effective communications tool for the whole of the HRA.
6. HRA Products continued
The current contracts for the hosting and maintenance of the HRA website and HRA intranet come to an end in October 2020.
This year the HRA is also running a separate procurement for the design and delivery of a new website which will wrap around the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS). IRAS is managed by the HRA on behalf of the four nations of the UK and used by researchers to submit applications for approval for health and social care research.
7. HRA Products continued
To create capacity to support new projects, and to deliver savings around contract management resource within the communications team, HRA would like to bring the hosting and maintenance of both projects together under a single contract
8. Technical Info
Technical specification

Hosting and maintenance of the HRA’s corporate website, a single Django application
Hosting and maintenance of the HRA intranet, with c220 regular user accounts, using Drupal
Supporting accessibility in line with the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines
Maintaining security level IL2
Helpline/service desk available Monday – Friday during core office hours
Response time to critical incidents within one hour, and less critical issues within 24 hours
Working with the HRA communications team on site development in line with Government Digital Service guidelines
9. Can you please elaborate on the requirement for "Maintaining security level IL2"?
IL2 is the government’s lower security level. The HRA website and intranet contain information under the OFFICIAL category. More information can be found in the Government’s Security Classifications.

The HRA needs to be assured that our supplier has appropriate policies and processes to ensure that this is always the minimum level of security for its services.
10. Regarding- "Location: No specific location, eg they can work remotely" Can the support consultants (for L2 and L3) be based outside EU given that the L1 is in Manchester, UK?
Contractors can be based outside the EU, but we’d expect to be able to contact them between 8:00 and 18:00 Greenwich Mean Time / British Summer Time and for them have an excellent level of spoken and written English. They will also need to be familiar with UK Government digital service standards and accessibility regulations as stated as well as GDPR.
11. A) Where are the current corporate and intranet websites are hosted, cloud or on-premise server?
B) Do you have TEST and STAGE server environments along with the PROD environment for current corporate and intranet websites?
C) Does the budget GBP 23,000/- includes hosting cost for corporate and intranet websites (including TEST, STAGE and PROD environments)?
A) Both are hosted on Cloud
B) Yes we have a STAGING site where we test for both our website and intranet.
C) Yes the budget includes hosting cost for TEST/STAGE and PROD environments.