This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Tuesday 15 September 2020
UK Research and Innovation

UK SBS DDaT20255 UKRI Funding Service User Research and Design

20 Incomplete applications

16 SME, 4 large

29 Completed applications

27 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Published
Tuesday 1 September 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 8 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 15 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
We are seeking a partnership with a highly skilled and proven supplier with extensive knowledge of working to GDS standards to provide user experience expertise to supplement our in-house delivery team in the beta phase of building the UKRI Funding Service. The resource required throughout the contract will vary.
Latest start date
Monday 9 November 2020
Expected contract length
12 months with the option to extend up to 3 months by giving the supplier written notice in advance.
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
UK Research and Innovation
Budget range
The total budget for the initial term of the contract shall not exceed £450,000 excluding VAT.

UKRI shall have the option to extend the term for up to three months with up to £112,000 excluding VAT.

The total contract value shall not exceed £562,000 excluding VAT.

We will be hiring in permanent staff over the coming year, so we expect the number of people supplied to reduce over time.

About the work

Why the work is being done
UKRI is building a unified digital funding service to act as a single place for the provision of funding to support research and innovation in the UK. The new service will also include simplified and standardised processes which will allow for future schemes to be easily included.

A pilot service launches in August, with further features and releases planned to extend the service functionality.
Problem to be solved
The existing legacy service is difficult to support, does not meet user needs and doesn't allow for the easy collection of data. Applicants typically must learn 9 different processes in order to apply for funding.
Who the users are and what they need to do
•As an applicant I need an intuitive digital platform to apply for and manage my grant funding.
•As a research office user, I need to oversee approve and manage the grant applications submitted by applicants in my university
•As a peer reviewer I need an intuitive digital platform so that I can securely review, score and submit feedback on applications
•As an internal user, I need an intuitive digital platform so that I can:
•Create and manage an opportunity
•Manage applications, peer review, award offers, project setup
•Pay grant funding and claims
•Manage project assurance
•Track funding
Early market engagement
Not Applicable
Any work that’s already been done
The Discovery and Alpha phases have been completed and the service is in Beta development. A pilot launch is due in August which will deliver a portion of the service with a limited feature set. The team will continue to extend the service with the introduction of new features and iterate the service based on user feedback.

The end to end journey involves several stages and serves a number of different external user types.
Existing team
The team is made of a mixture of UKRI staff, contractors and other suppliers.
Current phase
Beta

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote

We expect this work will be done remotely for the foreseeable future. Should official guidance change during the duration of this engagement, you may be expected to attend meetings in Polaris House, Swindon, London or other locations as required.
Working arrangements
We are looking for a supplier who is comfortable doing remote user research and design and can work in a blended, remote team.

Workloads will be managed by the in-house Delivery Manager & ScrumMaster, with use of Confluence and Jira.
Security clearance
• Onsite attendance at Polaris House requires basic security disclosure (Baseline Personnel Security Standard)
• The successful supplier must sign our standard non-disclosure agreement
• The successful supplier must provide proof of GDPR compliance
• The successful supplier must adhere to UKRI’s information security and GDPR policies

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Not Applicable

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 your proposed team’s experience of working to the Government Service Standard, particularly around research and design (5%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s experience in working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and the role of user experience consultants in this team (5%)
  • Demonstrate experience of transferring knowledge to internal staff (4%)
  • Demonstrate your proposed team’s experience in designing services which meet assisted digital needs (3%)
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering digital solutions that meet Level AA of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 (3%)
  • Demonstrate your team's experience of designing and developing services through iteration, research and testing (3%)
  • Demonstrate your experience of working as part of a remote team (2%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate your experience of designing services within environments with multifaceted supply and delivery chains (1%)
  • Demonstrate your experience of prototyping in code (1%)
  • Demonstrate your experience of using the GOV.UK design system (1%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate how your proposed team’s technical expertise will ensure the successful delivery of this project (6%)
  • Demonstrate your methodology and tool kit for conducting remote research (6%)
  • Describe how you have delivered similar projects for large public facing organisations (5%)
  • Provide details of the suggested size, shape and make-up of proposed team, demonstrating how this team structure will maintain the ability to deliver the services throughout the project lifecycle (5%)
  • Describe how will you ensure UKRI staff are ready to take on operational control and support upon completion of the work (5%)
  • Detail risks and assumptions and a plan for mitigating against them (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how your team will work successfully with UKRI as part of a remotely distributed multi-disciplinary team (4%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to deliver in an open, collaborative, agile way according to the principles outlined in the Government Service Design Manual (4%)
  • Demonstrate your ability to deliver outcomes, applying an agile methodology, in non-agile environments and successfully bridging the two worlds (4%)
  • Demonstrate how you will deliver simplicity (e.g. do less but better, explaining complex issues in a clear, simple way, break down and prioritise complex issues) (4%)
  • Demonstrate your approach to collaborating and maintaining initiative when part of a remote team (4%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you please indicate what the timescales will look like, post stage 1 submission?
The anticipated procurement timeframes are as follows:
30 September 2020 – Notification of shortlisting outcome
8 October 2020– Written proposal deadline
Friday 9 – Wednesday 14 October 2020 – Presentations ( should the Contracting Authority decide to use presentations as an assessment method)
26 October 2020 – Notification of award outcome
2. The opportunity appears to be (at least a predominantly) a requirement for user research and experience design expertise, though it will will be working on a beta phase.
Does your supplier need to provider front- or bank-end development or other technological expertise, or should the supplier's expertise be focused on research and design?
Other digital expertise has been procured separately. This covers user research and design only.
3. Does the system need to support multiple concurrent funding programmes, each with its own criteria, application forms and assessment workflows?
Yes, however this project is part of a wider transformation programme that is looking at the simplification and harmonisation of funding to follow a common process with variation only when there is sufficient business justification.
4. Has the system passed GDS Service Design Assurance?
The system has passed Alpha assessment and is working to GDS standards including service design best practice.
5. What is the security posture i.e. OFFICIAL or OFFICIAL SENSITIVE?
The service is externally facing and is OFFICIAL, as per all other GDS public services.
6. Does the system need to support multiple concurrent funding programmes, each with its own criteria, application forms and assessment workflows?

If yes will the system at beta stage or afterwards allow for UKRI Staff / System admins to be able to design and launch new funding programmes or amend the parameters of existing ones?
Yes, the system is being designed to provide flexibility via a menu of pre-agreed options to allow UKRI staff to select options for their funding programme. The system will gradually add additional options as the service is iterated. There is also a need to provide users with templates of pre-completed options that can be edited.
7. Who's on the panel?
Service Owner, Lead Product Manager and Lead User Experience specialist
8. Could you clarify what you mean by technical in this line? Are you asking for any developers from the supplier: Demonstrate how your proposed team’s technical expertise will ensure the successful delivery of this project (6%)
In this context, the word "technical" should be read as "specialist in user experience and design"
9. Are you intending for all development work to be done by the existing inhouse development team?
The development is being undertaken with an in-house team working alongside a development partner which is covered under a separate procurement.
10. Can you please confirm what platform the service is being developed on?
AWS with open source components
11. What is the security posture for the service?
See answer to Q5
12. Who completed the discovery and alpha phases? Was this by an external, supplier(s)?
External
13. Is UKRI encouraging Suppliers to remove any mention of their name in responses to respect the DMp impartiality efforts?
Can you please expand in detail as to what you are asking on this question so we can respond?
14. Can you advise who the existing suppliers are?
There has been more than one supplier delivering the previous phases. The information should be available on the public domain.
15. Can you say more about the specific proof of GDPR compliance you are looking for?
The necessary DP accreditation would be required or evidence that you are "working towards" attaining the official accreditation.
16. Which suppliers delivered the discovery, alpha and pilot phases? Who was involved?
There has been more than one supplier delivering the previous phases. The information should be available on the public domain.
17. Is there an incumbent supplier from discovery/alpha who are being considered for this work?
There has been more than one supplier delivering the Discovery and Alpha phases.

We are unaware of the previous suppliers' intention to bid for this work. This opportunity is being conducted in line with Public Contract Regulations 2015 (PCR) and the EU Treaty Principles and is open to all capable suppliers on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 framework. There are no preconceived outcomes of this opportunity.
18. Please could you tell us if there is an incumbent and, if so, who?
Please see answer to Q16
19. Is there an incumbent supplier? If so, were they involved in the discovery and alpha phases?
Please see answer to Q16
20. Who’s in the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
Please see answer to Q16
21. Re. "Demonstrate your experience of working as part of a remote team (2%)"
Please can the Customer clarify if remote team refers to the delivery team being remote based or the user research taking place remotely?
This applies to both. Working remotely the team will also need to undertake user research remotely.
22. For Question 2, are you looking for any example of the supplier’s experience of working as a multidisciplinary team, or are you looking for an example of the specific people the supplier will propose for this engagement (if shortlisted) working in a multidisciplinary team?
The supplier should use examples of their current or past experience in working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and the role of user experience consultants in this team, that is relevant and most accurately reflect the experience they would propose working on the Funding Service project.
23. Are you able to tell us who the current suppliers are alongside the UKRI team?
We don't feel that it is appropriate to disclose the name of the incumbent supplier. This information is not essential or required by bidders in order to submit a response to this tender.
Please note that information about previously awarded contracts is available in the public domain
24. Could you give an example of the multifaceted supply and delivery chains you would expect a supplier to be working with?
You'll be working with other suppliers, contractors and UKRI staff on a service with multiple delivery streams. You should provide evidence of working in these types of environments
25. When you mention design and research (in your answer to question 2), does this include service design, content design and interaction design (as per the service manual definition)?
Interaction design only. There are existing team members delivering service design and content design.
26. Please can you explain what you mean by ‘environments with multifaceted supply and delivery chains’?
Please see answer to Q24
27. Can you share any of the documentation that has been created as part of the pilot programme?
Feel free to look at the live pilot here: https://funding-service.ukri.org/OPP001/apply/1/
28. What platform is being used for the pilot and will it be extended for the full product?
AWS with open source components. It will be extended as the service is iterated.
29. Are the existing suppliers who have been part of the programme able to apply to the tender process?
Yes, this opportunity is open to all capable suppliers on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework.
30. In reference to 'Demonstrate experience of transferring knowledge to internal staff' – can you clarify if knowledge is defined as user evidence/insight specifically acquired during the research/design phases, e.g. research findings, or are you seeking evidence of up-skilling permanent staff when appointed, or both?
This refers to evidence of upskilling permanent staff team members who will continue to iterate the service.
31. Please can you confirm the name of the supplier(s) who worked on the previous phases?
We don't feel that it is appropriate to disclose the name/s of the incumbent supplier/s. This information is not essential or required by bidders in order to submit a response to this tender.
Please note that information about previously awarded contracts is available in the public domain
32. Is it the same internal team that worked on the Alpha that will be involved in the selection process for the Beta?
In part.
33. How will you ensure there is no bias towards agencies you have previously worked with as part of the process?
This requirement has been published in accordance with the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (PCR) to ensure fair, open competition. All suppliers have been provided with the same information and will be assessed against the same criteria as stated in the contract notice. A feedback on bidders responses will be provided to the successful and the unsuccessful bidders after the responses have been evaluated. This opportunity is open to all capable suppliers on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework.
34. Who is the incumbent supplier and have they been involved in the requirement gathering for this tender?
The incumbent has not been involved in defining the procurement process in any way.
35. Good afternoon, I had asked the following question on 2nd September and the answer is not appearing on the advert:
Please could you tell us if there is an incumbent and, if so, who?
Yes, there is an incumbent supplier. We don't feel that it is appropriate to disclose the name of the incumbent supplier. This information is not essential or required by bidders in order to submit a response to this tender.
Please note that information about previously awarded contracts is available in the public domain.