Road Freight Statistics (RFS) team (Strategic Roads and Freight) at Department for Transport.

Digital data collection for Road Freight Statistical Surveys – Beta Phase

20 Incomplete applications

15 SME, 5 large

3 Completed applications

1 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Monday 7 September 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 14 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 21 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The supplier will deliver an end-to-end digital service in line with Technology Code of Practice, DfT Architecture/Digital Standards and Principles; including, but not limited to:
- Beta build and testing with stakeholders (included digital-assisted users) and live data
- Passing the GDS service-assessment
- Passing all relevant quality/assurance gates
Latest start date
Monday 2 November 2020
Expected contract length
We expect the Beta GDS service assessment to be passed by March 2021.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Road Freight Statistics (RFS) team (Strategic Roads and Freight) at Department for Transport.
Budget range
£180,000 - £210,000

For all work up to and including passing the Beta service assessment. Given the costings for the support phase in 2021-2022 cannot be accurately forecast due to the product not being developed, suppliers will not be expected to propose a budget for this portion of the work.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Road Freight Statistics (RFS) team collects data via three mandatory paper surveys requiring around 16,000 paper forms to be completed yearly.

This method has numerous disadvantages: poor data quality, respondent burden and time lag between collecting and publishing data.

The RFS team, with contracted suppliers, have completed a Discovery and Alpha that concluded there was significant scope to use digital methods to collect data and have tested prototypes. The Alpha project met the Service Standard at GDS assessment with approval to transition into Beta.

The RFS team requires the supplier to build a digital method for collecting this data.
Problem to be solved
Deliver an end-to-end digital service, specifically:
1) Digital Road Freight statistical surveys that builds and iterates on work done in Discovery and Alpha.
2) Explore and create validations to prevent submission of errors or missing fields and introduce automatic coding to category lists.
3) Automate communications with hauliers in line with GOV.UK Notify service requirements.
4) Ensure data can be exported in-line with current processing technology in MS-SQL.
5) Pass a GDS Beta assessment with experience of involvement in a successful assessment previously.
6) Service implementation, support and hand over to a new supplier at the end of the contract.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Respondents: Road freight hauliers from across the country and wide range of businesses.

DfT data capture and statistical team: Who currently collect, process, publish and analyse road freight data collected using the current methodology.

Data users: Within DfT and other government departments who use RFS data to inform their evidence base for transport planning and policy initiatives. As well as external organisations who use the RFS data.

DfT Architects: Those who provide departmental architectural standards, principals and provide assurance to digital projects.

DfT Live service: Those who provide the Cloud Engineering and Cyber Security services.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
In 2015, on behalf of Dft, consultants (SYSTRA) researched the ‘fitness-for-purpose’ of the exiting Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport and respondents’ ‘experience of completing this. A report detailing the findings and potential for respondents to provide information electronically is available at:

In 2019 and 2020, DfT commissioned a Discovery and Alpha project that concluded there was significant scope to collect the survey via digital methods and prototypes were tested. The Alpha project met the Service Standard at GDS assessment with approval to transition into Beta to build an end-to-end digital service to collect road freight data.
Existing team
The appointed supplier will be expected to provide all resources required for the delivery of the Beta. DfT will provide a Service Owner, Product Manager and Project Assurance.

The appointed supplier will work closely with members of the Road Freight Statistical and Data capture team, who will also be a user of the service.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Due to the current COVID-19 situation it is likely the work will be based remotely (or at the supplier’s own premises) with the use of video conferencing for communication.

Suppliers should be able to carry out user research remotely and have approved and tested methods.

If the COVID-19 situation changes the supplier will be based at DfT Great Minster House office (33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR) for all show and tells and important meetings to be conducted here. The supplier will also continue to work remotely (or at own premises) as needed to deliver the Beta project.
Working arrangements
Suppliers should provide their preferred approach within their proposals; exact milestones will be agreed with appointed supplier.

Regular communication with the DfT is required including status updates which will detail achievements of key milestones. Any issues that may impact timescales and cost should be provided as they occur.

The supplier will be expected to present weekly show and tells to the RFS team and other key DfT staff via video conference or if the COVID-19 situation changes face-to-face.

The Beta should be completed in line with the: GDS Service Manual, Technology Code of Practice and Architectural Principles.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard Clearance BPSS) to be active on the contract start date. Bidders will be required to provide evidence of clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
There will be a break clause at the end of March 2021.

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 evidence of delivering a Beta phase in line with GDS guidelines for a government department and passing the service assessment.
  • - Demonstrate evidence of successfully designing, building and testing citizen facing digital data collection methods with a diverse mix of users and iterating accordingly.
  • - Demonstrate evidence of successfully delivering projects at speed using an agile management, within GDS guidelines, methodology with clearly identified deliverables and timescales.
  • - Demonstrate evidence of working with, developing and coaching digital and non-digital members of staff.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • - Demonstrable experience of integrating with other services such as GOV.UK Notify.
  • - Demonstrable evidence where innovative solutions have been applied to assist in project delivery.

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 the Beta project planning and delivery identifying the main stages and activities proposed at each stage. (20%)
  • • Detailed resource plan which demonstrates how supplier and external resource will be used and at what stage. (20%)
  • • How the approach or solution will meet user needs. (10%)
  • • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them. (10%)
  • • Estimated timeframes for the work. (10%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • • Experience of working as a team with Central Government departments or other suppliers (2.5%)
  • • Experience of transparent and collaborative decision making (2.5%)
  • • Experience of monitoring work and delivering against timelines, resolving any arising problems effectively (2.5%)
  • • Demonstrable evidence of sharing approach, knowledge and skills with other team members and with the department by example (2.5%)
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. Can DFT please clarify the scope of the Alpha undertaken, whether any 3rd party suppliers were used to complete the Alpha, and whether they will be bidding for the Beta Phase work ?
Answer: The scope of the work undertaken in the Alpha is as listed in the advert

A supplier was awarded the contract and will have the opportunity to apply for this project , however we have no knowledge of who will be applying for this opportunity.
2. The prerequisite of having executed and passed a GDS Beta service assessment seems restrictive. We have worked in Government with DfT and other departments in Agile programs but have not undertaken service assessments. Can we bid without being disqualified for this reason?
The team delivering the service are required to pass a Beta Service assessment in order for the service to be made available to the public. In this particular requirement, the supplier will provide all resource pertaining to the delivery of the Beta, therefore it is essential the supplier has experience of passing Beta Service assessments.”
3. Could you please confirm which technologies are being used during the Alpha (if any services are being developed or prototyped) and if it anticipated that the same technologies will be used in the Beta phase?
During Alpha stage, prototypes were developed using Django and hosted on Heroku . For the Beta stage, the supplier is expected to propose and use appropriate technologies to successfully deliver the application in line with Alpha recommendations, Digital Service standard, Technology code of practice and the DFT architectural principles.
4. Could you please confirm which technologies are being used during the Alpha (if any services are being developed or prototyped) and if it anticipated that the same technologies will be used in the Beta phase?
Please see below the latest answer to this question. Please disregard the original answer to the same question.

During Alpha stage, prototypes were developed using Django and hosted on Heroku . For the Beta stage, the supplier is expected to propose and use appropriate technologies to successfully deliver the application in line with Digital Service standard, Technology code of practice and the DFT architectural principles.
5. Following on from your answer to question 2, are you expecting the named team from the supplier (in a proposal) to ALL have been involved in passing a Beta service assessment? If not, what roles from the named team from the supplier are you expecting to have involved in passing a Beta service assessment, or what promotion of the named team?
Some of our team have passed Beta service assessments but not all, most have our team have passed Alpha service assessments but you aren't asking for Alpha service assessment experience.
The supplier will be expected to pass a Beta service assessment and their bid should illustrate they have the required expertise within the team. The supplier will have to ensure they are able to successful pass the Beta service assessment as part of this requirement
6. Can you share any of the reports or outputs from the previous discovery and alpha phase?
The discovery report can be found here

The alpha report will be shared with suppliers invited to stage 2
7. 1) Do you envisage that COTS software such as (for example) smartsurvey could form a substantive part of the solution? From the requirements summarised on the contract notice, COTS software could likely provide a considerable amount of useful OTB functionality. This approach has potential to save on development costs, but we wondered if it had been explored and/or been ruled out during Discovery/Alpha?
The supplier should provide evidence of meeting the requirements set out in the advert. If the supplier is invited to stage 2 they will provide a proposal that will meet the advert requirements. The supplier should determine if the software mentioned above is suitable and consider this in their proposal.
8. Please could you share the outputs of Alpha with suppliers, in particular the Alpha phototype and accompanying end of Alpha report? This would help suppliers prepare more tailored responses to the questions and also ensure a level playing field with incumbent suppliers.
If the supplier is invited to stage 2 to provide a proposal the alpha report will be provided.
9. Do you require one example per question to be cited, or is it acceptable to include multiple examples for a single question? Some of the questions (e.g. Demonstrable experience of integrating with other services such as GOV.UK Notify) could benefit from more than one example to demonstrate breadth.
The supplier should respond with an example/examples that they feel will meet the requirement within the stated word limit.
10. Please can you share a procurement timeline outlining steps (which would typically include evidence response evaluation from 21st September, shortlisting of suppliers for next stage, preparation of supplier proposals, evaluation of supplier proposals, announcement of successful supplier, contract completion, contract signatures, commence work on 2nd November)?
The procurement timeline will cover all stages listed above between the 21st September and ensure the work commences on Monday 2nd November. The Framework Stage 1 terms only allow for the evidence requested in the original template to be required. Suppliers that are successful at Stage 2 will receive all of the above information via e-mail.
11. Do you have any preference between public sector or private sector examples? Or will both be treated equally as long as they are relevant to the question? We appreciate some of the questions are public sector specific (e.g. GDS assessment, GOV.UK Notify) and would necessitate public sector examples.
The supplier should respond with examples that will meet the requirement within the stated word limit.
12. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would you expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed 'exceeding' and score 3 marks?
Suppliers must respond as per the Outcomes and Specifications Template published within the advert. We cannot give an answer as to what would exceed as that would be providing Suppliers with an advantage. Each submission will be marked on its individual response merits against the Specifications required at stage 1 as per the Framework Guidelines.
13. Will you be able to organise access to stakeholders throughout the project?
Access to stakeholders will be provided during the Beta project.
14. Has work has been fully defined, bounded and prioritised as an output from Alpha?
The Beta requirements are stated in the advert and suppliers should provide examples that meet these and a proposal to demonstrate how they would deliver these requirements.
15. Are you able to recruit and provide access to users for the purpose of user research?
The road freight team has access to users for user research purposes.
16. Will your Product Owner be allocated full time to this project?
The advert states a product manager, service owner and project assurance will be provided by DfT. The allocated time is to be determined based on resource available and their required input at stages of the project.
17. Will the scores from the evidencing round be taken through to final evaluation? Or will they only be used for the purposes of shortlisting suppliers?
They will not be taken through to Stage 2.
18. What roles are you expecting suppliers to provide?
The supplier will be provided with the alpha report if invited to stage 2 which indicates roles that may be required. The supplier should review the requirements of the Beta project and in their proposal suggest roles required to deliver successfully.
19. How has the budget been determined?
The budget has been determined as per DOS calculations to enable the requirements to be delivered within the budget and time stated.
20. How will price be evaluated: will you be evaluating by the total price, rate card or both?
Price will be evaluated by Total Price. However Suppliers will be free to produce a Rate Card within their Stage 2 Submission should they wish.
21. Is any personally identifiable information being collected as part of the surveys?
The industry provides data that is not personal, however their contact details for follow up questions on the data submitted are required but not stored for a long period of time.
22. Is there a separate budget to cover the costs of accessibility and security audits required for the Beta assessment or does DfT expect the supplier to cover them?
All available budget for the requirements in the Advert has been stated within the range £180,000 - £210,000
23. Do users need accounts or is the data collected anonymously or tied to a user is some other way? Was this tested as part of the alpha?
If the supplier is invited to stage 2 the alpha report will be shared. The user needs to be able to access the data submission over a period of time to enable them to complete it.
24. Will the paper form continue to be offered to users as an assisted digital alternative? Does the scope of the service include making any updates to the paper form?
The paper form is not going to be continued as an offer for assisted digital – during the discovery telephone was listed as an alternative option.
25. Was any quantitative data on the accessibility needs of the users of the service collected during the alpha phase?
The alpha report will be shared with suppliers invited to stage 2. Accessibility needs were not tested during the alpha as no users recruited presented this as a requirement.
26. Once the survey data is collected digitally will there be any changes to how the data is published? Is there an existing system to be integrated with or is developing a way for the data to be published part of the scope of the work?
As stated in the advert the supplier needs to ensure the data can be exported in-line with current processing technology in MS-SQL, where the current publishing methods will be applied.
27. Was the complete journey from the user being notified that they need to complete the survey through to the data being read and published by DfT tested as part of the alpha phase?
The Alpha report illustrating the journey tested will be shared with suppliers if invited to stage 2.
28. How often do you expect to update the content of the form? Does the scope of the service as outlined here, include a way for DfT to update the content of the survey (for example through an admin interface)?
DfT would like to be able to update the form contents if possible to be able to add in modules if the need for this data arises.
The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Monday 14 September 2020.