This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Friday 25 September 2020
Department for International Trade (DIT)

Discovery to Explore Opportunities to Enhance DIT's Business Support Model

11 Incomplete applications

10 SME, 1 large

39 Completed applications

29 SME, 10 large

Important dates

Friday 11 September 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 18 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 25 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The Department for International Trade (DIT) are looking for a team to run a discovery to explore how to enhance its support for businesses, with a view to making the best use of digital, data and technology
Latest start date
Monday 2 November 2020
Expected contract length
8 weeks with option to extend by up to 2 weeks.
Organisation the work is for
Department for International Trade (DIT)
Budget range
A maximum budget of £80,000. The value of the optional extension period is up to £20,000.

About the work

Why the work is being done
DIT is rapidly moving towards a digital-first, data-driven model of export support that can deliver at greater scale, and DIT is looking at how best to support an operational service through a centrally coordinated operating model.

DIT helps businesses to export and grow into global markets and we provide support to businesses via a number of different channels. We want to run a discovery to understand what opportunities there are to enhance this model and support a more centrally coordinated approach. This will require a shift from legacy technology and delivery processes but it will enable us to establish a consistent, data-driven approach, resulting in a better service to businesses.
Problem to be solved
DIT uses user research and data to inform the design of our services. The department takes a wider view of our users’ end-to-end journey and not just focussing on the design of individual services. DIT is looking for a flexible team that can provide the full range of product team disciplines at the relevant times such as research and capability design roles delivering outcomes based services. For discovery, DIT requires a team to:

•Interrogate and challenge existing work and assumptions and ensure the problem to be solved is framed appropriately
•Understand the users and their context
•Understand how this work fits into the wider problem space
•Understand the constraints we are likely to come up against if we move into alpha and the impact they may have
• Provide evidence about the problem to be solved and what opportunities there are to take forward into alpha
•Provide a plan for alpha (if that is the recommendation), including team shape, a list of the ideas to test and an idea of which one to test first, and how we’d measure success
•Demonstrate other opportunities that were discovered that might benefit from further exploratory work, such as other areas of potential improvements
Who the users are and what they need to do
The main users are the internal users who use DIT's tools and services to efficiently do their job.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Some work has been carried out which will be shared upon award of the contract.

Draft deliverables and any accompanying information will be shared at the shortlisting stage.
Existing team
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The assumption is that the work will be largely undertaken through remote working; however where circumstances permit there will be potential for some future co-location at 3 Whitehall Place, London.
Working arrangements
Work will be largely undertaken through remote working due to current circumstances surrounding COVID-19; however, where circumstances permit there will be potential for some future co-location.
Security clearance
All staff should have minimum BPSS level security clearance in place before work is started. If SC is required it will be sponsored by DIT.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All expenses must be pre-agreed between the parties and must comply with the Cabinet Office Travel & Subsistence Policy.

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 a thorough understanding of the principles and practices of user-centered design, and evidence your experience.
  • Demonstrate your experience with user research, how you have used it to inform and iterate decisions made, and how it has been used to engage stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate evidence of designing end-to-end and front-to-back services across a range of on-line and off-line channels.
  • Demonstrate specific experience in delivering services that comply with legal accessibility standards and delivers a service that supports users with a wide range of digital skills and experience.
  • Demonstrate experience of working with business objectives or policies, challenging assuptions and ensuring the problem to be solved is defined appropriately, agnostic of solution.
  • Demonstrate experience of effective stakeholder engagement and buy-in, particularly with a focus on the agile and user-centred approach.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate your experience of understanding users' wider context and your experience with solving a whole problem for users.
  • Demonstrate your experience of delivering services that have met the Government Service Standard.
  • Demonstrate your experience of working with developing digital services or staff-facing digital tools to support international trade.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Detail your approach to resourcing and scalability, capability and methodology.
  • Detail how your approach or solution meets the problem to be solved and objectives.
  • Detail your relevant experience, and how you will use your knowledge and experience to shape your approach to this work.
  • Detail a high level project plan / estimated timeframes for the work.
  • Detail how you will identify risks and dependencies and offer approaches to manage them.
  • Detail the proposed team structure, including CVs or testimonials about the individuals outlined to work on the project.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Detail how you will work as one team with our organisation.
  • Detail how you will transfer knowledge and up-skill teams to ensure continuity of delivery.
  • Detail your approach to collaborative working and user research, and how you have evolved this approach to factor in remote working.
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who’s the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
There is no incumbent.
2. Who's on the panel?
The panel is being finalised and can be shared with suppliers during stage 2 of the selection process.
3. We have examples of work from the aerospace and defence sector, as well as creative industries, is this sufficient to meet the evidence that you require for your essential criteria?
The examples should demonstrate relevant experience across each of the essential criteria and, if possible, the nice-to-have criteria, and isn’t sector or industry specific.
4. How many DIT staff will be using the solution and how many customers will it touch on an annual basis?
A key part of the discovery will be to understand the users and their needs. We are therefore unable to provide the number of users before the discovery is conducted.
5. With reference to your description of your internal users, can we please ask for any further detail/overview of the types of tools and services they currently use e.g. CRMs, data analysis etc...
A key part of the discovery will be to understand users and their needs, including some of the tools that are used now.
6. Could you please clarify further what is meant by "range of on-line and off-line channels?
Online could be a digital service, or interaction, and offline could be interactions on the phone or in person, for example. It refers to joining up all the steps to solve a user problem.
7. Can you share any further detail on the likely scope of the engagement. For example, the number of users and the types of systems and functions impacted?
We want to explore this in the discovery phase and learn about our current operations in order to identify opportunities for any future model.
8. There are a number of ways we can interpret front-to-back services, and would be grateful for some clarity on what DIT are looking for.
Front-to-back services would mean the user-facing service, internal processes/systems/data, supporting policy or legislation and organisational, financial and governance structures of the service.
9. Please confirm if the users for the scope of this work are purely internal and if not, what other external user groups do you envisage being covered by the work?
The users are internal users but we provide services for businesses and it is important to also understand the context of the work that internal users are undertaking in understanding the problems to be solved and where the opportunities are.
10. What work has been done within DIT to document and review the suitability of existing services and capabilities for business support services?
We haven’t done any work in this area and the discovery phase is where we are seeking to understand the problem to be solved, the users and their needs and where the opportunities are.
11. You mention some work has already been conducted in this space. Who was it that carried out this work and will it be made available?
We will share any work that has been done already that may be relevant upon contract award.
12. Can we see some of the end-to-end journeys quoted in the RFI?
Any work potentially relevant work that has already been completed will be shared with the successful supplier upon the commencement of the discovery.
13. What examples can be provided of the DIT's tools and legacy platforms in operation today?
DIT wants to conduct a discovery to unpick the current landscape and user needs, but things that could be relevant are how users manage their day-to-day workload. However, we want to utilise learnings from the discovery to establish where the opportunities are.
14. How is this work supported by or dependent on other channels?
We haven’t done any work in this area and the discovery phase is where we will understand the problem to be solved, the users and their needs and where the opportunities are.
15. Will we have open access to the internal users who use DIT's tools and services?
16. You mention a move from legacy technologies, however presumably, you will want to use some of your legacy data in this new service. Is this so, or are you starting the new model of export support with the assumption that no data is brought forward?
We do not intend to start a new model and there isn’t an assumption to not bring any data forward. The discovery work will be key in identifying what existing data we have and use and the opportunities to take forward.
17. The opportunity states that some work has been carried out. Can you give an indication of the type and completeness of this work?
We will share any relevant work that has already been completed with the successful supplier upon the commencement of the discovery.
18. What themes or types of work that has been conducted already as quoted in the RFP?
Any work that has been done already that may be relevant when the supplier starts the discovery.
19. What types of user research and data inform the design of their services? Is this captured regularly? Has this work been done solely by In-house design and research team or are through other 3rd party suppliers?
We will share any research and design of our services with the supplier on award of the contract. We have had a combination of in-house teams and managed teams working with us to do this.
20. Please outline which vendors are currently involved in the provision of existing operational support services?
There is no incumbent supplier.