Awarded to We Are Snook Ltd

Start date: Wednesday 25 November 2020
Value: £69,795
Company size: SME
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Local Digital Collaboration Unit, Community Engagement Playbook

12 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 1 large

27 Completed applications

24 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Thursday 24 September 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 1 October 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 8 October 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A discovery project bringing together a range of sources and information, user research and more for the creation of a playbook: guidance on how to conduct engagement activities for local government.
Latest start date
Monday 2 November 2020
Expected contract length
3 months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Budget range
Up to £80,000 (excluding VAT)

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Local Digital Collaboration Unit (LDCU) at the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government are looking for a partner to deliver a discovery project.

Local Digital is a growing community of organisations working together with a shared vision to deliver more user-centred, cost-effective local public services through open, collaborative and reusable work.

The community was drawn together around the Local Digital Declaration, co-published in 2018, and is supported by funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to provide training to all signatories and funding to selected collaborative projects.

The Local Digital Declaration (signed by 150 local authorities as well as MHCLG and GDS) has 5 principles one of which covers working in the open and sharing plans and experiences.

In 2020 we have made funding available for data and digital projects to help local authorities in England with their COVID-19 recovery and renewal efforts.

This government funding of up to £800,000 in total is aimed at supporting Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) projects that look to combat the challenges faced by local government as a direct result of COVID-19.

This project forms 1 of the 11 projects that would be awarded funding.
Problem to be solved
Throughout Covid-19 Local Authorities needed to devise new and different ways to interact, consult and engage with citizens.

The Local Authorities and groups that form this project: South Gloucestershire Council and Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames with LB Sutton, West Berkshire Council, LGSS, Oxford City Council, Staffordshire County Council, Northamptonshire County, Cambridgeshire County Council, LB Waltham Forest and London Office of Technology and Innovation are looking to bring together learnings to create a playbook.

The playbook should include reusable and transferable approaches covering a variety of methods and technologies to achieve engagement with the public at a local level. Enabling councils to meet statutory requirements and bridge the gap between traditional face to face consultation, with more digital and inclusive approaches, including with members of the public from underrepresented or ‘harder to reach’ groups.

A supplier should propose a methodology and approach (in line with Government Service Standards) that will enable us to reach as close to this outcome as possible within the timeframes.

The first iteration should be of sufficient quality that it can be shared with the wider local digital community.
Who the users are and what they need to do
1. As a council employee, I need to define the best way to engage with citizens, so that my engagement is more effective and includes people from underrepresented groups.

2. As a local council, I need to see what other methods councils are using for community engagement, so that I can learn and define the best approaches.

3. As a local council, I want to increase participation amongst certain groups so that I can be sure that our consultation or engagement processes garner diverse views.
Early market engagement
The project team delivered a short introduction to the project to suppliers invited by TechUK on 17 August, this was attended by around 50 suppliers working across the field of digital data and technology.
Any work that’s already been done
This work will build upon existing work undertaken.

Background studies include:

● Using Digital Tools & Methods to Engage Residents in Covid Recovery (LOTI)

● Digital Democracy: The tools transforming political engagement (NESTA)

● The State of Digital Public Engagement: Literature Review (MySociety)

● Democracy and Digital Technologies (Democracy and Digital Engagement Committee)

● Involve’s Knowledge Base on Digital Engagement
Oxford City Council have undertaken initial research using some the above sources. A range of non-digital methods of engagement were drawn from the council’s experience along with a typology of digital democracy to set out a range of options.
Existing team
Suppliers will work with the Local Digital Collaboration Unit team at MHCLG, you will be expected to work with one of our Collaboration Managers who will take on the role of Product Owner.

Suppliers will be expected to work with representatives from South Gloucestershire Council and Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames with LB Sutton, West Berkshire Council, LGSS, Oxford City Council, Staffordshire County Council, Northamptonshire County, Cambridgeshire County Council, LB Waltham Forest and London Office of Technology and Innovation who make up the wider project group.

No other suppliers are involved with this project at this stage.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote working or at 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF.
Working arrangements
Given the current COVID-19 climate, we would expect the supplier to work remotely but keep in close contact with the existing team. Any changes on these circumstances will be agreed with the supplier.

We expect the supplier to work in line with the MHCLG Digital mission, values and ways of working. We work openly and use agile methodology. We will induct the supplier on team specific practises and on the overarching hypotheses and vision we work to.
Security clearance
BPSS or higher

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1. All outputs will be owned by MHCLG and published openly where appropriate using a suitable open license that supports reuse.

2. All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of MHCLG.

3. GDPR requirements will be discussed and agreed once the successful supplier has been notified (as part of discussions to agree the wording of the call-off contract).

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 experience of using Agile methodologies in line with the government service standard for product delivery at Discovery and Alpha stages
  • A multidisciplinary discovery team made up of appropriately skilled team members to include User Research, Content Design and Delivery Management.
  • Experience of working with a blended team (where product owner, delivery manager or other roles have been provided by the client team).
  • Experience of working in the open and regularly sharing with a wide audience
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of delivering agile digital projects in line with the Government Service Standard, including experience of Government Service Standard Assessments
  • Previous experience of developing a playbook or guidance product
  • Previous experience or expertise in the field of local government consultation

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets your organisation’s policy or goal
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure and roles/experience
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and Local Authority partners
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Work in the open, sharing show and tells and blog posts about the work widely throughout
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 a consortium apply? If so, does there need to be a lead partner?
A consortium can apply provided there is a lead partner who MHCLG will contract with.
2. Please can you define the specific groups you are targeting when you mention 'people from underrepresented groups'?
For the purposes of this project we would classify 'underrepresented groups' as being those that do not engage with council engagement activities such as consultations. All council activities aim to gain engagement from a representative proportion of the demographics of the area. This group of users may differ depending on the demographics of the various local authority areas or the type of engagement activity undertaken, as such this discovery should seek to gain an understanding of those groups and identify solutions.
3. We were not invited to 'the short introduction to the project to suppliers invited by TechUK on 17 August' – does this disadvantage us? Will you make available the short introduction or have you done so already?
This was a very high-level overview which should not disadvantage any suppliers who were not there. The introduction covered off what is included within this opportunity listing.
4. Other tenders have stated that BPSS or higher security clearance is required of contractors. They have also stated that the client will pay for the security clearance for contractors without the BPSS, will this tender pay for contractors to apply for necessary security clearance?
Unfortunately, due to the timescales for delivery of this work, we are not able to pay for and arrange security clearance for contractors.
5. Please can you define 'Content Design' in the context of this project – as it has a range of interpretations in industry?
We would define Content Design in line with the Government Digital Service information about this can be found here:
6. Will MHCLG entertain submissions based on a partner model – i.e. a prime partner with support from SME organisations?
Yes, we would accept this approach.
7. What assessment weighting is being applied to the DOS stage questions?
There are no sub-weightings for each criteria. Each criteria will be scored out of 3 in accordance with the standard DOS scoring guide. The relevant weighting will then be applied to the total score for that section to produce a total weighted score. So, the maximum weighted score that can be achieved for a full proposal will be 70%, Cultural fit will be a maximum of 10% and price a maximum of 20%.
8. Can you describe the format of the Playbook you're looking for? Would it be an online resource or a printed product? Could you provide links to similar types of outputs / Playbooks?
The playbook should reflect the format most useful to identified users (council staff running engagement activity) and their needs. Given time constraints of the project this should also be taken into consideration when developing the playbook.

Some examples of playbooks are:

Catalyst: Service Recipes for Charities

The HyperIsland Toolbox

Sharing Cities project: Resources page - various playbooks for download

GOV.UK Social Media Playbook
9. Will this Discovery team have to liaise with teams undertaking works for the other 11 projects to be awarded funding in and around this space?
This opportunity relates only to the Community Engagement Playbook project. Suppliers will be expected to liaise with all relevant partner authorities. The Local Digital Collaboration Unit is convening other projects working in this space, and teams are likely to find it beneficial to engage with these meetings (regularity TBC).

More information about the other 11 projects can be found here:
10. Will this Discovery undergo GDS assessment?
Discovery projects do not go through the GDS assessment process, First assessments happen at the end of Alpha phase. Either way, we do not expect this to be a transactional service and as such it will go through the relevant internal MHCLG approvals processes.