Start date: Friday 5 February 2021
Value: £73,500
Company size: SME
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

UK SBS DDaT20340 BEIS Online Policy Development Project

6 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 2 large

30 Completed applications

26 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Friday 6 November 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 13 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 20 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
BEIS require the successful bidder to investigate the online collaborative platform approach to policy development and provide a proposal detailing their approach.

Provide documentation on how they would;
Conduct user research
Find evidence of existing best practice
Analyse BEIS’s business requirements
Identify potential technology
Recommendations to inform a potential Alpha.
Latest start date
Tuesday 5 January 2021
Expected contract length
The total contract length is expected to last 8-weeks for the Discovery phase.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Budget range
The total value of this contract shall not exceed £80,000.00 excluding VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Energy Strategy team in Clean Power Strategy & Deployment (CPSD) within the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has been considering additional approaches to policy development, including the greater use of online collaboration tools. We are interested in creating an online community platform capable of facilitating the exchanging of ideas between participants to seek input from potential collaborators and subject matter experts in order to tackle specific policy challenges. This online community will support a planned policy development project taking place in Q2 of next year.
Problem to be solved
The purpose of this project is to advise on an online community platform, ideally hosted on Gov.UK or another cloud-based solution for use in place of or alongside traditional consultation mechanisms. It is hoped that this will simplify the process for getting public insight on policy development and allow policy teams to more actively engage, as well as benefit from the value arising from dialogue between collaborators.

It must have two key features:

• The ability to host a community of contributors with relevant expertise and interest,

• The ability to curate the most relevant evidence or data for review.

This Discovery stage work is needed to understand the best approach for delivering this outcome, as well as engage with potential users, which in turn will help determine the requirements for such a tool.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The identified users so far are BEIS Policy Advisers and subject matter experts that they engage with during the policy development writing process.

As a Policy Adviser, I need to be able to engage with subject matter experts in real time so that I can amend policies to include the latest thinking on a chosen subject.

As a subject matter expert, I need to be able to connect with BEIS Policy Advisers in real time so that I can give an informed perspective on a particular policy area.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
Currently we have a small team of civil servants working on this project, who have progressed it to this stage. The successful bidder will be working with:
• A Policy Project Lead
• The Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for the project
• A Digital Delivery Manager
Each of the above roles currently work on this project part-time.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
In the successful bidders’ own offices, in line with the current Government COVID19 advice and regulations if possible, visits to BEIS Central London Departmental offices at, 1 Victoria Street, SW1H 0ET, or virtually via MS Teams.
Working arrangements
From the supplier’s own offices. Expectations are to have at least weekly one-hour MS Teams calls, with ongoing informal communication and collaboration throughout the delivery of the work, with additional set meetings for kick off, halfway review, and conclusion. Visits to the BEIS offices would be desirable however with current and future COVID restrictions MS Teams and other communication methods will be utilised.
Security clearance
Baseline (BPSS) clearance must be held. BEIS will sponsor the successful supplier through this process if the clearance isn’t already in place.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Exit arrangement to allow both parties to be happy with the final outputs of the research.

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
  • 1. Detail your Teams’ experience of working to the GDS Service Standard, including Service Design Manual, Technology Code of Practice and wider industry standards. Provide an example. (3 points)
  • 2. Demonstrate your Teams’ experience of delivering successful user needs research. Please provide an example. (3 points)
  • 3. Demonstrate your experience of working with teams, particularly with no/limited experience of Agile, in Discovery and iterative development and how you overcame this. Please provide an example. (3 points)
  • 4. Detail how your Team has successfully delivered robust qualitative findings through mediums such as interviews and focus groups. Please provide an example. (3 points)
  • 5. Detail experience of distilling outcomes from user-needs led research into findings and conclusions, selecting most appropriate ways to represent these, whilst successfully delivering user-needs. Provide an example. (3 points)
  • 6. Detail your Teams’ experience from a similar successfully delivered project. Please provide an example. (1 point)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • 7. Detail experience of adding value where requirements required unusual/novel solutions, achieved through modification of an existing product or the delivery of a new solution. Provide an example. (1 point)
  • 8. Demonstrate your approach to sharing skills and knowledge transfer. Please provide an example. (1 point)

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • 1. Demonstrate how your proposed Teams’ technical expertise, solution, approach and methodology will ensure the successful delivery of this project. (9 points)
  • 2. Provide details of your perceived key risks to this project and how you would plan for mitigating against them (4 points)
  • 3. Demonstrate how your Teams’ approach and solution will develop robust user needs. (9 points)
  • 4. Detail your proposed project plan and timescales for this project. (7 points)
  • 5. Detail your proposed Team structure and staff experience. (7 points)
Cultural fit criteria
  • • Demonstrate how will you pursue a transparent and collaborative way of working with CPSD/ Digital staff. (4 points)
  • • Demonstrate how will you ensure you refer to CPSD/ Digital staff for key decisions and quality control of work. (4 points)
  • • Demonstrate how you will share your knowledge with existing staff. (4 points)
  • • Demonstrate how you will challenge assumptions and status quo. (4 points)
  • • Demonstrate your approach for working with existing CPSD/ Digital staff. (4 points)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who’s in the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
This is for a Discovery Phase of the requirement therefore, there is no incumbent.
2. Who's on the panel?
The Head of Energy Strategy,
an Energy Strategy officer,
and a Senior Delivery Manager.
3. As part of the recommendations that will feed into the Alpha do you envision:

a) That the discovery produces a backlog that will directly feed into development effort (e.g. that the outcome is a selection of system(s) to use with a project that is ready to start development)

b) That the discovery is able to provide a scope of the solution, as part of the potential technology exploration (e.g. that the outcome is ready to make that selection and move into an alpha phase)
(a) We would expect the supplier to recommend an appropriate system or product to use, unless something bespoke is required.

(b) We would expect the supplier to scope out the solution, yes.
4. Do you envision that the Discovery project will run exactly along GDS Discovery guidelines, or would you allow variations on these, e.g. to pursue/prototype a particular area of importance, say for user testing?
Any variations on GDS guidelines would need to be agreed as part of the successful bid, but we are not opposed in principle.
5. On average, how much time (e.g. % of each week) will the civil servant team be able to dedicate to participating in this Discovery?

And how much access to wider stakeholders will be available, e.g. for workshops etc.?
Assume about 20% of their time; i.e. totalling at least one day per week.

Wider stakeholder access will be facilitated by us providing some names, but we would expect the supplier to co-ordinate engagement and identify additional stakeholders as needed.
6. Is this product envisaged to be involved in public consultation about policy?

If so, will you be able to provide this user or should we source this user ourselves?
Yes, the product is envisaged to be utilised in consultation or calls for evidence.

The users in the first instance will be the contracting Civil Servants.
7. Do you expect the prospective online collaborative platform to be adopted more widely than the Energy Strategy team?

The given user needs appear to be relevant to all policy domains. If so, will the wider department be engaged during this Discovery phase?
Once the tool is identified or developed we intend to pilot its use, but assuming that pilot is successful we would want to expand the use of the tool to the wider department.

Suppliers should look to engage with the wider department if they believe it would be helpful.
8. Are you expecting to build your own online collaborative platform OR to adopt existing tools? And do you need this Discovery to inform that decision?
We would prefer to adopt existing tools, but if Discovery identifies that a novel platform is required we will pursue that option.
9. What sort of organisations/job roles do you envisage the Subject Matter Experts who are active on this platform being drawn from? Are they likely to be existing (professional) respondees to consultations or is this platform intended to broaden the network of people you get evidence and feedback from?
Academic researchers, industry experts, NGO representatives. We assume that the initial audience will be people who already engage with consultations, but the intent to broaden the network of people who engage on policy issues is core to this project, especially bringing in non-London-based expertise.
10. What is the background/context for this project?

Have you seen the proposed platform/tool used successfully elsewhere?

Do you have any existing research which has informed this piece of work?
The background to this work was some internal research on our approach to consultations that identified some drawbacks with their use in developing policy, especially the time it took to get feedback and the unidirectional nature of the engagement.

We do not yet know what the propose platform/tool will look like. This is for the supplier to propose.

In looking for an online collaboration tool we were attracted to some of the work on this undertaken by academics, which while not directly relevant to the work offer interesting lessons.
11. Do you have any expectations of how many users will be using this tool?

Who are the SMEs you’ll be interacting with and what sectors do they operate in?
We are as yet not clear on the number of users we would expect.

For SMEs who engage in this project, we would expect them to be involved in the energy sector in some way.
12. ''Detail your Teams’ experience from a similar successfully delivered project. Please provide an example.''
Are you after an example where we've worked on advising on an online community platform or a Discovery phase where we've assessed user needs and worked to GDS standards?
It is up the supplier to decide how best to answer a question with relevant examples.
13. The brief says you are ‘considering … greater use of online collaboration tools’. Does that mean you are already using online collaboration tools to inform your policy work? If so, which?
We have utilised MS Teams and Meetingsphere for workshops on particular policy issues, however, these were invitation-only rather than open to wider participation.