Start date: Monday 25 January 2021
Value: £122,600
Company size: SME
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Better Regulation Executive (BRE)

BEIS Open Regulation Platform – Discovery phase

11 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 3 large

14 Completed applications

11 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Wednesday 2 December 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 9 December 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 16 December 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We are looking for a supplier to deliver Discovery research for the Open Regulation Platform project, building an open-access API to explore business regulations data. The project will explore possible use-cases and benefits of the platform to businesses, the current market including potential partners, and any recommendations for future phases.
Latest start date
Friday 22 January 2021
Expected contract length
This project must end by 31 March 2021. Our desired start-date is the week of 11 January.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Better Regulation Executive (BRE)
Budget range
The maximum value of this contract for the core services shall not exceed £155,000 (including VAT). You should provide a full breakdown of the costs, including personnel day rates.

Suppliers can choose but aren't required to separately price the option of economic analysis (outlined below) which cannot exceed £50,000 (including VAT). This should include a methodology but will not be part of the evaluation. Should the supplier succeed on the core bid, it will be at the Contracting Authority’s discretion whether to take up this option and we reserve the right to find alternative resources or Contractors for this work.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The UK government is committed to delivering an innovative and world-leading regulatory system, and the Better Regulation Executive aims to ensure that regulation is smarter, better targeted and less costly to business.

We want to make it simpler for businesses to know which regulations apply to them and how they can comply with any requirements. The Open Regulation Platform project aims to achieve this goal by processing the UK’s statute book and other legislative data sources into an enriched machine-readable dataset of business regulations and making it publicly accessible through an API.

The intention is that this will promote regulatory innovation and enable the creation of tools and services for UK and international businesses to respond to regulatory compliance with greater ease and efficiency, making the UK the best place to start and grow a business and having multiplying effects across regulated sectors.

This Discovery seeks to assess the scale and scope of potential demand for, and benefits of the proposed Open Regulation Platform project to inform key decision-making in April 2021.
Problem to be solved
This tender is to run a Discovery to explore and identify:

----Applications that could be developed using this data, with evidence of user need;
----Business sectors or target user groups where potential applications could add significantly more value;
----The state of the broader market and potential impact on existing services;
----Developer partners that could be early adopters or high-value users of the API;
----Technical requirements or additional data sources that would be necessary for these applications;
----KPIs through future phases of the project to continually validate the predicted benefits as the platform is tested and launched.

Suggested structure for deliverables:
----Business needs
--------Summary of evidence for user needs
--------Customer journeys and user personas
----Market Analysis
--------Opportunities and threats
--------Impact on existing services
--------Potential developer partners
----Recommendations for Alpha
--------Target users, partners, and development strategy
--------Technical Requirements and additional data sources
--------Suggested KPIs

There is also an option to increase the project scope and include estimates of the size of the total market, potential userbase, and net economic benefit. The supplier’s choice to offer this optional scope-extension will not impact the evaluation which will solely be based on the core scope outlined above.
Who the users are and what they need to do
There are two categories of user that this Discovery will need to consider: the intermediate developers of tools built on the Open Regulation Platform and the end-users of these tools.

We have identified the following users and their needs, however a key outcome of this project is to validate and expand on this list.

----Innovative businesses in the RegTech, GovTech or similar industries looking for new opportunities;
----Regulators and other public bodies building targeted tools for complex regulations in their sector;
----Government departments creating new digital tools to facilitate innovation and investment for businesses in their sector;
----Consultancies working on regulatory issues (such as regulatory intermediaries), offering analysis to clients based on internally developed tools;
----Academic researchers in the regulatory field or NGOs who want to assess the aggregate impact of regulation.

----Small businesses looking for immediate information on relevant regulations;
----Overseas companies looking to invest in the UK and understand the necessary regulations to do so;
----Larger companies with complex regulatory compliance needs who need to track changes to regulations or new regulations which may impact their business;
----Whitehall departments evaluating the regulatory landscape for which they are responsible, including areas for simplification or reducing unnecessary burdens.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
This project is related to two other digital projects in BRE aimed at analysing UK regulations and making it easier for businesses to navigate and understand them. Previous discovery research from both of these projects will help inform this work.
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
----A senior digital delivery manager
----The senior responsible owner (SRO) for the project
----An economist analytical lead
----Supporting officers

We will also have connections to specialist subject area and digital support from other government departments and public bodies which we can use for advice where necessary.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we expect the supplier will conduct their work remotely and should plan for the eventuality that this will be the case for the whole project.

If restrictions are eased during the timeline of the project, we will discuss the feasibility of regular meetings at our central London office, 1 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET, and whether members of the BEIS team could co-locate with the supplier’s team one day a week for face-to-face meetings such as for show and tells, key decision points, and quality assurance.
Working arrangements
The supplier should work in active collaboration with the BRE team and continuously share information, agreeing structures and processes at the start of the project. This could include daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and show-and-tell presentations at key milestones.

These plans should also consider the context of remote working. The BRE team uses the Microsoft suite of digital tools, including Microsoft Teams for instant messaging and virtual meetings. The supplier must be able to attend Teams meetings and any additional meeting or collaboration tools that they would like to use should be accessible without requiring custom software.
Security clearance
All contractors must have a valid Baseline Personnel Security Standard (or ‘BPSS’) check, and all personnel working on the project must have passed by the intended start date.

The BPSS comprises verification of:
----Nationality and Immigration Status
----Employment history (past 3 years)
----Criminal record (unspent convictions only)

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

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
  • Have experience working to the Service Standard, including Service Design Manual, Technology Code of Practice and wider industry standards (5 points)
  • Have experience working on market research for APIs, databases or other tools primarily used by developers or software companies (5 points)
  • Have successfully delivered strategic market engagement, including the identification of key stakeholder organisations and potential partners (10 points)
  • Have successfully delivered robust qualitative findings through mediums such as interviews and focus groups, including recruitment of a relevant set of users, and developing topic materials (10 points)
  • Have experience in distilling outcomes from user needs led Discovery research into findings and conclusions choosing the most appropriate ways to represent these. (5 points)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Detail your experience of working within business regulation, RegTech, LegalTech, GovTech or legislation-as-data as a topic (5 points)
  • Detail the ability of your team to use quantitative or statistical techniques in support of a market analysis (4 points)
  • Demonstrate your experience of working with SMEs and other businesses as users (3 points)
  • Detail your experience of working on public sector open data projects (3 points)

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • How the approach meets the goals of exploring user needs and identifying target users. (20 points)
  • How the approach meets the goals of analysing the impact on the existing market and identifying potential partners. (20 points)
  • How the proposed deliverables will support future phases of the project (10 points)
  • Project plan, including a detailed timeline with milestones for key deliverables, detailing the specific resources at each sprint (20 points)
  • Team structure, including staff roles, experience, and time commitment (dedicated working days) (10 points)
  • How they have identified key risks and a plan for mitigating against them (10 points)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Pursue a transparent and collaborative way of working with our organisation and other suppliers, continuously sharing knowledge throughout the process (5 points)
  • Refer to BRE staff at key decision points, facilitating quality control of work and escalating risks (5 points)
  • Stay open-minded about how to achieve the goals of this Discovery and confidently provide advice and feedback on processes (5 points)
  • Have a user-driven approach, using research and evidence to challenge underlying assumptions (5 points)
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What is the timeline for this procurement?
Wed 2 Dec 2020 - Tender published on DOS
Wed 9 Dec (23:59) - Deadline for suppliers to ask questions
Tue 15 Dec - Deadline for answers to be published
Wed 16 Dec (23:59) - Closing date for applications
Mon 21 Dec - Notification of shortlist decision
Fri 8 Jan 2021 (23:59) - Deadline for written proposals
Mon 11 Jan - Presentations from suppliers
Wed 13 Jan - Notification of final decision
Fri 15 Jan / Mon 18 Jan - Discovery target kick-off
2. Is there a plan to develop any technical tooling for direct use by end customers, or is the scope just the development of the APIs?
This project is focused on the database and API for use by external developers. Although we do have other internal digital projects that are building end-user tools, we have not decided how these will interact with the ORP and they are not the focus of this Discovery.

Also to confirm, there is no expectation for this Discovery that your company needs to have the capability to build any technical products. We do however expect that you have demonstrable understanding around these issues in order to be able to engage in informative research.
3. What will this database look like?
In previous work we have been using The National Archives data, currently published on A key part of the Discovery work is identifying what analysis on top of the raw statute text is most useful for businesses, and whether there are any other data sources which would be useful to link to this statute data. Previously we have explored how to identify the type of business affected, the relevant authority or regulator, or the specific type of regulation.
4. To what extent is the regulation data already digitised and structured, and is there an understanding of how it is being used and accessed?
Our previous work has been done by scraping data directly from The legislation data is available in XML format but can also be downloaded in other forms (e.g HTML). This data has some current structure - one can see for example the different amendments for a given piece of legislation from other pieces of legislation - and the website is primarily used for legal purposes, by officials, or by individuals who want to reference their legal rights.

We would be looking to add a more semantic understanding of the legislative text that would be relevant to businesses exploring regulations.
5. If successful in this project, can you also take part in future stages of the project?
Yes - you can apply for each stage individually and potentially be successful for each of them.

There is no exclusion from the Discovery supplier applying for an Alpha or later phase.

Similarly, if you are unsuccessful at this stage that does not preclude you from applying at a later stage and being successful there.
6. Will your "economist analytical lead" be the person attending to the "option of economic analysis", or are you contemplating for the supplier to bring further resources in these regards? And if the latter is the answer, would you further detail on your aims / expectations about it?
The economic analysis is a second stream of work in the discovery phase to evaluate the economic impact of the ORP by estimating the size of the market, the potential userbase, and the net benefit to businesses and the economy in aggregate. We are looking for external expertise to lead and deliver this work, with oversight and advice from the analytical lead who works part time on the ORP. If the successful supplier does offer this option, we will make a separate commercial decision on whether to accept and include additional funding, or find a second supplier.
7. Re: “Have successfully delivered strategic market engagement, including the identification of key stakeholder organisations and potential partners.”
Can BEIS/BRE please confirm if the scope of this question relates to the use of standard market engagement frameworks (e.g. SWOT, PESTLE, Deloitte insights) on behalf of Clients and Government departments.
We expect this requirement to include both an overview of the market environment, as for instance provided by SWOT and PESTLE, as well as stakeholder mapping. We do not require suppliers to use or reference any specific frameworks, simply to give an overview of how they have successfully carried out similar work in the past.
8. Under point 6 (Detail your experience of working within business regulation, RegTech, LegalTech, GovTech or legislation-as-data as a topic), are suppliers required to detail a single work example to cover the listed areas of experience, use multiple examples to cover all areas, or choose one area of expertise to cover?
To meet this requirement, it is sufficient for suppliers to focus on one of these areas of expertise supported with one or more work example that is relevant to the ORP project.
9. For the question regarding market research for APIs, databases or other tools primarily used by developers or software companies. Are you requiring examples on market research for the companies producing APIs for software companies to use, or market research for companies that are using APIs in their own software?
This requirement is looking at the former: examples where an API, database, of software tool produced by one organisation is marketed for use by external third parties.
10. If we are interested in pitching for the economic analysis option, where do we add this?
You will not need to decide at this initial application stage. The 3 shortlisted suppliers will be given the option of submitting their plans for the economic analysis as an addition to their full written proposal.
11. For the ability of the team question, are you asking for credentials or examples of using techniques or both?
We are looking for examples of previous work which has used quantitative or statistical techniques to help with market research. While we do not require any specific credentials or qualifications from the team working on this project, it would be useful to provide assurance that they have the necessary skills and expertise to carry out similar work again.
12. For the last question, are you referring to projects where the data is already publicly available?
We would be interested in hearing about previous work on open data projects at any point in their life-cycle. For instance it could be other discovery work to assess the scope of the demand and value of releasing the data, even if it did not go ahead, or it could be refreshing the strategy for a dataset that has been accessible for a long time.