Awarded to Nomensa Ltd

Start date: Monday 1 February 2021
Value: £370,000
Company size: SME
NHS Test and Trace

User Research Capability

17 Incomplete applications

15 SME, 2 large

26 Completed applications

19 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Monday 28 December 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 4 January 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 11 January 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We are looking for user research capability to work alongside in-house teams and suppliers. They will work with blended teams to deliver outcomes based on user needs. The contract will support capability gaps within the scope of User Research in DOS ( ) until end FY 20/21
Latest start date
Monday 18 January 2021
Expected contract length
11 weeks
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
NHS Test and Trace
Budget range
Substantial activity is in our pipeline between now and end of FY 2020/21, with an indicative budget against the requirements for this capability being £370k exc.VAT. That scope could expand or contract.
Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments and T&T governance.
The department reserves the right to use any of the DOS pricing methodologies in any SoW (fixed price, capped T&M, or T&M).
Each SoW will outline the work required and associated budget, suppliers will need to provide clear costs to enable tracking.
T&T does not commit to minimum or maximum spend at this point.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The NHS Test and Trace business plan ( sets out the challenges. These include strengthening and scaling delivery through local/national partnerships; expanding testing to 2.5 million a day; expanding and improving contact tracing; reaching contacts faster; identifying and reacting to clusters and outbreaks faster; increasing adoption of the COVID19 app; and making the public part of the continuous improvement of our services.
Underpinning this, user research capability is needed to support the delivery and continuous improvement of NHS Test and trace products and services; to build user research knowledge and capability within the department; and to contribute to a culture of evidence-based decision-making.
Problem to be solved
To deliver our business plan, we need support to create new, and improve existing, Test and Trace transactions, products and services. Current services cut across a range of channels, and are delivered through a complex arrangement of in-house teams, partners and suppliers.
This contract will fill user research capability gaps within existing and new teams, supporting a range of projects from inception through to live and continuous improvement. This will be through the delivery of outcomes based on user needs and in line with the government service standards.
We anticipate suppliers may need to support 4-5 projects running at any one time.
Statements of Work will specify problems to be solved.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Everyone has a role to play in breaking the chains of COVID-19 transmission, protecting the public’s health and enabling people to return towards a more normal way of life. Within Test and Trace, our high-level users and needs include:

- The general public – who need to behave in a way that can keep themselves, their families and their communities safe
- Users of Test and Trace services – who need easy and convenient access to services, who need to find out as early as possible if they have exposed/been exposed to the virus so they can self-isolate to stop further transmission
- Those providing testing and tracing services, guidance and support at local, regional and national levels – who need to be empowered and enabled to deliver excellent service to the public
- Those designing policy and service – who need fast access to data and insight, and short feedback loops, so they can target and tailor to increase effectiveness and responsiveness of design
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
You will work with internal Test and Trace, DHSC, PHE, and NHSD staff from a range of disciplines across the DDaT professions as well as policy, finance, commercial and legal. You will work most closely with our research professions and our user-centred design specialisms, as well as product management, delivery management, and those in service operations.

The successful supplier will be expected to collaborate or work with other suppliers who are providing capabilities as part of a team.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
For the duration of restrictions on movement due to COVID-19, all teams are expected to work and collaborate remotely. If user research becomes non-remote, this will be stated in the Statement of Work.
Working arrangements
A Statement of Work will be completed, which will identify expected working arrangements, and outline the outcomes and deliverables expected for each engagement.
Expenses will not form part of the cost unless the Statement of Work specifies non-remote working (e.g. for user research activity).

We anticipate a maximum of 4-5 concurrent engagements at any one time.
Security clearance
NHS T&T requires all supplier staff to have baseline personnel security standard clearance (BPSS).
There may be a requirement for some of the work to require security clearance checks, where this is needed it will be detailed in the Statement of Work.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with NHS T&T Travel and Subsistence Policy.
For each SoW issued under this contract, the supplier is obligated to undertake the relevant security and criminal checks as determined by NHS T&T, with the Buyer having sole discretion over the acceptance of Supplier Staff who will be performing the activities in the SoW.
Suppliers must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018; the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, the Law Enforcement Directive and any subsequent amendments/changes to date.

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
  • Provide evidence of conducting user research at all stages of the lifecycle from inception to live
  • Have demonstrable experience of using qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods research approaches, and evidence of applying them appropriately.
  • Provide evidence of analysing user research findings
  • Provide evidence of effectively communicating actionable insights and findings
  • Provide evidence of upskilling and mentoring internal user research capability
  • Provide evidence of including all kinds of users (e.g. users with access or assisted digital needs) in user research.
  • Provide evidence of advocating for inclusive practices and helping teams design and deliver accessible services that work for all users
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working with education, training, and social care providers
  • Experience of helping to build and maintain a user research community of practice in an organisation in order to continually assure, improve and innovate their user research practice
  • Demonstrable experience of involving a delivery team in user research planning, observation and analysis
  • Experience of helping inexperienced delivery teams adopt user-centred practices and embed them into their agile workflow
  • Experience of helping teams adopt and master a wide range of user research methods (e.g. ethnography, diary studies, contexual inquiry, observation)
  • Experience of helping teams to adopt a wide range of analysis and synthesis techniques
  • Evidence of successfully delivering against the Government Service Standard
  • Experience of establishing a research operations function in an organisation
  • Evidence of collaborating with multiple teams in order to deliver end-to-end services

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 or solution meets user needs
  • approach and methodology
  • how they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • estimated timeframes for the work
  • value for money
  • how the approach or solution meets your organisation’s policy or goal
Cultural fit criteria
  • Reinforce a culture of continuous improvement and iteration in all teams
  • Champion the value of user research, user-centred design, and evidence-based decision-making
  • Experience of working with an organisation in the early stages of a digital transformation programme
  • Experience of working with multi-vendor teams across multiple projects
  • Experience of collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders in order to achieve successful outcomes for both the organisation and users
  • Experience of transferring knowledge to permanent staff within a client organisation
  • Experience of upskilling user researchers in an organisation
  • Understands how to work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary, agile service delivery team
  • Able to explain technical things to non-technical people, and non-technical things to technical people
  • Proactively collaborates across teams in order to deliver transformational end-to-end services that work for users
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can we confirm that engagement would be viewed as outside IR35?
2. Is there an incumbent supplier providing this or a similar service?
Yes, we are working with a number of suppliers across Test and Trace
3. Please elaborate on your requirement "helping to build and maintain a user research community of practice in an organisation in order to continually assure, improve and innovate their user research practice" and your expectations for this?
We are in the process of establishing a user research community and we would like suppliers to be part of this by offering their expertise and suggestions to help improve and innovate the way we set-up and conduct User Research. Our expectations are for open and proactive knowledge sharing.
4. Please elaborate further on your requirement "Experience of establishing a research operations function in an organisation" and your expectations
We are in the process of establishing a research operations (ReOps) function. Our ReOps infrastructure is at an early stage of development. Suppliers will need to be able to operate in an environment with a limited ReOps infrastructure in place, and to collaborate with and contribute to the development of that function. We may issue SoWs specifically to support that development
5. Who's the incumbent and how long have they been the incumbent?
Since NHS T&T was established in early summer 2020, we've had a number of suppliers conducting user research across the service.
6. Provide evidence of advocating for inclusive practices and helping teams design and deliver accessible services that work for all users. What is meant by "inclusive practices" within this question?
Inclusive practices means undertaking research and designing services in a manner that ensures people who are often underrepresented in research or face barriers to accessing services are able to participate fully and equally
7. Who's on the panel?
Representatives from service design, user research and commercial professions