Awarded to Ghost (Digital) Limited

Start date: Tuesday 6 April 2021
Value: £247,900
Company size: SME
National Travel Survey team at the Department for Transport (DfT)

Digital Travel Diary for the National Travel Survey- Private and Public Beta

6 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 1 large

5 Completed applications

5 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Wednesday 6 January 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 13 January 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 20 January 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Conduct Beta in line with GDS criteria to develop a MVP which would enable a digital diary to collect better quality data, reduce respondent/interviewer burden and create processing efficiencies compared to the current paper diary for the National Travel Survey. Beta experiments should be based on Alpha recommendations.
Latest start date
Monday 1 March 2021
Expected contract length
on or before 24 months ( this is only an estimated timescale with work completed prior to this)
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
National Travel Survey team at the Department for Transport (DfT)
Budget range
£270,000 exc VAT Capped

About the work

Why the work is being done
The main component of the NTS is a one-week travel diary completed annually by 15,000 participants by pen and paper. A Discovery concluded that a well-designed digital diary would better meet user needs than a paper diary as it could collect better quality data and reduce respondent burden. Alpha tested numerous features to identify what could achieve this. Beta will build on this research to develop a MVP, testing features recommended in the Alpha report (including GDS recommendations). The objective will be to design MVP which collects better quality data, reduces burden and increases efficiencies compared to the paper diary
Problem to be solved
Build on work completed in Discovery and Alpha to complete a Beta phase. Beta will deliver a digital National Travel Survey service.

Pass all assurance gates:
• Pen test
• GDS Service assessment (
• Architectural Change Board
• Beta Checkpoint
• Data protection impact assessment
• Accessibility (
Adhering to the following standards:

• Technology code of practice (
• Digital Service standard (
• Architectural principles (to be shared at stage 2 if shortlisted)
• NCSC guidelines (
• Accessibility (
Who the users are and what they need to do
Survey participants
Beta will need to test for solutions which would make a digital diary less of a burden for participants than a paper diary.

NTS Data users
DfT and OGDs use NTS data to inform their evidence base for transport planning and policy initiatives. Beta will need to test for solutions which would better meet these users’ data requirements.

NTS team and contractor
Proposed solutions will need to meet Architecture Principles and Standards in order to create an efficient structure for processing diary data:

Survey Interviewers
Interviewers experience with conducting the survey will be valuable for this project.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The Discovery and Alpha reports are available here:
Existing team
DFT will provide
• a product manager and service owner, who are statisticians
• Assurance from digital service
The supplier will provide all resource required to deliver the project.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Great Minster House,
33 Horseferry Road,


The majority of the work will be conducted at the suppliers own site (or other chosen location). Meetings between the supplier, the NTS team and NatCen will be conducted remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Conducting of user research may require travel around England and Wales. No Travel rates will to be incurred within the M25 corridor and any outside M25 The Departments Travel Rates will apply.
Working arrangements
Bidders to provide preferred approach. The exact milestones will be agreed with the successful bidder when appointed. Weekly status updates should be provided.

A report, presentation and working prototypes will be required for Beta. This includes preparing and passing the GDS Beta service assessments and iterating how the Technology Code of Practice is met. Solution to be hosted on DfT’s Google Cloud platform, needs to align to DfT’s Digital and Technology Strategy and follow Architecture Principles & Standards. Knowledge and skills to be transferred to DfT so that final solution can be operated in-house.
Security clearance
All personnel should be cleared to SC clearance level for the duration of the contract.

Contractors must be available to begin work with immediate effect following contract award.

Evidence of current clearance will be requested at the written proposal stage.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
CVs of the proposed team will be requested at Stage 2

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 evidence of successful beta phases in line with GDS standards for a government department, including passing a GDS beta service assessment
  • Demonstrable evidence of successfully designing and testing digital collection methods via simple web browser with a diverse mix of users
  • Demonstrable evidence delivery of secure and robust solutions using google cloud platform
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience of modelling and building different data structures to meet differing data requirements.
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience of using data validation methods including using master and reference data to improve data quality during the process of data collection, transformation and analysis.
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience of processing personal data and compliance with GDPR, including having suitably trained staff and the required security and technical controls.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience in designing digital solutions which are transport related
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience in designing digital solutions which are survey related

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrable evidence of defining the approach/methodology to beta project planning and delivery. Identify the main stages and activities proposed at each stage. (20%)
  • Demonstrable evidence of how the approach or solution will deliver the projects objectives. (10%)
  • Demonstrable evidence of the Technical solution (10%)
  • Demonstrable evidence of how risks and dependencies have been identified and what approaches have been offered to manage and mitigate them (5%)
  • Detailed resource plan – demonstrating how in-house, supplier and external resource will be used and at what stage (5%)
  • Estimated timeframes for the work (5%)
  • Suppliers must demonstrate experience in designing/developing end to end solutions (including front and back end) through a range of previous work for customers on a similar scale. (5%)
  • Demonstrate value for money (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience of working as a team with central government and other suppliers to deliver a digital service (5%)
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience of taking responsibility for their work and resolving problems effectively (5%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Hello. We have partnered with a leading UX agency to deliver a number of digital services over the past 12 months that have passed GDS assessments, and GDS have commented on the great working relationship between our two parties and the buyers in question, and our ability to rapidly deliver. Would you be open to accepting an application from us to this opportunity where we would ultimately be subcontracting to this UX agency, or are you looking for a single supplier to deliver?
DFT welcomes tenders from single suppliers, partnerships and consortiums for the delivery of the NTS Beta. DFT will require a contracting entity to act as the prime, and be responsible for the delivery of the work in its entirety. All resources deployed on the project will be expected to meet the standards described in the specification.
2. Hi. At which point in the project would SC clearance be required? We’re all BPSS certified but as companies can’t self apply for SC, we would need sponsoring for SC clearance. Would the DfT be willing to sponsor the supplier awarded the contract?
DFT required all suppliers with access to live data to be SC cleared. Due to the timelines of the project, it is unlikely that DFT will award this work to an organisation that does not have the suitable clearance required in place prior to the commencement of the evaluation process
3. Is there an incumbent?
NatCen are the current contractor for running the annual survey. However the Alpha phase of the digital project concluded last year and we are now procuring for a supplier to complete the Beta phase of the project.
4. Are you able to provide a breakdown of the team (roles) involved in the delivery of Alpha?
DFT will not share details about the previous Alpha team during the procurement process outside of what is contained in the Alpha report.