This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Wednesday 5 May 2021
Disclosure and Barring Service

DBS User Research Participants 2021

1 Incomplete application

1 SME, 0 large

4 Completed applications

4 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Wednesday 21 April 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 28 April 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 5 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requires participant recruitment for regular user research activities.
The objective of the advert is to procure participants for regular user research days for services being developed by DBS.
North West England
Research dates
July 2021 to June 2023 with an option to extend for a further 6 months
Organisation the work is for
Disclosure and Barring Service
Budget range

About the work

Early market engagement

About the research

Description of your participants
The recruitment brief may vary but should include:
Participants with cognitive and/or learning disabilities
Mental health conditions
Motor skills impairments
Mix of age, gender and educational attainment
Visual impairments
Mix of socio economic backgrounds
Varied levels of IT competence
Must be aged between 18 and 60
Special requirements may be needed for some sessions e.g. participants over 60, participants who have applied for a Disclosure and Barring check before or some to have lived in the UK for less than one year. This would be notified when the session is requested.
Assisted digital and accessibility requirements
Research plan
Expectation is 240 participants over 48 sessions, 32-36 sessions to be standard profile participants and 12-16 sessions to be special profile participants
Research location
Liverpool will be the main location however Darlington may also be required. Current assumption is that all sessions will be held in Liverpool or via Video chat. Accepted platforms are Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Slack or Zoom only.
Access restrictions at location
Number of research rounds
Number of participants a round
Minimum of 5 participants per round, spare participants will not be required. There may occasionally be a need to engage with individual participants outside of a full round of research.
How often research will happen
Approximately 4 rounds per month. DBS will provide two weeks notice ahead of research. First round will be required within two weeks of contract commencement date.
240 participants over 48 sessions, 32-36 sessions to be standard profile participants and 12-16 sessions to be special profile participants
Evening or weekend research

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 recruiting specialised research participants for government services
  • Follow an ethical, rigorous approach to screening potential participants
  • Be able to access to a range of reliable networks to reach suitable participants
  • Be able to process informed consent and incentives for participants
  • Be able to mitigate the risks of participants not showing up for user research or not meeting the criteria.
  • Be able to provide regular updates on recruitment progress
  • Be able to provide participant profiles for review in advance
  • Be able to meet short deadlines e.g. less than 10 working days notice
  • Be able to provide support via phone/email from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday to resolve issues.
  • Be able to accommodate an additional request for users out of cycle
  • Be Cyber Essentials Plus or ISO27001 certified or will have gained either accreditation within 6 months of the contract start date. The certification must cover the entirety of the services
  • Be able to recruit participants with mild and severe access needs (motor, cognitive, visual, hearing)
  • Be able to recruit participants with low digital skills / confidence online
  • Work in an agile way and be flexible in the research methods and contexts they can recruit for
  • Comply with all GDPR regulations including storing and processing participant data
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Devise a process to check attendance prior to each session e.g. night before or morning before to improve attendance rates

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical Competence (Proposal Criteria) will receive 40% weighting. The following will be the high-level evaluation questions:
  • Approach and Methodology. Will account for 25% of the overall weighting and will evaluate the Supplier’s approach and methodology to recruiting specialist participants.
  • Contract Management and Service Delivery. Will account for 15%, and evaluate Supplier’s approach to maintaining a quality service, and identification of risks and dependencies and approaches to manage them.
  • Availability. Will account for 20% of overall weighting and will evaluate the Supplier’s ability to be a reliable supply for recruiting user research participants throughout life of the Contract.
  • Price. Will account for 40% of the overall weighting and will include a rate card detailing recruitment costs and must include incentives for each of the indicative target user groups
Additional assessment methods
Case study
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence






Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would all/any recruited participants have to travel to the specified locations (Liverpool & Darlington)?
Due to current Covid restrictions, participants will not be required on site at either location. Once restrictions are lifted and face to face sessions can be delivered, participants will be required for the Liverpool site in the main. Darlington would be by exception but may be required.
2. You list that 40% of the score will be awarded based on price and your process is to award top marks for the lowest price. Will you be providing detailed briefs of the participants to allow for accurate competitive quotes as well as the opportunity to clarify these briefs? Or will you just provide indicative costs for certain participant groups?
Suppliers will be required to submit prices as per the participant profiles provided in the advert should the Supplier be shortlisted to proposal stage. DBS will not provide indicative costs for any participant groups.
3. Should we only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement ?
One example per criteria is sufficient
4. Contract Management and Service Delivery is weighted at 15%. Approach and methodology is weighted at 25%. But only three factors are said to be valued tech competence (40), availability(20) and price (40). Could you please explain the weightage.
Technical competence is 40% and within that the elements are:
Approach and methodology - 25%
Service Delivery - 15%
This adds up to 40% for technical competence.
5. What weightage is given to ‘nice to have’ question?
This question is not weighted however it will be used to shortlist suppliers in line with Digital Outcomes and Specialists buyer guidance.
6. Is the 240 participants needed over 2 years? Or is it a per year need?
This estimation is for the two year term.
7. Is there an existing supplier? If so, do they have any more information that could make them more competitive than others? How authority ensures fairness?
DBS does have an existing contract that was also procured via the DOS framework. The incumbent supplier only has access to the same opportunity on DOS and has no other information about this procurement. Fairness is ensured by the published process DBS has detailed within this opportunity on how we will shortlist and evaluate all potential suppliers of the service. DOS buyer guidance will be adhered to.
8. Is there a need for usability lab when Covid restrictions are eased?
DBS do not have a requirement for a User Lab.
9. What is the lead time for recruitment you have faced with existing supplier?
Within two weeks of request
10. Could you indicate what is the most difficult participant type and you had difficulties before?
There have been no issues with recruiting participants to date.