Skills for Care (SfC) : the workforce development body for adult social care in England

Developing the digital social care workforce: Building the foundations

12 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 3 large

0 Completed applications

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 28 April 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 5 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 12 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
To commission two alphas to inform development and prototype of two digital products. The process will be user led therefore will require skills to work with external specialists, have expertise in user research and concept testing and development as well as technical ability to build prototype in HTML.
Latest start date
Thursday 20 May 2021
Expected contract length
The contract will run over 4.5 months (mid May-end Sept)
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Skills for Care (SfC) : the workforce development body for adult social care in England
Budget range
The maximum budget available for this work will be £100k inclusive of VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Research indicates a mixed picture around digital transformation across the adult social care sector. For some, digital is a way of working more efficiently and effectively to deliver high quality services, for others, good quality care is being delivered without digital technology so there is little need for change, with a range of views in between. There are concerns among stakeholders that the sector, is not embedding digital ways of operating at the same pace as other sectors, in particular health, which could lead to potential difficulties in the future. 

From previous work, two broad themes emerged as omnipresent and vital to digital transformation in the sector and were of particular interest to our organisation: digital skills and digital leadership. In SfC we conceptualise digital leaders as those who will have a role in championing and moving their organisation/teams/colleagues forward along their digital journey, who may or may not hold a leadership position in the organisation.
Problem to be solved
Problem; the sector lacks clear, usable definitions (and therefore translatable skills and knowledge) of ‘what good looks like’ for digital skills and digital leadership in the sector. It also has no centralised solution to improving digital skills via learning and development opportunities.

We want to explore:

Strand 1 Alpha: ‘What good looks like’ focusing on digital skills, including digital leadership skills. Building on our discovery we require further development and iterations with users to build an appropriate digital framework outlining ‘what good looks like’.

Strand 2 Alpha: The concept of a learning hub through which stakeholders, managers and staff can access support to develop skills in this area. Again, we have some evidence from our discoveries which form the basis of user needs but this requires further exploration in the context of this concept.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an organisation, we need to have a clear understanding of the digital skills that our workforce need in order to fully benefit from tech so that we can signpost users to learning and oversee their development.

As a member of the social care workforce I need to have the digital skills to do my job, including helping others use digital tools, safely, sensitively and with confidence so that I can improve the outcomes for service users, improve and streamline my communication within and outside the organisation, reduce the administrative burden currently facing many staff.

As a digital leader in adult social care I need to know what skills I need and where to go for support so I have the right digital expertise to help influence the digital culture and strategic direction of my organisation with confidence so that we can make the right decisions around tech, build a digital workforce become a more digitally mature organisation.

As a learning provider, I need to have an understanding of the digital skills that are required in the sector so that I can help shape our learning offer to support these requirements.
Early market engagement
Digital skills 

Discovery findings indicate there are a range of definitions and expectations of what ‘good digital skills’ look like, with a lack of clarity or consensus on what is required. Staff confidence and skills vary with some feeling very confident, and others digitally excluded. Whilst there are frameworks available which set out digital skills, our research indicates a lack of implementation of the frameworks into support for staff. In addition, there was evidence that there is no one central resource for the sector to access in order to help with implementation of a product which sets out ‘what good looks like’.

Digital leadership 

Digital leadership is not a widely understood concept or role within social care. Routes to developing leaders and managers within the sector currently do not include digital leadership. Whilst the use of technology has become more wide-stream and leaders understand its benefits, they can have a lack of expertise and confidence in this area. In addition, there are few formal learning opportunities meaning that learning is ad hoc and unstructured. In addition, leaders face organisational and cultural challenges, all of which hamper digital change.
Any work that’s already been done
To date we have completed a discovery around digital leadership focused on leaders and managers and a separate discovery around digital skills involving direct care staff. As part of the discoveries, we built user personas for both ‘sets’ of users (that is front line staff and potential/digital leaders). They describe what we found to be the emerging digital maturity profiles for people working across the sector and we are keen to utilise in this work.
Existing team
Within Skills for Care you will be working with:
Product Manager – SfC Diane Buddery
Delivery Manager – SfC Liz Burtney
Scrum Master (admin side only)– SfC Hayley Neale
Claire Smout, Rob Smith, Subject Matter Experts (SME)
*External SME (this person will be managed by SfC)

SfC Wider Team
Accessibility lead
Digital performance analyst
Technical architect
Web operations engineer
Quality assurance and testing

*you will work closely with the external subject matter expert who will develop content for testing
Current phase
Alpha

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
This work will be virtual in the initial instance following current COVID-19 regulations.
Working arrangements
Following an initial inception meeting, we will have weekly check-ins and expect fortnightly attendance at sprint meetings. We expect to have interim findings and final report meetings, if possible, face to face.

Contractors will be expected to work closely with a subject expert to help with the agile build of ‘what good looks like’.

The work is divided into two strands, with a contract pause after Strand 1.

One organisation may not have all the skills required for this specification and would encourage partnership bids to cover the range of expertise needed for delivery.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Note that this specification is not a commitment to award a contract; SfC are under no obligation to appoint a digital partner.

The work is divided into two strands. There will be a contract pause to allow some time for refection toward the end of strand 1 before making the decision to continue with strand 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
  • have experience in conducting user research
  • have technical expertise to build the architecture for a learning hub
  • have skills to build a prototype in HTML
  • have experience of articulating a technical specification for the Beta
  • have experience of concept and design testing of learning platforms or sites
  • have the ability to engage effectively with users who have a range of digital literacy
  • be able to work in an agile manner and as part of a larger team
  • be available to attend presentation/interview on either 17th or 18th May if shortlisted
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • have direct experience of working in the social care sector
  • have experience of testing skills frameworks and their digital application in the 'real world'

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution proposed and match with our organisational goal
  • Approach and methodology
  • Experience and expertise
  • Identification of risks and dependencies along with mitigation plan
  • Experience of the proposed team
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • work as a team with our organisation and other subject matter experts
  • be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • have skills to engage with a broad range of people
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who’s on the review panel for this work? What roles do they have in your organisation?
The structure of and roles within the project team is outlined in the specification. This work is funded by DHSC/NHSx and so there will be regular review on the progress and outcomes of the work via quarterly reporting meetings. These are attended by Head of Social Care Workforce Sponsorship (DHSC) and Policy Lead (Social Care), NHSx.
2. By ‘real world’ do you mean that you want an element of user testing to be in situ testing the ‘mock up’ with real social care staff in actual care settings? (eg testing on handheld devices in the community and in common care settings)
A key element of the framework is its practicality. In the 'real world', those working in social care do not routinely use skills frameworks; they want to know what they should be learning to do and how they can do this. Learning Providers also look for this guidance to shape their offer. Therefore, whatever form the framework takes, it should driven by user need and tested in ways/settings that replicate 'real life' usage. This may include care settings.
3. When you are asking for an HTML prototype, what were your expectations of the levels of functionality in that prototype? (example: a simple click through setup or more complex testable functionality)
Please note that within this project, we are asking for an a prototype, not a MVP. Therefore, we are asking for concept development, key features and possible layout of the prototype. We want to understand the user needs and user journey and for this to be clearly described as a set of requirements that would be needed to convert this into a MVP. The HTML prototype will need to be clickable and have enough interaction available to test concepts with potential end users, we are looking for a high fidelity prototype but not production ready HTML.
4. Who is the incumbent on this project?
The two discoveries were undertaken by Lagom Strategy and were completed in September 2020, however, this is a new contract and there are no incumbents
5. Is there currently a preferred technology stack?
We want our technology stack choices to be driven by our user needs. We therefore don't have a preferred tech stack but the technical choices will need to meet open source standards.
6. Please clarify your requirement – ‘experience of testing skills frameworks and their digital application in the real world’ and what your expectations are regarding this?
We would like the chosen partner to have experience in exploring and developing skills frameworks that are used, useful and practical to their audience. We would like to work with a partner who can utilize the user needs we have identified to drive the development of a framework, having had experience of learning and development contexts and understanding of possible barriers to use, including digital blockers.
7. What % of time will be allocated to this project from the existing project team?
The core project team will be working on this project full time. Other roles available from within Skills for Care will be drawn upon as needed.
8. What % of time will be allocated to this project from the existing project team?
The core project team will be working on this project full time. Other roles available from within Skills for Care will be drawn upon as needed.
9. Which people / roles from the SfC will be assessing / reviewing submissions and attending in the person presentations?
Attending the presentations and reviewing submissions will be Diane Buddery, Programme Head, Liz Burtney, Project Manager and Kevin Pyatt, Director of Transformation.
10. Has any market scanning of potentially suitable commodity/off-the-shelf platforms already taken place?
We have undertaken an evidence review of existing Skills Frameworks (Strand 1 of this work) and this can be shared. We have more work to do with users to understand their needs more fully to be able to potentially match (or not) any off the shelf solutions for Strand 2.
11. Which people / roles from the SfC will be assessing / reviewing submissions and attending in the person presentations?
Attending the presentations and reviewing submissions will be Diane Buddery, Programme Head, Liz Burtney, Project Manager and Kevin Pyatt, Director of Transformation.
12. Based on your response to clarification 3, would you consider a clickable mid- to high-fidelity prototype that demonstrates user journeys in other formats than HTML that would achieve the same user-led outcomes?
Yes we would consider other formats so long as users could interact with the prototype and we would be able to carry out user research sessions remotely if required
13. Has any market scanning of potentially suitable commodity/off-the-shelf platforms already taken place?
We have undertaken an evidence review of existing Skills Frameworks (Strand 1 of this work) and this can be shared. We have more work to do with users to understand their needs more fully to be able to potentially match (or not) any off the shelf solutions for Strand 2.
14. Based on your response to clarification 3, would you consider a clickable mid- to high-fidelity prototype that demonstrates user journeys in other formats than HTML that would achieve the same user-led outcomes?
yes we would consider other formats so long as users could interact with the prototype and we would be able to carry out user research sessions remotely if required
15. Can we have access to the discovery report?
We have produced an information pack which includes a summary of the Discoveries. You can find this by pasting the following link into your browser:
https://skillsforcare-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/hayley_neale_skillsforcare_org_uk/EZePdas5w51Dor5w0VAz35QBqwMigTIcCaK8mtzuoDplvA?e=AwBi2d

The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Wednesday 5 May 2021.