Public Health England (PHE)

Better Health programme mobile app development delivery partner

27 Incomplete applications

21 SME, 6 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 deliver technical development on the next phase of work on Better Health and supporting native app including user experience; design of new features; user testing; validation of features; technical development, maintenance and future development of the product in order to support the Government strategy: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/
Latest start date
Monday 5 July 2021
Expected contract length
Up to 24 months + 6 Months optional extension.
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Public Health England (PHE)
Budget range
£500,000 to £2.5million (excluding VAT) depending on wider deliverables.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Better Health programme has encouraged millions of adults to reduce their risk of a number of serious diseases by achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Continuing the success of the Better Health initiative to motivate people to make healthier choices, the programme of work will support continuous improvement of the core mobile applications supporting the programme and help deliver a better service to the public.

https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/
Problem to be solved
To provide technical development for the Native app.

To undertake user testing and user research to inform ongoing website updates to meet evolving user needs and maintain this PHE digital service, to the existing standard, in line with the GDS service standard

To provide new content updates in line with legalisation, policies and Home Office and/or other governmental requirements.

Future work may include but not be limited to:
• identifying gaps in content (based on search results);
• designing a user journey for school children;
• increasing organic search by improving tool design;
• exploring and building new features to keep the service at the cutting edge.

We aim to provide free digital products that support users to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The Better Health campaign aims to provide support for users that wish to improve aspects of their lifestyle and reduce their risk of developing health problems.

The users will use the NHS Weight Loss Plan app as a companion on their weight loss journey. They are:

• Adults, with an emphasis on 40+
• Overweight or obese (BMI 25-35)
• More likely to have at least one long term health condition
Early market engagement
None
Any work that’s already been done
PHE Marketing Digital & Data commissioned user research in November 2020 and top-lines were fed back in Jan 2021 to provide some insight into the relevant features that users of the current service would like prioritised. This report will be provided to shortlisted suppliers.
Existing team
PHE staff will lead on content changes in the specific platform and will take on the role of Product Management/Ownership and SEO expertise.

We expect the supplier to provide a full team, including but not limited to UX designer(s), developers, content designers, service team, branding and strategy.

The supplier will also be expected to collaborate with all relevant internal stakeholders and in particular work closely with the PHE appointed Product Owner, Activation, Digital and Data leads, and a network of external stakeholders and third-party suppliers throughout the development cycle.
Current phase
Live

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Due to COVID-19, work will need to be predominantly undertaken remotely. If travel permits, there may be some attendance at workshops or other meetings at PHE offices.
Working arrangements
Work may be carried out remotely. Attendance at PHE offices may be required, within COVID-19 restrictions and after a risk assessment and subject to current guidance and legislation. Should the situation change the successful supplier will be advised accordingly.
Security clearance
Not required

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
  • For Essential and Nice to Have skills/experience stating “recent experience”, please provide the year of the project within your answer. Insert n/a in the corresponding response field for this guidance
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of applying the principles of user centred design to the development of digital solutions in line with GDS Standards.
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of user-centred design, delivery approaches and development of mobile design systems with multiple products across iOS and Android.
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of undertaking user and market research to inform, validate and deliver against user needs on live products, leading to a measurable performance improvement.
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of using agile and iterative principles and methodologies throughout the product lifecycle
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of collaboration in order to achieve successful outcomes for users and the client organisation
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) in developing successful native and hybrid mobile applications, on iOS and Android platforms
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of designing/delivering services that support users with assisted digital needs by making it 'perceivable, operable, understandable and robust' relating to WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of taking over the support, maintenance and development of a native app developed by another supplier.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of working with stakeholders including healthcare experts, healthcare providers, digital development teams, and the general public.
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of working on multiple projects of a similar nature simultaneously
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of using emerging trends in the marketplace that have informed strategic product roadmaps
  • Recent experience (within 3 years) of engagement with hard to reach groups of society and/or users with limited digital skills to improve health outcomes

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed approach to conducting development/continuous improvement phase projects for mobile applications and capability to manage multiple projects at the same time (max score 15)
  • Proposed approach to maintaining high levels of quality assurance throughout the development cycle, including manual and automated testing frameworks (max score 15)
  • Proposed approach to applying the principles of user centred design for the development of digital solutions for mobile applications, including retaining current users and attracting new (max score: 15)
  • Proposed approach to developing and applying mobile design system framework and capability to deliver an accessible service that meets WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards (Max score 10)
  • Proposed approach to taking over an existing digital app project (max score 5)
Cultural fit criteria
  • The shortlisted suppliers will be required to demonstrate cultural fit through a presentation that should summarise their proposal and demonstrate how they propose to:
  • Work within the constraints of public sector organisations including budgets, timescales, technologies and change (max score 3);
  • Work with a range of stakeholders including ones that have little knowledge of agile or user-centred design (max score 3);
  • Work with stakeholders that come from a range of disciplines including science, technology and policy that may have opposing interpretations of project goals (max score 4);
  • Provide details of how this contract may result in employment, training or education that may reduce the disability employment gap (max score 10)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. We have the relevant experience and have developed similar projects with similar budgets, as our turnover is £1M would this disqualify us?
No. This opportunity is open to all suppliers on Lot 1 Digital Outcomes & Specialists 5
2. Is there an incumbent supplier who has supported previous phases?
Yes we have an incumbent supplier in place but we have no way of knowing if they or any other supplier are applying for this opportunity but a handover will take place should this be needed.
3. What languages other than English will the app need to support?
English only
4. Where will the viewable content be stored (eg a Content Management System (CMS), NHS Systems etc) or is it part of the tender to recommend a CMS platform?
CMS already in place
5. Where will the user generated data be stored, will this be local on the app or on a server and if the latter who is responsible for that server (eg answers to quizzes, preferences, login information)
Data stored on the user's device. Some analytics are in place.
6. Will the app have to integrate with any other systems eg for analytics data capture, user authentication, payment, content, NHS systems etc
The app already integrates with BigQuery. PHE is responsible to maintaining the infrastructure.
7. Does the product link out to any health peripherals eg fitbit / apple watch etc? (doesn’t look like it when viewing settings in app)
No
8. Can more info be supplied about the role of third party suppliers, will they affect or influence technical integrations?
Third party supplier will be expected to build upon the existing technical integrations.
9. Will the user journey for School Children be part of https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/ or will it be stand-alone away from the adult orientated content?
At this stage it is stand-alone.
10. Are there any browser compatibility parameters we need to be aware of, eg how far back down the IE stack do we need to support or provide conditional fallbacks for?
Not at this stage
11. Is this engagement to take over the development of an existing app(s) as well as to build new apps?
To take over the development of an existing app: NHS Weight Loss Plan
12. Are the existing app(s) developed fully natively or are cross platform technologies used such as Xamarin, Flutter, ReactNative for example?
Fully native
13. For existing app(s), if they are fully native, can you advise of the programming languages used to develop these for the iOS (Objective C / Swift) and Android platforms (Java / Kotlin)?
Apps are native. iOS is in Swift, Android in Kotlin. The CMS is in Django
14. One of the experience requests is for native and hybrid app experience. An hybrid app is essentially a WebView within the app that will load an external web app. Does this engagement include the development/support of the web app or just to implement and support WebViews in the app?
Just to implement and support WebViews in the app. Focus is on the native app
15. The ‘Summary of the work’ is focused on development and supporting of native apps, but ‘Problem to be solved’ mentions ‘... to inform ongoing website updates to meet evolving user needs …’. Can you clarify and confirm whether the scope is to cover native apps and also separate web apps that may be loaded in WebViews within the native app?
The scope is to cover native apps.
16. Please confirm whether an offshore or blended resourcing approach would be acceptable for this delivery
Yes however, it is expected that any meetings and work will be conducted within normal UK working hours. Additionally, although we are currently remote working, there may be a need for face to face meetings during the lifetime of the contract and expenses would need to be met by the supplier.
17. The ITT references “13 incomplete apps” – please provide the development status of these applications, including architecture, design and level of technical debt.
Please note this is not an ITT, this is the first stage of DOS. Additionally, we cannot see where the advert states "13 incomplete apps". However, additional details and requirements will be detailed in the Request for Proposal to shortlisted suppliers.
18. Were the applications developed in-house or is there an incumbent supplier involved?
See Question 2
19. Is it a requirement that this will be an Agile delivery from the outset of the project or to move to an Agile approach over a period of time?
This is for the supplier to determine based on their approach. However, this is more relevant to shortlisted suppliers at the Request for Proposal stage.
20. Please confirm if all applications in scope are currently in Live status or otherwise
Yes, in Live
21. Is it a requirement to provide applications support for all live applications? If yes, please provide details of historic or anticipated volumetics, including number of users, incidents, problems per annum, including any required service levels
PHE will manage applications support.
22. Please provide details of the functional and non-functional requirements in relation to the in-scope applications
This information will be provided to shortlisted suppliers on the Request for Proposal.
23. We understand we have an existing digital platform, what is the scope for supporting and maintaining it?
PHE will manage applications support as well as the Better Health website. The supplier will be expected for bug fixing and maintenance of the native app.
24. What is the technical stack of the digital platform (frontend, backend, hosting, security, operations)?
The scope is to take over the development of the existing native app: NHS Weight Loss Plan. The Better Health website is not included in this scope of work.
25. How is the knowledge transition of the existing digital platform will be planned?
PHE will arrange a handover to the winning supplier, should it be required.
26. Will there be a due diligence to understand the existing digital platform? (Minimal information on the following)
a. Complexity of the application
b. Incidents
c. Backlog
d. Team composition
PHE will arrange a handover and onboarding to the winning supplier should it be required.
27. What is the scope of support after the go-live of the apps?
PHE will manage applications support as well as the Better Health website. The supplier will be expected for bug fixing and maintenance of the native app.
28. We understand suppliers should provide the full team, including but not limited to UX designer(s), developers, content designers, service team, branding and strategy
a. How many resources are expected for the each of the above roles?
b. What is the preferred experience level for each role?
This will be for the supplier to determine based on the requirements in the Request for Proposal which will be issued to shortlisted suppliers.
29. What is the scope for CI-CD implementation?
What is the frequency of updates expected on apps?
PHE will work with the winning supplier to agree scope and frequency.
30. Is the mobile application required to be built on Native technologies or Hybrid?
a. If Hybrid is preferred, any specific hybrid tool/framework expertise expected from the resource(s)?
Native
31. While we understand that PHE will have a product owner to oversee backlog management, a scrum master is critical for the success of the program in terms of managing the scope and deliverables. Please clarify PHE’s stand on the scrum master role.
Shortlisted suppliers will be required to detail their proposed team. If they feel a scrum master is required then they should state it for PHE to assess.
32. Please clarify the technology skillset required for ‘Service team’, please share the scope of work?
This is not relevant for the DOS advert stage. Shortlisted suppliers will be required to detail their proposed team based on the requirements in the Request for Proposal.
33. Is capped T&M mandated or would other payment approaches be considered?
Capped T&M is the mandated approach
34. Will the work only include the “NHS Weight Loss Plan App”, or will it also cover “Active 10”, “Easy Meals” etc.
Initially it will be the NHS Weight Loss Plan App only.
35. Will user research and user testing be carried our with existing user groups managed by PHE (or 3rd party), or will we be required to source our own users groups?
You will be required to source your own user groups.
36. Is there an exit plan and handover phase agreed with the current app development and support team?
Please see the answer to question 2.
37. Can you please confirm who the supplier was that developed the original app, are they currently continuing to support this while live and are they eligible to bid for this further work?
Wellset Repro Limited T/A Flipside Group - we have no way of knowing if they or any other supplier are applying for this opportunity but a handover will take place should this be needed.
38. The 1st essential question appears to be a statement and not a question. Please can you clarify.
Yes that is correct. This is guidance for suppliers so please read this and insert n/a in the corresponding response field i.e. where ordinarily the answer would be.
39. The following question asks about Native and Hybrid. Do all examples have to be Hybrid, or should we include examples of Native only as well as Native/Hybrid?
We are happy to receive any relevant examples. The app is native.
40. Are there any 3rd party dependencies?
No
41. How big is the current user group for this app?
The app has been downloaded over 1 million times across iOS and Android.
42. What existing brand guidelines/design systems/component libraries are in place or will we have scope to create?
We have existing brand guidelines and a design system.
43. What language support is needed?
English only
44. Will there be a transition period from the incumbent supplier to the new one and are there any constraints/information that can be shared about the format of this period.
Please see the answer to question 2.
45. What does User Centric mean to PHE?
This is not for PHE to answer. The supplier should state what it means to them.
46. Can we add links into the forms we submit for phase 1 so we can share prospective designs etc?
No - only 100 word responses are required at this stage
47. Is there a defined Product Road map for the next 2.5 years at a high level?
We have an immediate roadmap. We want to work with the winning supplier to develop a long term roadmap.
48. This includes the NHS Weight Loss Plan App (?). Presumably the future work that may include designing a user journey for school children would be part of a different/new App aimed at younger people? Are there any other specific apps that are being investigated?
The focus of this work is on the NHS Weight Loss Plan app. Additional work would be explored at a later stage.
49. Can you provide more information regarding ‘improving tool design’?
Based on user feedback, there may be a need to enhance the UX. The app needs to serve the wider population of England.
50. Would this include working with the data analytics of the apps?
There will be some work on data analytics in conjunction with the PHE Data Lead and PHE Product Lead
51. Would the PHE appointed Product Owner be a key decision maker in product development decision making on behalf of PHE?
Yes
52. Does this require any form of hosting of infrastructure (including cloud) from potential suppliers?
No. PHE are responsible for hosting.
53. Is the plan to have User Stories created to capture requirements? Have these been written at an Epic level at all?
The successful supplier will be required to work with the PHE team to shape the next set of features and release plan as one of the first tasks once their contract with us begins. We expect the successful supplier will create user stories for the first set of features we develop once their contract has started. We do not currently have a set of Epics in a backlog.
54. Would you expect potential suppliers to provide Business Analysts as part of this or is this envisaged to be PHE’s responsibility?
Please refer to the Existing Team section of the opportunity as it is for the supplier to determine what team should be provided based on the requirements. Additionally, this is not being asked on the advert therefore will only be relevant to shortlisted suppliers at the Request for Proposal stage.
55. Are there any objections to using ‘Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery’ as part of the software delivery process?
None, if the supplier feels this is the most appropriate method to use.
56. Is a Nearshore Delivery model acceptable?
Yes however, it is expected that any meetings and work will be conducted within normal UK working hours. Additionally, although we are currently remote working, there may be a need for face to face meetings during the lifetime of the contract and expenses would need to be met by the supplier.
57. Will current suppliers be bidding for this piece of work?
We have no way of knowing if they or any other supplier are applying for this opportunity but a handover will take place should this be needed.
58. What is the reason for moving away from the current provider?
The previous DOS contract reached its maximum duration and therefore PHE have gone back out to procure. Please also see the answer to question 2.
59. When would the shortlisted providers be notified and when would the delivery window for the RFP be?
The expected timeline is as follows:

Shortlisting Exercise: 13/05/21 to 20/05/21
RFP sent to shortlisted suppliers: 20/05/21
RFP Question Deadline: 27/05/21
RFP Q & A Sent: 02/06/21 (It is the Intention of PHE to issue this sooner)
RFP Deadline: 03/06/21 12pm
60. What are the existing tech stacks being used for the native apps?
Apps are native. iOS is in Swift, Android in Kotlin. The CMS is in Django
61. Can the existing technologies in place be shared? Are there existing specific tools in place that will need to be supported/utilised?
See question 60 on Tech Stack.
62. What are the core apps that are included in this scope of work?
NHS Weight Loss Plan app only.
63. Will there be any technical development of the website as part of this project or just user testing and user research to inform changes? If there is technical development, what is the existing tech stack for the website?
NHS Weight Loss Plan app only.
64. Please can you detail the list of current digital products that are in scope (e.g. Better Health website, NHS weight loss mobile app), what are the goals for each one of them (e.g. retire native code and transition onto hybrid framework to scale development outputs), and detail whether they’ve been built in-house or by a 3rd party vendor.
NHS Weight Loss Plan app only.
65. Under problems to be solved section you state “To provide technical development for the Native app”, is this building a new app from the ground up, or are you referring to enhancing existing app(s) you offer?
Existing NHS Weight Loss Plan app only.
66. What is the long-term vision for Better Health?
This will be detailed in the Request for Proposal to shortlisted suppliers.
67. What are the objectives of the next phase of work on Better Health?
This will be detailed in the Request for Proposal to shortlisted suppliers.
68. Besides the continuous improvement of the core mobile applications supporting the Better Health programme, is there a strategy around creating a more holistic integration of the applications for users that are looking to meet multiple health objectives? For example: as a user, I would like to start running and eating better. I could use “Couch to 5K” and “Easy meals”. Would I experience these apps as ‘one service’?
There are no specific plans in place for a more holistic integration however we would be open to exploring this and other ideas for future iterations of the app.
69. How many mobile apps are included in this programme of work?
NHS Weight Loss Plan app only. (iOS and Android versions)
70. What are the vision and objectives of the next phase of work on the apps included in this programme of work?
This will be detailed in the Request for Proposal to shortlisted suppliers.
71. How many of the mobile apps in scope of technical development are hybrid as opposed to having native iOS and Android codebases?
NHS Weight Loss Plan app only. (iOS and Android native versions)
72. Which hybrid frameworks/technologies are used for the cross-platform apps?
NHS Weight Loss Plan app only. (iOS and Android versions)
73. Do the apps depend on any APIs or mobile backend services that will also need to be maintained/developed as part of this scope of work?
Not currently.
74. Are there clear timelines to decide the focus and scope of future work? Ie. “identifying gaps in content (based on search results); designing a user journey for school children?”
This is to be determined but will only be relevant for shortlisted suppliers in the Request for Proposal.
75. Are these future projects expected to be scoped and developed by the provider as new workstreams with their own budget? What is the selection criteria to define which future work projects will be developed? And does PHE expect to agree a number of future work projects to be developed by the supplier?
These questions will be addressed in the Request for Proposal which will be issued to shortlisted suppliers.
76. Are there specific maintenance SLAs (e.g. out of hours support, issue resolution times) that PHE are seeking as part of the new partnership?
No
77. Capped time & materials but what do they want us to price?
This is the first stage of DOS and pricing is only relevant for shortlisted suppliers when as part of the Request for Proposal a question on price will be asked.
78. How do you currently manage and publish content to both the website and various mobile apps?
A CMS is used for publishing content to the NHS Weight Loss Plan app (iOS and Android versions). The website is not part of this scope of work.
79. Can you describe the content workflow and sign off process?
There is no strict content workflow currently in place. Sign off will need to happen either by PHE Product Owner or PHE nutritionist.
80. If PHE is leading on content changes, for what purpose would you expect the provider to include a Content Designer in their team?
This is not relevant for the advert as PHE are not asking suppliers to state what roles they will provide. This will become relevant to shortlisted suppliers at the Request for Proposal stage.
81. In the topic of “providing new content updates in line with legalisation, policies and Home Office and/or other governmental requirements.” Would PHE expect the provider to create the content or would PHE provide the content to be designed by the provider?
There would be a mix of both PHE and supplier.
82. If the provider is creating content, what are the governance arrangements for sign off?
This will be discussed with the winning supplier.
83. What forms of data and feedback (e.g. analytics user feedback) are currently being used to refine the app experience and inform new feature development?
Data analytics and user feedback and research both contribute to inform feature development.
84. Is the user data collected by each of the apps stored centrally or separately? If separate, are there any plans to bring the data together?
The focus of this scope of work is the NHS Weight Loss Plan app only. (iOS and Android versions)
85. To what degree is data used to market the proposition and various apps to potential users?
Data is used to some degree but we are keen for new insights and ideas in this space.
86. Is PHE looking to explore a broader target audience for the same apps / services?
Not at this stage but potentially in the future.
87. What was the objective of the user research piece commissioned in November 2020? And what was the target audience?
We are constantly conducting user research to enhance the app functionality and understand the pain points of users so that we can make valuable improvements. See advert for target audience.
88. When recruiting users for research and testing, is there a panel, an agency or a specific recruitment process that the PHE team already has in place that the supplier can use?
The supplier is expected to manage recruitment.
89. About the “recent experience (within 3 years) of working on multiple projects of a similar nature simultaneously” does PHE refer to having the capacity to deliver several projects of the same size simultaneously or does PHE refer to delivering several projects simultaneously on the same topic, and therefore having to manage sensitive information and confidentiality within our teams?
This refers to having the capacity to deliver multiple projects at the same time. The size of the projects may vary.
90. Will PHE provide additional details of the requirements at the next stage of procurement?
Yes. This is the first stage of DOS. The 2nd stage is the Request for Proposal which is only relevant for the shortlisted suppliers. Please refer to the answer to question 59 with the expected timeline.

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