Awarded to People for Research

Start date: Monday 23 August 2021
Value: £200,000
Company size: SME
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP UC User Research Recruitment Services

7 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 0 large

5 Completed applications

5 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Thursday 13 May 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 20 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 27 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Department for Work and Pensions Digital requires participant recruitment for regular user research activities. We are looking for suppliers who can recruit participants who reflect the diverse make-up of people who use DWP services and manage a user research panel for Universal Credit specifically.
Research dates
July 2021 to July 2023
Organisation the work is for
Department for Work and Pensions
Budget range
At stage two of the procurement, those whom are successful will be asked to price based upon the Department requirements shared. For this reason, we don't wish to share budget but want bidders to provide their best price based on the requirements. Price is assessed at the RfP stage (stage 2) of the procurement.

About the work

Early market engagement

About the research

Description of your participants
The recruitment brief will vary by project but may include the need for participants:
-- In receipt of a DWP benefit or tax credits, for example Universal Credit or NS Job Seekers Allowance
-- Usage of assistive technologies to access digital services
-- Requirements for non-digital support to access digital services
-- Digital usage or experience
-- Cognitive and/or learning disabilities
-- Mental health conditions
-- Motor skills impairments
-- Visual impairments
-- Auditory disabilities
-- Household income levels
-- A mix of gender, age and educational attainment

Users of our services may include vulnerable users so should be recruited ethically and sensitively. Participants should have a good understanding of the service they are being recruited to test, what it entails, how their data is handled, and possible requirements around non-disclosure, this information will be provided by each project.

For the user research panel, we would like the vendor to maintain a list of participants referred directly from DWP. These may be users of DWP services who volunteer to take part in research but are not aware of the vendor directly. We require the vendor to maintain this panel list on our behalf.
Assisted digital and accessibility requirements
Participants with assisted digital or access needs will need to be included in the research as described by the project brief. We expect any vendor we engage for this Contract to actively work with national and local charities to find such hard to reach or more vulnerable users, even going so far as to ensure charities are incentivized to give their time/effort contribution to recruiting.
Research plan
Research plans will vary by project and will include either usability testing or depth interviews.
Research location
Most of the research activities will be remote - over phone, Microsoft Teams, or similar. We will seek participants from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In-person meetings may also be required. In addition, we may need to recruit participants for research at their home or in neutral location like a community centre. Research at a research lab is also possible and would be in London, Leeds, or Manchester where we have DWP hubs and offices. Ideally researchers would have a single point of contact to organise research sessions. The agency may be responsible for venue when stated in brief.
Access restrictions at location
There should be no access restrictions at the research location.
Number of research rounds
This is a Call-Off Contract. There will not be a set number of rounds.
Number of participants a round
Minimum of 5 participants per round. Each brief will specify the number required. It is the responsibility of the agency to cater for any last minute drop outs, so that the required number of participants are provided. In the event that replacements cannot be found, DWP will only pay for participants who attend the sessions. There may occasionally be a need to engage with individual participants outside of a full round of research (for example, to speak with hard to reach individuals who are not able to participate in a scheduled day of lab-based interviews).
How often research will happen
Continuous, monthly research across many researchers so it may be that you are asked to work with multiple researchers conducting recruits simultaneously. We will provide the usual two weeks notice ahead of research needs. The request for participants may not be at regular intervals. There might be a pause in requests, followed by several simultaneous requests, depending on project timelines. The agency must be able to cater for this - possibly up to 5 requests at one time.
Evening or weekend research

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Standard contract.

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
  • Experience recruiting participants with low digital literacy or confidence using non-digitial methods.
  • Experience recruiting participants with specific accessibility needs or requirements.
  • Experience recruiting people with a range of socioeconomic status, educational attainment and household make up.
  • Experience of recruiting people for research ethically and sensitively.
  • Able to work to short deadlines, and to source participants for several briefs at the same time.
  • Experience recruiting participants who are in receipt of DWP benefits or tax credits.
  • Be able to create/maintain research panel database on behalf of DWP to include participants referred or redirected from DWP services to participate in research via formal opt-in.
  • Be able to manage the data capture, storage and transfer back to DWP or a new vendor who would take on the user research panel.
  • Be able to handle all participant communications around recruitment including sending DWP consent forms (provided during each project recruit).
  • Be able to provide monthly reporting to see overall projects and usage against budgets and clear project labelling for any email communications so research team can differentiate between project recruitments.
  • Be able to work with charities and external organisations to find the very hard to reach, vulnerable, or those with access needs
  • CyberEssentialsPlus certification or is ISO27001 certified or will have gained either within 6 months of contract start date. Scope must cover the entirety of services (people/process/technology) offered under the contract.
  • Demonstrate experience of data sharing and data transfer complying with GDPR and data security policies.
  • Experience recruiting participants in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for face-to-face and remote research.
  • Demonstrate ability to cover 'no shows'. Please supply average 'no show' rate.
  • Demonstrate ability to identify, contact, schedule and fully coordinate attendance of participants, including the provision of a suitable venue and incentives.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Be able to provide 24 hour contact / support.
  • Established links and relationships with health/disability charities.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Your proposed approach and methodology to meet the Department's requirements.
  • Describe how the end-to-end solution will meet requirements around privacy and information/cyber security aligning with good practice such as that specified within ISO27001/Cyber Essentials Plus and relevant legislation.
  • Breakdown of recruitment costs and incentives.
  • How you identify risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them.
  • Estimated timeframes for the work.
  • Ability to maintain delivery focus and accountability.
Additional assessment methods
Case study
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence






Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you clarify the requirement to create/maintain a panel database on behalf of DWP? Will this database consist of participants purely from referrals/redirect from DWP services or are you expecting the recruitment agency to add, via their own recruitment activities, to the DWP database/panel?
This database will consist of participants purely from referrals/redirect from DWP services. No, we do not expect the recruitment agency to add to this panel from their recruitment activities.
2. Do you require participants recruited by the recruitment agency that are not from the DWP panel, but for DWP projects, to be added to the DWP database?
No, we do not require the recruitment agency to add participants to this panel. The panel will consist of participants solely redirected or referred from our efforts. The value-add of having a recruitment agency manage this panel for the DWP is that the agency would still screen, vet, schedule, and organise incentives for these participants who are refered by DWP, as we believe this is more efficient. We look forward to proposals detailing how vendors might approach and price this aspect of the solution and service.