Awarded to Nomensa Ltd

Start date: Monday 2 August 2021
Value: £1,250,000
Company size: SME
NHS Test & Trace

NHS Test and Trace User Research Capability

15 Incomplete applications

10 SME, 5 large

9 Completed applications

6 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 16 June 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 23 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 30 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
NHS Test and Trace are looking for User Research capability to work alongside in-house teams/suppliers. Working with blended teams to deliver outcomes based on data and user needs. The contract will support capability gaps within the scope of User Experience and Design capability in DOS until end FY 21/22.
Latest start date
Monday 2 August 2021
Expected contract length
7 Months
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
NHS Test & Trace
Budget range
Substantial activity is in our pipeline until end of FY 2021/22, the indicative budget against the requirements for this capability being £1.25m (excluding VAT). Scope could expand or contract. Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments, NHS Test and Trace governance. NHS T&T reserve the right to use any of the DOS pricing methodologies in any Statement of Work (fixed price, capped T&M, or T&M). Each Statement of Work will outline the work and budget, suppliers will need to provide costs to enable tracking. NHS T&T doesn’t commit to minimum or maximum spend at this point.

About the work

Why the work is being done
We are looking for User Research capability, to work at pace alongside our in-house teams and other suppliers, to deliver outcomes that meet user needs and government service standards. The contract will support capability gaps across the Customer Experience division – specifically those capabilities within the scope of the User Experience and Design capability in DOS (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/digital-outcomes-and-specialists-digital-outcomes-capabilities#user-experience-and-design ) – until the end of FY 21/22.
Problem to be solved
To deliver our business plan, we need support to create new, and improve existing, NHS Test and Trace transactions, products and services. Current services cut across a range of online and offline channels, often with complex supply chains and logistics, which are delivered by in-house teams, partners and suppliers working closely in partnership.

We are looking for a supplier to provide capability to support the user centred design of communication, content, information architecture, interactions, products, policy, operation and services. This contract will fill user research capability gaps within existing and new teams, supporting a range of projects from inception through to live and continuous improvement. This will be through the delivery of outcomes based on user needs and in line with government service standards.

Statements of Work will specify outcomes and problems to be solved.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Everyone has a role to play in breaking the chains of COVID-19 transmission, protecting the public’s health and enabling people to return towards a more normal way of life. Within Test and Trace, our high-level users and needs include:

- The general public – who need to behave in a way that can keep themselves, their families and their communities safe

- Users of Test and Trace services – who need easy and convenient access to services, who need to find out as early as possible if they have exposed/been exposed to the virus so they can self-isolate to stop further transmission

- Those providing testing and tracing services, guidance and support at local, regional and national levels – who need to be empowered and enabled to deliver excellent service to the public

- Those designing policy and service – who need fast access to data and insight, and short feedback loops, so they can target and tailor to increase effectiveness and responsiveness of design.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
You will work with existing teams and people in NHS Test and Trace, Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and NHS Digital from a range of Digital, Data and Technology professions as well as colleagues from policy, finance, commercial and legal. You will work most closely with our user research professions and our user-centred design specialisms, as well as product management, delivery management, and those in service operations.

The successful supplier will be expected to collaborate or work with other suppliers who are providing capabilities as part of a team.
Current phase
Live

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
For the duration of restrictions on movement due to COVID-19, all teams are expected to work and collaborate remotely.
Working arrangements
A Statement of Work will be completed, which will identify expected working arrangements, and outline the outcomes and deliverables expected for each engagement. Expenses will not form part of the cost unless the Statement of Work specifies non-remote working (e.g. for user research activity).
Security clearance
NHS Test and Trace requires all supplier staff to have baseline personnel security standard clearance (BPSS). There may be a requirement for some of the work to require security clearance checks, where this is needed it will be detailed in the Statement of Work.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with NHS Test and Trace Travel and Subsistence Policy. For each Statement of Work issued under this contract, the supplier is obligated to undertake the relevant security and criminal checks as determined by NHS Test and Trace, with the Buyer having sole discretion over the acceptance of Supplier Staff who will be performing the activities in the Statement of Work.

Suppliers must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018; the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, the Law Enforcement Directive and any subsequent amendments/changes to date.

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
  • Evidence of running inclusive research practices (including users with access/low digital skills/language barriers/severe deprivation/ethnic minorities), helping teams design and deliver accessible services.
  • Demonstrable experience of using a variety of qualitative (focus groups, ethnography, in-depth interviews), quantitative and mixed-methods research approaches, remotely and in-person, evidence of guiding teams to applying them appropriately.
  • Provide evidence of conducting user research both digital / non-digital at all stages of the lifecycle from inception to live
  • Provide demonstrable evidence of working within a fast paced, agile, multi-disciplinary environment where multiple stakeholders and delivery teams are involved within the research.
  • Provide evidence of analysing user research findings and effectively communicating actionable insights.
  • Provide evidence of upskilling and mentoring internal user research capability.
  • Experience of recruiting and conducting research with those that can't speak English.
  • Experience of conducting research with users who use specialist access tools
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide evidence of being able to recruit from and conduct research with those disproportionally affected in specific areas with high rates of Covid-19 (where possible face-to-face research).
  • Experience of recruiting and conducting research with participants that have the following multiple characteristics: Bottom 30% IMD, in high risk occupations, and from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian and Black backgrounds.
  • Experience of helping and training teams adopt and master a wide range of user research methods and analysis and synthesis techniques.
  • Experience of training other researchers on how to conduct research with access needs.
  • Experience of recruiting and conducting research with cognitively diverse users.
  • Experience of helping inexperienced delivery teams adopt user-centred practices and embed them into their agile workflow.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Experience of inclusive participatory research and design, and user research as part of the design of services for under-represented groups.
  • Experience of conducting user research through the service lifecycle of Discovery/Alpha/Beta/Live.
  • Evidence of ways of working that are compatible with the Government Service Standard.
  • Evidence of conducting user research that ensures a service can pass a government standard accessibility audit to support design of equitable, inclusive, accessible services beyond standard (e.g. design for neurodivergence).
  • Evidence of working with users to understand their work, their operating context and constraints and identifying and implementing improvements
  • Evidence of the successful application of lean, hypothesis-driven user-centred research and design in a fast-paced environment, with conditions of high uncertainty and flux
  • Examples of effective communication across organisational, technical and political boundaries, understanding the context
  • Evidence of ability to make informed decisions based on user needs, available technology and value for money
  • Evidence of user research for offline, in-person, non-digital services.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Evidence of dissecting and delivering complex and technical (or clinical) information and making language simple and accessible for non-technical audiences.
  • Evidence of supporting a strong User Experience, Research and Design based culture of service and continuous improvement.
  • Experience of working with multi-vendor teams and understanding of how to be part of a multidisciplinary, agile service team.
  • Experience of collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders with the aim to achieve a single objective.
  • Experience of transferring knowledge to permanent staff within a client organisation.
  • Evidence of integrating into a partner organisation's existing ways of working ensuring a healthy working culture.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this opportunity inside or outside IR35?
Off-payroll (IR35) determination. Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
2. What primary location(s) do you expect the work will place at once any restrictions on movement due to COVID-19 have ended?
We are not expecting teams to return to offices full time for the duration of the contract. All teams are expected to work and collaborate remotely.
3. Demonstrable experience of using a variety of qualitative (focus groups, ethnography, in-depth interviews), quantitative and mixed-methods research approaches, remotely and in-person, evidence of guiding teams to applying them appropriately.”

Please can you clarify if “applying them appropriately” refers to either the research method recommendations or the research outcomes.
By this, we mean that the individual User Researchers should be comfortable in recommending the appropriate research methods to apply to projects.
4. For: Provide evidence of being able to recruit from and conduct research with those disproportionally affected in specific areas with high rates of Covid-19 (where possible face-to-face research).
Does this mean geographic areas or demographic, ethnographic areas?
This means the socio-economic and demographic of geographic areas in England.
5. Concerning: “Experience of recruiting and conducting research with participants that have the following multiple characteristics: Bottom 30% IMD, in high risk occupations, and from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian and Black backgrounds.”

Please can you clarify what you mean by “IMD” and also “high risk occupations”. On the latter, can you provide a list? (i.e., frontline workers, etc.)
IMD means Index of Multiple Deprivation. A set of relative measures of deprivation across England, based on seven different domains/facets of deprivation:
1. Income Deprivation
2. Employment Deprivation
3. Education, Skills and Training Deprivation
4. Health Deprivation and Disability
5. Crime
6. Barriers to Housing and Services
7. Living Environment Deprivation

For a list of high risk workers, please refer to the ONS classification of occupations with highest potential exposure to covid-19.
https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/whichoccupationshavethehighestpotentialexposuretothecoronaviruscovid19/2020-05-11
6. Concerning: “Provide evidence of being able to recruit from and conduct research with those disproportionally affected in specific areas with high rates of Covid-19 (where possible face-to-face research).”

Please can you clarify what you mean by “disproportionately affected in specific areas”? Do you have a list or specific characteristics here?
We call this the under represented groups(URGs) comprising of: migrant workers, black and faith communities, faith groups, women refuge, sex workers, homeless, Gypsy Roma travellers, drug and alcohol abusers among other characteristics like the IMD index of socio-economic backgrounds.
7. In the essential requirements you mention ‘experience of conducting research with users who use specialist access tools’.

Can you confirm what you mean by ‘specialist tools’?
Some users with accessibility needs use specialist tools to access digital resources. E.g. screen readers, magnifiers, voice command, brail, audio and video transcription tools, etc.
8. You ask for ‘evidence of being able to recruit from and conduct research with those disproportionally affected in specific areas with high rates of Covid-19 (where possible face-to-face research)’.

Will this requirement involve participant recruitment as well as conducting user research?
This will be conducting user research only. We have existing participant recruitment suppliers on board who will help with this.
9. Have the inclusive research practices mentioned been defined, or will part of the engagement be to define inclusive research practices?
We have dedicated teams for Accessibility, Equality & Inclusion and URGs. The practice is being defined and maturing across the organisation and we will expect agencies to follow and enrich that practice.
10. How important is it to demonstrate experience of research practices that include people with learning difficulties?
People with learning difficulties are part of our accessibility target groups that also include: blind and a partially sighted, cognitive diversity, lower literacy, digital exclusion, death or hard at hearing, mobility/frailty and non-English speakers. It is therefore very important to demonstrate research experience with any or multiple of these groups and the capability (through the vendor or via an agency) to research with any of them should there be a need.
11. What research tools do you currently use?
Teams, Zoom, Dovetail, Confluence, Optimal sort, Smartsurvey and Miro.
12. Will the vendor be primarily responsible for recruitment or work in collaboration with NHS Test and Trace teams?
We do not expect the vendor to recruit as we have existing participant recruitment suppliers in place.
13. Is this list qualitative methods (focus groups, ethnography, in-depth interviews) exhaustive or are you looking for applicants to evidence additional user research methods too?
The list is not exhaustive. We do look for applicants to evidence other additional methods.
14. To clarify; when you say “Provide evidence of conducting user research both digital / non-digital at all stages of the lifecycle from inception to live” are you referring to digital and non digital services or digital and non digital research methods?
The key words here are: digital, non-digital, all stages and lifecycle. So we expect evidence of research with digital (e.g. an online journey, an app) non-digital (e.g. delivery, collection or physical product testing, etc.) and all stages of a project (e.g. discovery, concept, validation/testing, live product performance analysis, monitoring, etc.).
15. Is the expectation that researchers will recruit and conduct research in english catering to non-english speakers or that the team will be multi-lingual?
Where different languages are required for research, we do not expect researchers to be multi-lingual. However, we expect the researchers to work alongside translators / language specialists to conduct research with non-English speaking groups.
16. Are you looking to augment existing teams with supplier resources, or for supplier/s to be given effectively self-contained problems to work on?
Both. Suppliers will be asked to augment existing teams as well as work on effectively self-contained problems.
17. "Within the question below, please can you clarify what you mean by “evidence of guiding teams to applying them appropriately”

“Demonstrable experience of using a variety of qualitative (focus groups, ethnography, in-depth interviews), quantitative and mixed-methods research approaches, remotely and in-person, evidence of guiding teams to applying them appropriately.”"
We expect vendors to work with existing multi-disciplinary teams including other researchers. We therefore expect the researchers to be able to ensure quality, due diligence and competency in applying a research method. Where team members are not familiar or expert in a chosen method, they should be willing to seek guidance on the correct application of the method.
18. When do you envisage that shortlisted suppliers will be notified and proposals and pitches required?
"Dates for presentations 14th - 21st July (inclusive)
Award notification of successful applicant 28th July"