Awarded to CDS

Start date: Monday 13 September 2021
Value: £232,668.90
Company size: SME
NHS England

FutureNHS Discovery/Alpha for platform integration, trend analysis and improved search

12 Incomplete applications

10 SME, 2 large

13 Completed applications

9 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Thursday 1 July 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 8 July 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 15 July 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
NHS England are looking for an experienced discovery and alpha team to help them fully understand and prototype potential solutions to enhance the FutureNHS platform in terms of integration, trend analysis and search.
Latest start date
Monday 6 September 2021
Expected contract length
16 weeks
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
NHS England
Budget range
£250,000 (exc VAT)

About the work

Why the work is being done
The FutureNHS platform is a key service in supporting the health and care community achieve a “revitalised culture of support and collaboration” to support the delivery of the long-term plan.

As the platform continues to grow we are looking to enhance the product capability in terms of its ability to integrate with other products, provide analysis on platform trends and enhance its search functionality.
Problem to be solved
We are looking to explore three problems:
- How can we integrate with other products to allow them to use our community features?
- Can we analyse the content being added to the platform better to identify trends of activity to help drive decision making?
- How can we make it easier for users to discover content on the platform that they are looking for?

We are looking for a team to help us further understand the problems our users are looking to overcome and any constraints, risks and opportunities we may face. Following this we are looking to prototype and test potential solutions to decide whether to take them forward.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users of the platform include staff across the health and social care community in England engaged in a wide range of transformation projects. The users working on these projects can vary in terms of seniority and experience, as well as the type of organisations to which they belong.

They need to be able to connect, collaborate and share with other users across organisational boundaries and silos.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Research has been carried out on who the platform users are, why they use the platform and the roles they play on the platform.

We have had initial contact with products who are looking to integrate and a high-level understanding of what this may look like.
Existing team
The FutureNHS service is currently run by the Strategy & Development team within the Office of Chief Data & Analytics.

The team currently employs a product manager, user researcher/designer and associate product manager directly involved in product development. Aside from this we operate a platform helpdesk and communications and account management team.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote. The existing team has offices in London and Leeds.
Working arrangements
We expect the supplier will conduct most of the work remotely and will be able to provide the facilities for remote working with the existing team. There may be a requirement for travel to London or Leeds for occasional meetings or workshops if required.

We are looking to work according to the Agile principles as documented in the Government & NHS Digital service manuals. We will expect the chosen supplier to perform and provide evidence of such practices in operation.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1. All outputs will be owned by NHS England & NHS Improvement and published openly where appropriate using a suitable open license that supports reuse (e.g. MIT and OGL).

2. All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of NHS England & NHS Improvement.

3. GDPR requirements will be discussed and agreed once the successful supplier has been notified (as part of discussions to agree the wording of the call-off 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
  • Have experience of designing and building collaboration services for use by multiple organisations
  • Have experience of designing services compliant with the NHS Service Standard, including using the NHS Service Design Manual, Technology Code of Practice, GOV.UK service manual and undertaking service assessments.
  • Demonstrate experience of designing advanced search solutions.
  • Demonstrate experience of developing APIs and building integrations between products for different organisations.
  • Demonstrate building analytical tools to monitor application trends.
  • Have experience of working with Umbraco, .NET and Azure.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Demonstrate experience of working with MVCForum data model.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Your proposed team and their roles
  • Your approach and methodology
  • How your approach will help us meet our needs
  • Your proposed timeframes for the work
  • Your approach to risks and their mitigations
  • A case study of having undertaken a discovery/alpha project
  • Costs
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Share your work frequently, openly, honestly and constructively challenging preconceptions
  • Challenge the status quo
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you clarify what you mean by ‘application trends’? Are you referring to user analytics? Network analytics? Infrastructure performance? Etc?
We are referring to user analytics
2. Will this be subject to an Alpha service assessment? If so, who will conduct the service assessment?
This work will only require an Alpha service assessment if it radically alters the user journey and/or significantly changes the tech stack. At this stage we would expect the supplier to support the team through the service assessment.
3. Can you please expand on this detail: ‘Research has been carried out on who the platform users are, why they use the platform and the roles they play on the platform.’? Specifically: What research activities? How recently? Who conducted this research?
Various user research with our service users and the wider health and care system has been carried out regularly since its inception in 2017. Over the last two years we have worked with multiple suppliers on further research and have recently recruited a user researcher to the team who will help oversee the project.

We are happy to share research with suppliers in advance of any proposals that are submitted.
4. Are there any third-party supplier already involved in the Discovery work?
5. What are the timelines for the procurement?
We are looking to agree a contract with the selected supplier in advance of a project start date, no later than Monday 6 September 2021
6. Please qualify what you mean by ‘advanced search solutions’ in this context?
Search solutions that use sematic search and artificial Intelligence enhance the search experience for users
7. Can we clarify that no early market engagement has been done with external suppliers?
Early market engagement has been carried out
8. Are you looking for a discovery partner to work with your current Azure hosting environment or to architect a new one?
This would depend on what was being proposed. As part of the work we would need to understand the impacts either way.
9. The Skills & Experience and experience listed appear to be weighted toward a search based solution, is that a finding/output from your early market engagement?
10. You ask about having delivered services to the NHS Service Standard. Would evidence of delivering against other government service standards be an acceptable response, e.g. the GDS GOV.UK Service Standards?
Yes, although experience of the NHS Service Standard would be an advantage
11. Do you have Google Analytics switched on for the NHSFutures site? If so, how long has it been recording usage?
Yes, we have been recording Google Analytics data on our Kahootz platform since 2017
12. Would you entertain a solution based on an alternative platform to Kahootz, e.g. Office365 or the NHS product N365?
All prototypes developed during the Alpha phase of this project and in line with the NHS Service Standards will be considered. This project is related to a new FutureNHS platform already in development, not Kahootz.
13. In order to best analyse the use of content in the current platform, does Kahootz offer sufficiently granular analytics that we could access?
Unable to answer questions as do not understand the level of granularity required. This project is related to a new FutureNHS platform already in development, not Kahootz.