Awarded to The Dextrous Web (trading as dxw)

Start date: Monday 4 October 2021
Value: £567,367
Company size: SME
National Citizens Advice

A partner agency to work with us to build discrete features on our new website content platform

4 Incomplete applications

2 SME, 2 large

15 Completed applications

14 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Published
Monday 12 July 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 19 July 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 26 July 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
Citizens Advice require a multidisciplinary product team with good knowledge of Ruby, accessible web design, progressive enhancement and headless content management architectures to develop specific features as part of a migration to a new content platform within a continuous delivery model.
Latest start date
Monday 30 August 2021
Expected contract length
7 to 10 months depending on scope of work, with an optional extension of 25% (if required).
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
National Citizens Advice
Budget range
Confirmed scope of work
It is estimated that the work can be delivered within the budget range of £250,000 - £350,000.

Optional scope of work
If Citizens Advice requires the implementation of some or all of the additional scope of work, the total estimated price of the work can be delivered within the budget range of £80,000 - £400,000.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Our current content management system is no longer fit for purpose and cannot support our organisational ambitions.

By moving to a new content platform, based on a headless CMS architecture, we create the following opportunities:
• Reach users where they are
• Benefit from a microservice infrastructure
• Structured, modular content that is decoupled from the presentation layer, and can be served through any digital medium (not just a website)
• Provide personalised experiences for public users
• Improved experience and efficiency for content designers

Our vision for the content platform: the freedom to create great services and innovate with ease.

This supports our product strategy, particularly workstream 3: tailored, tactical advice: https://kyliehavelock.medium.com/product-strategy-2021-to-2023-273c110054d6

In order to realise the cost savings from decommissioning the legacy setup, we need this work to be completed by the end of March 2022.
Problem to be solved
Confirmed scope of work

The problem to solve for our in-house multidisciplinary product team is that we need to quickly rebuild all features onto our headless CMS and new content platform but don't have enough internal capacity to do it all by March 2022.
Examples of discrete problems to solve for our website users:
1. members of the public can find out information about the location of their local Citizens Advice, the services they offer and how to get in touch with them.
2. members of the public can find out about us and the work we do, support us by volunteering and fundraising, and are able to contact us.

Optional scope of work
During the implementation of the contract, Citizens Advice may decide to implement the following additional services in parallel:

Referrals: provide a more seamless client journey, by enabling referral of clients to/from partner organisations to continue their advice journey

Video advice discovery: exploring how Citizens Advice advisers might deliver advice remotely using video as part of a seamless customer journey

Digital debt advice: support clients in debt through an online journey, helping them to understand their household budget and to create a plan for repaying creditors.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Confirmed scope of work

As a member of the public looking for advice near my location
I need to be able to search for my local Citizens Advice so that I know where to go get face to face help with my problem

As a member of the public, stakeholder or client of Citizens Advice
I need to know how to contact Citizens Advice so that I can get help with my problem

As the Citizens Advice advocacy, business development and governance functions I need stakeholders to be able to access our reports, press releases etc. so our stakeholders understand our advocacy priorities and our statutory/regulatory obligations are met

Optional scope of work

Referrals: as a client being referred to/from Citizens Advice I need my information to travel with me so that I don’t need to repeat myself.

Video advice discovery: as a client attending an appointment with an adviser, I need a way to communicate remotely so that I don’t need to travel to a physical location.

Digital debt advice: as someone who is in debt, I need a clear picture of my financial situation so that I can negotiate a reasonable repayment plan with my creditors.
Early market engagement
Early market engagement has been conducted with a number of suppliers. The suppliers were contacted by Citizens Advice to help us understand and better articulate our requirements.
Any work that’s already been done
We have a large in-house multidisciplinary product team working on the new content platform, which is in public beta, and part way through the overall migration to the new content platform.

So far we have shipped the Immigration section of our public website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration/ with a focus on making our advice content universally accessible on mobile.
Existing team
The in-house product team consists of a Product Lead, Senior Product Manager, Product Manager, Senior Delivery Manager, Delivery Manager, Senior Content Designer, Content Entry Assistant, User Researcher, Product Designer, Senior Product Designer, Tech Lead, Lead Ruby Developer, 2 x Ruby Developers, Senior Frontend Developer, Frontend Developer, 1.5 x Test Automation Engineer, DevOps Engineer, Business Analyst, and Web Analyst.
Current phase
Beta

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
No specific location - flexible within England and Wales.
Working arrangements
The supplier staff will work remotely, alongside our existing in-house product team who are also primarily remote. We expect the team to be available during core working hours 10am - 4pm in order to maximise shared working time and integrate with the in-house team.
No travel and subsistence costs are required or included.
The primary digital tools supplier staff will use are: Google Meet video, Slack, Trello, Github, Docker, Jenkins.
Security clearance
None required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Non disclosure agreement

Citizens Advice's supplier code of conduct

Optional additional scope of work, to be decided at our discretion.

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
  • At least 3 years expertise in iteratively prototyping, designing and building public-facing digital products that meet user needs and follow industry best-practice for product development. Please give examples.
  • Evidence of a strong background in collaborative working with a client's ‘in-house’ teams, including coaching and mentoring, and knowledge sharing. Please give examples.
  • At least 3 years experience in accessible web design, following WCAG2.1 guidelines and with a good understanding of wider accessibility principles. Please give examples.
  • At least 3 years experience delivering digital products using agile principles: minimising upfront investment/risk, working toward MVPs, and adapting the plan based on real-world observations. Please give examples.
  • At least 3 years experience in architecting, transforming and maintaining applications deployed in multiple public cloud platforms including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Please give examples.
  • Experience of working in collaboration with a team doing continuous delivery (continuous integration and continuous deployment). Please give examples.
  • Experience building web applications that work with JavaScript disabled in the last 6 months. Please give examples.
  • Experience building an application using Ruby-on-Rails or a similar convention-over-configuration MVC framework in the last 6 months. Please give examples.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Experience working with Contentful. Please give examples.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence of working with users to understand their work, their operating context and constraints and identifying and implementing improvements.
  • Clarity of the proposed approach
  • Ability to meet the requirements
  • Describe how you identify risks and dependencies and outline your proposed approach to working alongside a large, existing product team who are shipping at pace.
  • Describe the team structure you would propose.
  • Demonstrate value for money of the confirmed scope of work and of the additional scope of work.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be passionate about innovation and the potential to use technology to help people
  • Care deeply about equity, diversity and inclusion, and work actively to embed this into digital products
  • Understand the need for products to be sustainable: continually developing and iterating to keep the technology modern and relevant, and avoiding the accrual of technical debt
  • Be collaborative and open
  • Share knowledge and be keen to learn from others
  • Diversity of team: The supplier will provide a team which broadly reflects local societal demographics and is diverse in its views and inclusive in its approach and culture.
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Regarding your criterion in "Essential skills and experience"; "Experience of working in collaboration with a team doing continuous delivery (continuous integration and continuous deployment)."
Can you please explain what you mean by working in collaboration with a team? Is this with in-house teams or multi-supplier teams?
It means collaborating with in-house software development teams, who work in an agile way and operate continuous deployment.
2. Who / what roles will be on the evaluation panel?
The evaluation panel will be composed of product management, delivery management, technical lead, and commercial partner.
3. Can you share who are the key decision-makers for partner selection and ultimately responsible for the project’s success?
Product Lead, Technical Lead & Senior Delivery Manager
4. You mention early market engagement has been conducted. What additional audience research or materials will be available to the selected partner at the start of the engagement?
We can share all the relevant research and materials we have created so far on this work with the selected partner. E.g. access to our Confluence and relevant documents.
5. What is the deployment environment and is there a VPN required?
It is a custom AWS/CloudFormation/EKS setup, partially automated. No VPNs at the moment but some things require AWS IAM switching and/or your IP address to be regularly authorized to an AWS security group.
6. Can you provide details about the AWS and Azure environment set up/configuration?
We don’t currently use Azure for anything on this product.

AWS is configured using infrastructure-as-code (based on and wrapping CloudFormation) and is a combination of EKS (Kubernetes) and various AWS managed services such as Elasticache.

Security is managed by IAM role switching and authorizing IP addresses to security groups, rather than VPNs.

We have an in-house dev infrastructure team that maintains this system and its documentation, and self-led training will be available.
7. Are there compliance and security regulations that are in place that would be part of a security audit?
Compliance and security are covered within our data protection impact assessment. We would work with the selected partner to ensure the commissioned work was included within the same assessment.
8. Are there third-party integrations that will need to be in place?
Yes, depending on the design there could be many more but at the very least we use Google Analytics and Mouseflow, and index our content with Swiftype. The advice content uses Contentful for a backend, although this isn’t necessarily a requirement.
9. Are there minimum browser specifications?
Across both desktop and mobile:
Chrome last two versions
Firefox last two versions
Edge last two versions
IE 11 versions
Safari last two versions
Samsung Browser last two versions
10. Is the existing team organized in sprint teams focused on specific tasks?
The existing team follows a Kanban agile methodology, working together as a single multi-disciplinary team. We focus on developing whole features in alignment with our major delivery milestones. We follow a Behaviour-Driven Development process, and we do not work in sprints.
11. What is the ideal set of roles your selected partner should provide? For example, should the partner team include a product manager, business analyst, UX designer, etc.?
We will agree on a standard multidisciplinary team based on the agreed deliverables. We expect roles like delivery manager, designer, business analyst, user researcher, developers to be part of any team.
12. Should the partner bring QA resources or will QA be performed by the existing team/process?
Our product team includes 2 QA/ test automation engineers. However, the partner providing QA resources to work in tandem may be preferable.
13. Will the partner be expected to perform user testing, or will testing be performed by the existing team/process?
We have in-house user research capacity but may want our partner agency to include this depending on the agreed deliverables.
14. Diversity of team: The supplier will provide a team which broadly reflects local societal demographics and is diverse in its views and inclusive in its approach and culture.”: Does this indicate the proposed team staffed to the partnership should also be based generally out of England and Wales although work can be performed remotely?
We would like any team we work with to be representative of the clients we serve. Otherwise, we risk designing and delivering products that aren’t inclusive for underrepresented users and are less innovative. It doesn't matter whether or not the staff is based in England and Wales.
15. Will the majority of the data need to be migrated or loaded into the new content management system manually?
We will work with our partner to decide the best solution for moving data to the new content management system. For the advice content we've already migrated, we've run migration scripts, but other/manual solutions might be appropriate for other parts of the website.
16. Diversity of team: The supplier will provide a team which broadly reflects local societal demographics and is diverse in its views and inclusive in its approach and culture.”: Does this indicate the proposed team staffed to the partnership should also be based generally out of England and Wales although work can be performed remotely?
Please disregard the answer to question 14 which incorrectly stated that it doesn't matter whether staff are based in England and Wales. We would like any team we work with to be representative of our clients. Otherwise, we risk designing and delivering products which aren’t inclusive for underrepresented users and are less innovative. To clarify the criterion, the supplier should provide a team which is inclusive in its approach and culture having regard to the local societal demographics and views. The characteristics and views of the team members do not matter but they must be based in England and Wales.