Start date: Monday 25 October 2021
Value: £520,000
Company size: SME
Food Standards Agency

Discovery and delivery of digital and data services related to online food sale and online platforms

5 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 0 large

25 Completed applications

16 SME, 9 large

Important dates

Monday 23 August 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 30 August 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 6 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
FSA requires a team to understand how FSA services work for online platforms to make sure platforms are enabled to encourage safe food behaviours in their partner businesses. The team will discover which services platform businesses are using, assess user needs, identify challenges and opportunities and design and test solutions.
Latest start date
Tuesday 12 October 2021
Expected contract length
6 months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Food Standards Agency
Budget range
It is estimated that the work can be delivered within the budget range of £500,000 to £600,000

About the work

Why the work is being done
The FSA has been working to better understand the impact of online platforms, also known as aggregators and marketplaces, in the food landscape. It has developed working relationships with a number of these platforms, collaborating to ensure that consumers can buy safe, authentic food online as well as offline.

The FSA provides a number of digital services to support consumers, businesses and local authorities in the safe and authentic sale of food. This work seeks to understand how these services work for platforms as a newer user group, to make sure they enable the platforms to encourage and enable safe food behaviours in their partner businesses. It will identify challenges and opportunities for improvement, and may play a role in the potential introduction of guidance for platforms operating in the food space.
Problem to be solved
Ensure that digital and data services provided by the FSA fulfill the needs of platform businesses to enable safe, authentic food sales.
The project aims to:

Discover which services - provided by the FSA and/or other bodies - platform businesses are using to support safe and authentic food sales.
Assess the extent to which these services are fulfilling the needs of this user group, looking particularly at: Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) API to ensure it can be widely used to provide information to consumers, and FHRS digital badges for use by food businesses
Identify gaps, duplication and/or conflict in these services.
Prioritise the challenges and opportunities with industry and the FSA to determine a plan for improvements
From the outcomes of the assessment, design and test solutions.
Within the scope of this project the FSA expects to have progressed one or two of identified high priority improvements for use by platforms, in order to improve confidence that the services are in place for them to enable safe, authentic food sales.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a consumer I need to be confident that the food I buy through online platforms is safe and authentic, and I know how to complain about unsafe food, so that I can keep my family safe.

As a consumer I need to be able to find a businesses food hygiene rating on online platforms so that I can be confident the business is safe.

As a new online business I need to know how to put safe food behaviours in place so that I meet the food regulations

As a platform business I need to ensure safe food behaviours are in place across partner businesses so that the platform provides food to consumers that is safe and authentic

As a local authority I need to be confident that online platforms are applying safe food behaviours and have the guidance they need to ensure consumers are kept safe.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
A related Discovery was completed Dec 2020-Feb 2021 specifically to understand the impact of online platforms (aggregators and marketplaces), in the food landscape.
Existing team
The supplier team will need to work with the FSA Openness, Data and Digital team, as well as FSA policy teams including the FSA's Achieving Business Compliance programme and Regulatory Compliance Division. The supplier team will also be introduced to platform representatives, and LA representatives.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
No specific region, successful Supplier can work remotely.
Working arrangements
You can work remotely and will be expected to work openly and collaboratively on FSA digital channels (Microsoft Teams). You will be expected to be involved in regular catch-up calls, present at show & tells and present deliverables.
Security clearance
All supplier team members will need to be cleared to Baseline Personnel Security Standard, and sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

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
  • Experience in understanding user needs, user research and developing user journeys.
  • Experience in business process mapping.
  • Experience of end to end service design, and testing solutions that meet user needs
  • Expertise in iteratively, prototyping, designing and building services which meet user needs
  • Experience of designing to government guidelines and meeting accessibility standards to WCAG 2.1 AA.
  • Experienced and comfortable with forming and operating highly effective multidisciplinary teams
  • Have strong stakeholder management skills and experience.
  • Proven understanding of data protection legislation especially Data Protection Impact Assessments and how they apply to DDaT service design
  • Experience of building security and privacy by design into public facing services and understanding of HMG cyber security standard and the NCSC cloud security principles
  • Proven understanding of online platforms and their business models
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience working with organisations to develop digital and data services
  • Proven experience of working collaboratively, sharing knowledge and experience
  • Proven experience of fitting their ways of working to the culture of the contracting organisation

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Overall approach and methodology.
  • How the approach would meet our requirements.
  • Estimated timeframes.
  • Approach to applying robust technical solutions to the development of digital and data solutions.
  • Access to team resources with the required relevant skills, knowledge, and experience needed to complete the work including roles and example CVs of typical resources
  • Identification of possible risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Challenge the business as to their needs and push back when business proposals do not make sense or there is insufficient evidence to support their case
  • FSA is a diverse organisation and strives to be even more so. Describe how you would successfully work as a team with FSA and other suppliers in a diverse environment.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is the FSA open to extending the application deadline? Taking the summer holiday season and the bank holiday weekend into consideration, we and perhaps other suppliers will struggle to put together a quality response by 6 September.
Due to tight timelines to deliver this work I’m afraid we are unable to extend the application deadline.
2. For the following Essential skills question “Proven understanding of online platforms and their business model”, can you please explain what you mean by “online platforms”?
A platform is a technology business that facilitates the exchange of goods or services between vendors and consumers. Several different terms are used in the food industry and elsewhere, including ‘intermediary’ and ‘aggregator’. Examples include Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats
3. Were any external suppliers involved in the Discovery completed Dec 2020-Feb 2021, and if so who are the incumbent(s)?
The Discovery was completed by Foundry4 Consulting Ltd, There are no incumbents for this.
4. Is there an incumbent supplier?
No, there is no incumbent supplier.
5. Do you have an expectation in terms of roles you would be expecting the supplier to provide for this work?
The FSA expects that the roles below will be required to deliver this work:
Senior delivery manager, Business analyst, Tech/data architect, Service designer, Developer, Designer, DevOps.
6. How many platforms (aggregators and marketplaces) has the FSA developed a working relationship with, and how many would the successful supplier need to undertake research with?
The FSA had conversations with 7 platforms in the previous discovery. It is likely the work will involve research with a similar number, but there may be other platforms that emerge as of interest during the course of the research.
7. How many digital services are provided to platforms (aggregators and marketplaces) by FSA and would be in scope of this Discovery?
As detailed in this opportunity, one of the asks is to “Discover which services – provided by the FSA and/or other bodies – platform businesses are using to support safe and authentic food sales”. As detailed, the FSA services we particularly want a focus on are FHRS and FHRS Digital badges. But platforms may also use some of our other services e.g. Register a food business, find a food safety team, My Haccp, SFBB, food safety alerts and other information from the website.