Awarded to Torchbox Ltd

Start date: Monday 8 November 2021
Value: £98,820
Company size: SME
The National Archives

New business processes and UI mockups for TNA’s catalogue management system editorial workflow

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

10 Completed applications

10 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Wednesday 8 September 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 15 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 22 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Supply of resource: the off-payroll rules will apply to any workers engaged through a qualifying intermediary, such as their own limited company
Summary of the work
Re-design the business processes and interface for an editorial workflow. Building on existing user research, the supplier will carry out the required UX to develop, deliver and demonstrate wireframes and interactive mock-ups, which, when built, will meet the GDS Digital Service Standard and WCAG 2.1 to AA level.
Latest start date
Friday 1 October 2021
Expected contract length
4 months with an option for a 2 month extension
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Budget range
£99,660 (£755 x 22 days x 6 months)

About the work

Why the work is being done
The National Archive’s catalogue contains the descriptions of about 32 million records. Its current editorial processes and the UI are outdated. We need business analysis of existing processes, user research and testing, the development of UX wireframes and interactive mockups to ensure that our users will be able to carry out their work with our new graph data model catalogue [Project Omega - The National Archives]. The editorial system will encapsulate the business processes and should also incorporate ways for the users to work with and visualise a history of the information including cases of uncertainty.

TNA follows an Agile approach to product delivery and any products must be developed in line with the GDS Digital Service Standard.
Problem to be solved
Some of the existing business processes and editorial workflows reflect the practices developed many years ago and are constrained by the current system which does not meet the needs of existing staff, or the wider range of new users across The National Archives. Staff need to create, read, update, delete, track, search and export information both individually and in bulk relating to the records described in our online catalogue.

Understand user need: review existing user research and UI work, engage with users to validate these findings, create user personas and prioritise user stories

Review and revise business processes: re-engineering editorial workflows

Design an intuitive UI in wireframes and interactive mockups for a set of user stories to be identified as part of this work

Deliver interactive mockups for an editorial interface which, when built, should meet GDS service standards and level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1)

Supply final report along with the user research and findings to TNA.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The existing catalogue management interface is currently used by around 114 members of staff and volunteers and this number is set to grow as the new catalogue incorporates more data used by additional teams.

The catalogue management system needs to have full CRUD support combined with role-based access control. Users frequently work with bulk selections of data which they may need to make substantial changes to, as well as needing to edit individual records. While experts in their areas, they are not experts in linked data – nor are they expected to become so – so the interface needs to support rich search/browse options and the ongoing editorial workflows. The service will primarily be used by staff at TNA but some volunteers working on cataloguing projects are also regular users.

The supplier must test the new designs appropriately in order to meet the user needs and expectations of a number of teams.
Early market engagement
No external companies have been involved in UX research so far.
Any work that’s already been done
The successful candidate will be provided with the existing user research findings but would be expected to expand on them as needed, engaging with a wider range of users to gather more requirements/user stories.

The underlying data model for the new system was developed during the first stage of the project [] but is under ongoing review and revision as the project develops.
Existing team
The supplier’s team will deliver the work. The National Archives staff will include a Product Manager with experience of the current system, a Delivery Manager, the Lead Architect and members of the core teams of users.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Mostly remote but some meetings as necessary onsite at The National Archives, Kew, Surrey TW9 4AD.
Working arrangements
The supplier will work in accordance with Agile methodologies to scope, plan, and deliver the work incrementally, with daily stand-ups, active communication, and will conduct regular ‘show and tell’ sessions to demonstrate progress. Online meetings will take place via Microsoft Teams with Slack available for quick communication.

The National Archives’ staff will be available during UK core hours (10am-4pm) each working day. The supplier will provide their own equipment and technology but will be given access to our organisational tracking app and Slack resources as appropriate.
Security clearance
Baseline clearance will be required (BPSS)

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
  • Demonstrable track record of identifying user-based business processes and delivering interfaces
  • Experience in delivering UI designs that meet the WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard and interactive mock-ups
  • Experience of working with an iterative, Agile approach to delivery
  • Familiarity with the Government Service Standard and service assessments
  • Experience of conducting user research and capturing usability requirements suitable for user story testing
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively with Subject Matter Experts to ensure the designs meet the needs of their users
  • Ability to produce clear documentation
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence of delivering user-centric business processes and interfaces
  • Evidence of meeting accessibility requirements
  • Evidence of familiarity the GDS Service Standard
  • Team structure, including the relevance of the team members' skills and experience
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work in an open and transparent way, sharing work in progress and involving others as you go
  • Explain what methods you propose to use to engage; communicate, constructively challenge and work effectively with our team
  • Describe how you propose to support positive working relationships throughout the life of the contract
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you please provide breakdown of further stages with dates? When exactly the final decision would be made?
Our anticipated timetable is as follows:
Scoring of all responses to produce shortlist for interview by 28th September 2021.
Interviews held week commencing 11th October – to give more time for presentations which we will ask shortlisted suppliers to prepare.
Award decision by end of day on 15th October 2021.
Contract negotiations to conclude in time for 25th October 2021 start
2. Will this service go through a formal Government Service Assessment?
Currently our intention, as it is predominantly an internal system, is not to have an official GDS Assessment however we are planning to undergo an internal GDS-style assessment. In the future our understanding my change and we would then require a formal assessment. As this is a consideration we are intending to produce the same evidence and will follow the same working practices as far as applicable and would appreciate help with this from the supplier.
3. Is there an engineering team to liaise with and outline any technical constraints we’ll need to work around? Or will the Lead Architect be able to provide that support?
The front-end is intended to communicate with the back-end via an API. The back-end is being developed in Scala and the Technical Architect will be able to liaise and discuss any plans and constraints. It is intended that this work will feed into the requirements for the API so the two teams will be working together closely which will be facilitated by the Product Manager.
4. What are your expectations for the handover of the final validated prototypes? Will there be ongoing involvement from the engineering team, or would we provide a packaged, documented handover?
We would like a fully documented handover from the supplier with validated interactive mock-ups. Dummy data can be supplied if requested but we do not require full prototypes to be built as part of this work package. The focus is on the business analysis of the processes and production of a user tested design which will then be implemented at a future stage of the project. The engineering team will be working on developing the back-end and data extraction in parallel with this work.