Start date: Wednesday 17 November 2021
Value: £3,700,000
Company size: SME
Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

MHCLG CPD4122122 (reissued) Funding Service Design – User Centred Design copy

7 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 0 large

19 Completed applications

14 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Friday 10 September 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 17 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 24 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
MHCLG requires a new supplier to provide user centred design and delivery skills to work on improving its funding processes and tools. Initial work packages will include undertaking a Beta within the pre-award areas of funding, and to support live funding programmes tactically improve their existing processes.
Latest start date
Monday 18 October 2021
Expected contract length
2 years
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
Budget range
For financial year 21-22, up to £700K excluding VAT is available, although we would expect a monthly budget of around £80K to £115K for initial stages of the work.

Budget for financial year 22-23 and 23-24 are still required to be signed-off, but could be up to £1.5M and £1.5M respectively.

About the work

Why the work is being done
MHCLG manages a significant number of funding and grants programmes, including the Community Renewal Fund, the Levelling Up Fund and the coming UK Shared Prosperity Fund. We have a large number of competitively funded programmes, worth tens of billions.

There is an opportunity to design and build a modern, user-centred set of tools and processes to underpin grant management services within the Department, enabling automation of processes and reducing the duplication of effort for external and internal users, by ensuring a common set of tools and standards that can be reused across the Department.

Core capabilities expected within the proposed team would be expected to be, but are not limited to:

User Researcher

Content Designer

Interaction Designer

Performance Analyst

Service Designer

Delivery Manager

Technical Architect
Problem to be solved
Discovery and Alpha phases focused on the pre-award phases of funding have identified a common set of user needs, and tooling requirements amongst different funds that MHCLG delivers.

Currently, our funds either use; general tools (e.g. spreadsheets and Outlook) that are time consuming to maintain, lack in functionality and present security risks. They are often not fit to deliver funds at the scale we need, or have bespoke systems that are expensive to develop and are not reusable for other funds.

In this work, we will establish a set of reusable modules and processes to align service design of funding programmes.

This work is initially expected to focus on:

Building on a recently successful Alpha phase within the pre-award area to deliver a Beta phase

Helping in-train funds that are later in their life cycle, e.g. programme management – to use user centred practices to design and implement improved and simpler processes.

Future projects that this could support include, but are not limited to:

Continued research and design within the live phases of any pre-award stages of funding, to improve the service

Alpha, Beta and Live phases on the post-award stages of funding
Who the users are and what they need to do
User needs for the pre-award phases of funding which are set to be tackled first are:

As an applicant, I need to:

understand what funding I can get so that I can consider applying for it

understand what information I’ll need to provide for an application so that I have a good chance of being successful

provide similar information across applications so that I can reuse work

be able to get help when I am unable to complete an application

be able to work across multiple fund applications so that I can manage multiple applications at once

be able to understand what the next steps are after submitting an application

As an application reviewer , I need to:

be able to be given relevant information in the right format, so that I can assess the application against agreed success criteria

As someone who designs a fund in MHCLG, I need to:

Design a way to identify suitable projects that meet the fund’s objectives

Have flexibility to adapt an application process to my fund’s particular needs
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We’ve completed a Discovery phase, and passed a GDS Alpha assessment in the pre-award areas. Our pre-award Service Standard report is available here:
Existing team
We are currently hiring permanent roles, but we expect to have in post roles including a Service Owner, a Product Manager, a Business Analyst, as well as embedded subject matter experts.

Initially, we envisage having two delivery teams, one which focuses on the Beta and Live pre-award phases, and one which focuses more on tactical support to help funds deliver in more user-centred and efficient ways , whilst making learnings reusable for other teams. We wish the successful supplier to embed with our permanent staff and potentially another supplier across these two teams to ensure they’re improving our funding services.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
London or Wolverhampton
Working arrangements
Our delivery team are split across two main locations, in London and Wolverhampton. Covid-19 restrictions permitting, we would like to co-locate with the incoming suppliers one to two days a week in our London office for face-to-face team meetings and co-working, and would envisage remote working for the rest of the week.

We expect the bulk of individuals within the supplier team to be working with us on a full-time basis.
Security clearance
All individuals must have a minimum of BPSS clearance. For people who wish to co-locate in 2 Marsham Street, CTC level clearance will be needed. Any roles requiring access to production code or ‘live’ data will require SC level clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Outputs will be owned by MHCLG/published where appropriate using a suitable license.

Personal data will be processed throughout the contract,supplier staff with appropriate clearance will be required to develop/operate the service.Any access will occur within agreed systems/personal data will never be stored locally on their machines.Data will not be retained by the supplier/access to data will be withdrawn at contract termination.

There is another requirement relating to this work, ref:CPD4122006. MHCLG expect to bring in the different skill sets needed to support this work from these two requirements, and,if there are two different successful suppliers, for them to work together.

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
  • Recent experience of undertaking research and design projects at all phases of the GDS life cycle, from Discovery through to Live
  • Recent experience of delivering against the Government’s digital service standard, utilising GDS Design principles
  • Recent experience of working in multidisciplinary delivery teams
  • Experience of rapidly incorporating insights and recommendations from research to improve processes in user-centred ways
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Experience of utilising user-centred design methods to inform policy formulation, utilising learnings from existing processes

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology (how your people work) to improve processes or policies using user-centred design approaches, and work alongside software developers to deliver digital services
  • Flexible approach from supplier
  • Value for money
  • Your understanding of the Service Standard and Government design principles
  • Your understanding of policy formulation and its impact on delivery and any technical choices
  • Ability to work in blended multi-disciplinary digital delivery teams, which could include Civil Servants and people from other suppliers
  • If shortlisted, suppliers should provide the following: Written proposal for the work and day rates for exemplar roles listed below.
  • Pricing scores for evaluation purposes only will be calculated assuming 21 working days per month of the different types of roles listed below
  • User Researcher, Service Designer, Interaction Designer, Content Designer, Delivery Manager, Performance Analyst, Technical Architect
  • Scoring as follows-Score 0 = Failed to provide confidence that the proposal will meet the requirements. An unacceptable response with serious reservations.
  • Score 25 = A Poor response with reservations. The response lacks convincing detail with risk that the proposal will not be successful in meeting all the requirements.
  • Score 50 = Meets the requirements – the response generally meets the requirements, but lacks sufficient detail to warrant a higher mark.
  • Score 75= A Good response that meets the requirements with good supporting evidence. Demonstrates good understanding.
  • Score 100=An Excellent comprehensive response that meets the requirements. Indicates an excellent response with detailed supporting evidence and no weaknesses resulting in a high level of confidence.
  • In the event of a tie the highest score in the Technical Competence section will be used to award
  • Presentation - expected mid October 2021
  • Max 10 pages (excluding CVs)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Your approach to working within a regulated environment
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Pragmatism of approach tailored to its environment
  • SOCIAL VALUE - we would expect to see evidence against the following:
  • Equal Opportunity (5%) - model award criteria for this theme are to demonstrate action to identify and tackle inequality in employment, skills and pay in the current workforce.
  • It could also support in-work progression to help people, including those from disadvantaged or minority groups, to move into higher paid work by developing new skills relevant to the contract.
  • Wellbeing (5%) - model award criteria for this weighting would be to demonstrate action to support health and wellbeing, including physical and mental health in the contract workforce.
  • It also influences staff, suppliers, customers and communities through the delivery of the contract to support health and wellbeing, including physical and mental health.
  • Scoring for Social Value see below
  • Score 0 = The response completely fails to meet the required social value standard or does not provide a response.
  • Score 25 = The response makes limited reference (naming only) to the social value policy outcome set out within the invitation.
  • Score 50 = The response addresses most of the social value policy outcome and also shows general market experience.
  • Score 75 = The response addresses the social value policy outcome and also shows good market experience.
  • Score 100 = The response addresses the social value policy outcome and also shows in-depth market experience.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent supplier? If yes, could you advise who?
For the Discovery we worked with Agile Sphere, and for the Alpha undertaken we’ve worked with FutureGov.
2. Please confirm the supplier(s) that delivered the Discovery and Alpha phases, and if they (or any other suppliers) are still the incumbent and involved in this Beta phase.
For the Discovery we worked with Agile Sphere, and for the Alpha undertaken we worked with FutureGov. For Beta, the only supplier/s involved will be those who are successful in bidding for the two procurement contracts currently being advertised.
3. For question 5, can you explain what you are looking for from this answer, as our user centred design would not normally inform government policy. What does “policy” mean in this context – are you referring to an internal policy/procedure for a government department or a national government policy?
There are growing examples of where user-centred policy design teams are operating across different Government Departments, and ideally this answer would demonstrate where a supplier has used user-centred design approaches not only to influence the direction or build of a digital product or service, but has also led to a change or adjustment to any underlying policy of that service, with benefits for its primary users.
4. Is there a current incumbent providing these services?
5. Why was the previous opportunity withdrawn and this one re-issued?
As previously published “MHCLG will be withdrawing requirement CPD4122006 and CPD4122122, a slightly revised opportunity will be reissued shortly this will allow suppliers to bid for both CPD4122006 and CPD4122122 and allow sufficient time for this.”
6. Please could you expand upon the ‘policy formulation’ nice-to-have requirement?
There are growing examples of where user-centred policy design teams are operating across different Government Departments, and ideally this answer would demonstrate where a supplier has used user-centred design approaches not only to influence the direction or build of a digital product or service, but has also led to a change, adjustment or design to any underlying policy of that service, with benefits for its primary users.