Start date: Saturday 1 January 2022
Value: £500,000
Company size: SME

Providing Support & Structure to UCD workforce in NHS

9 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 5 large

14 Completed applications

11 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Thursday 9 September 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 16 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 23 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
User centred design is a recognised profession across government and industry and is a growing profession within the NHS.
NHSX is a leader in bringing together partners and supporting UCD in the health and care system.
The supplier will work on a number of deliverables across this programme of work.
Latest start date
Monday 1 November 2021
Expected contract length
12 Months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Budget range
Up to £500,000 ex. VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
The term ‘design’ is often incorrectly used to describe the end result of a design process: what it looks like or how it feels. Design is a creative process to solve complex problems. User centred design is a recognised profession across government and industry and is a growing profession in the NHS. NHSX supports UCD professionals from different disciplines (e.g. user research or service design) to work as part of multi-disciplinary teams to transformation services both locally, regionally and nationally. Most UCD professionals in the system are found nationally but there are a growing number being employed by local health and care organisations. There is currently a lack of support and professional ‘infrastructure’ for designers working in healthcare.
We want to drive up the quality and application of UCD, as well as the job satisfaction and development for UCD professionals.
We are planning a number of projects this year which are aimed at meeting our objective to ‘Establish and grow user centred design as a profession so that the NHS becomes the place to come to learn and do inclusive design’.
We are following similar approaches to the analytics workforce who are further ahead as a profession.
Problem to be solved
We want to grow and support the user centred design profession across the NHS. This includes organisations understanding which capabilities they have (and need), be able to offer clear opportunities to people for career progression and professional development, and for individual professionals to know what they need to do in their roles and to progress.
Our work in 21/22 will seek to:
● Develop a standardised progression framework for UCD professionals in the NHS. This work should start with a discovery and engagement with the current UCD workforce before rapidly moving on to prototype and develop the competency framework itself.
● Define the training and development needs for different UCD job families, review existing learning materials and development of new learning materials if required. This will also include up-skilling and training any relevant partners to deliver any training or coaching to the system.
● Establish a specialist academy for user centred design for the NHS working in partnership with Health Education England to provide a formalised approach to building capability, skills and approaches in user centred design.
● Define key metrics and success measures so we can measure the impact of this work.
Who the users are and what they need to do
● User centred design professional at a local, regional and national level
● People who want to learn user centred design skills
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have already developed training and capability building content, including masterclasses in different aspects of user centred design and documentation of service design methods and reusable templates that are used as a resource for trusts to standardise, scale and formalise delivery.
Existing team
The work will be with the NHSX Digital Transformation team, Health Education England and other partners across the system.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The work can be performed from any location, but it will be coordinated by staff in NHSX and NHSE/I’s London Offices (NOTE - these staff are currently working remotely).
Working arrangements
Work may be carried out from multiple locations including the Supplier’s offices. Attendance at NHSX offices in London and in other locations around England may be required for meetings.
Given the potential impact on local services over the next few months, the project will likely be carried out completely remotely.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses will be paid in alignment to Department of Health and Social Care terms and conditions where prior authorisation has been obtained. Expenses will not be payable for London or where the resource is home-based.

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
  • ● Successfully working with organisations to change their way of working by introducing user-centred design methodologies.
  • ● Demonstrable experience of designing and delivering user centred design training or capability building to others outside of your organisation.
  • ● Full understanding and demonstrable experience of using a range of user research and design methodologies to deliver services for a diverse mix of users.
  • ● Demonstrate recent (within the last 2 years) experience of recruiting a diverse workforce and promoting a supportive and inclusive culture.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • ● Successfully implemented professional development or capability and progression frameworks for specialist roles within an organisation.
  • ● An understanding of, and demonstrable experience of, building the capability and skills of user centred design and service design into health or social care sector organisations.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach to working in collaboration with in house teams and local NHS organisations [10%].
  • Approach to applying the principles user centred design and service design to digital transformation in the health sector [10%].
  • Approach and methodology to develop and test a progression framework and other necessary products to support the user centred design profession in the NHS [10%].
  • Approach and methodology to develop and test any training or development materials where they need to be developed [10%].
  • Approach and methodology to defining success and evaluating how successful the initiatives have been to building the user centred design profession [10%].
  • Estimated time frames, team structure, skills and experience [10%].
Cultural fit criteria
  • How you have established trusted advisory relationships with professionals across large and complex organisations [6%].
  • Outline your approach to working with a wide range of stakeholders including ones who have little knowledge of agile or user centred design, exampling established productive, collaborative relationships [6%].
  • Outline your style and approach to working transparently & collaboratively when making decisions and recommendations, with at least 2 examples of how you have used the techniques successfully [8%].
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. You say “We are following similar approaches to the analytics workforce” – can you say anything more about how they are working or have they published anything about their approach?
NHSX have published a number of blogs and information on the approach the analytics profession have taken. They can be found on the NHSX website:
2. You talk about “organisations understanding which capabilities they have (and need)” – in terms of need do these organisations have well-developed strategies, portfolios and pipelines of work?
As this contract is open to all of the NHS, there is incredible diversity to this. Some organisations have a better understanding of their needs/strategy in terms of UCD but others don't. We would expect you to 'partner' with organisations to help define and implement a strategy and UCD rollout plan.
3. You say “Establish a specialist academy for user centred design for the NHS working in partnership with Health Education England” – can you advise where this work is in terms of business case development, approvals and funding – are you looking for the winning supplier to help develop the business case, to plan the creation of the academy or to otherwise advise on it?
We have the approvals and funding, we would be looking to a supplier to help deliver the initial offer for launch, including implement best practice and a rollout of a delivery plan with a range of priorities. There would be some co-creation of the academy as well as best practice advice.
4. Can you advise on your procurement timetable? When will shortlisted suppliers be informed, how long will they have to create their second round response and when presentations might take place?
Shortlist – 27th September (1 week)

Invite proposals – 4th October (2 weeks)

Deadline for proposals – 15th October

Evaluate proposals & presentations – 18th October to 29th (2 weeks)

Contract & award to supplier – by 15th November
5. Can you please expand on the existing team for this engagement? What resources from NHSX, HEE and other partners will be allocated to this engagement? Will NHSX be providing project managers (or equivalent) for each of the 21/22 projects or do you expect the successful supplier to do this?
There is a small project team of NHSX staff responsible for leading this work who will work directly with the successful supplier and we work with project managers and delivery staff from HEE and other partners on specific projects. The team shape is variable for each project. Project Managers could be on the team but we would expect a DDaT team shape (so supplier to provide Delivery Managers where needed).
6. Do you have a current view as to how much of the training and development material/pathways will be based off of existing Civil Service DDaT frameworks/resources?
Training and development will be in line with the Government Digital Service standard and Civil Service DDaT framework. We have existing training and development materials already but we would expect a supplier to develop a fair amount of training and resources as a part of this contract as they will need to be specific to a health and care context.
7. How do you anticipate implementing the change management component of this engagement to be as UCD teams/professionals across the NHS transition to these standardised approaches? Will the successful supplier be expected to manage this component as well?
NHSX is recruiting a dedicated team to focus on the neccessary change management over the medium term. However, as we are looking for a supplier to help grow the understanding and delivery of UCD professionalism, across the NHS, there is change management that comes with this. This would be treated as an additional KPI within the delivery outcomes and a core part of the delivery but we would not expect a seperate 'change menegement team' but more an emphasis on 'what good looks like' and embedding the UCD professionalism work.