Awarded to CIVIC

Start date: Tuesday 4 January 2022
Value: £32,376
Company size: SME
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Procurement for user research and insight work to carry out a discovery of NMC’s website

6 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 2 large

27 Completed applications

27 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Thursday 7 October 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 14 October 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 21 October 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
We’re looking to partner with an experienced agency specialising in user research and insight work to carry out a discovery of our website.

We want to understand if our user needs are currently met by our website.

You will conduct user research activities and deliver evidence-based recommendations
Latest start date
Wednesday 1 December 2021
Expected contract length
12 Weeks
Organisation the work is for
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Budget range
Approximately £30,000 not including VAT and expenses related to user research (expenses must be pre-agreed with the buyer and comply with NMC expenses policy)

About the work

Why the work is being done
We set an ambitious new strategy in April 2020. Within that strategy we committed to actively engaging with and empowering the public, our professions, and partners to become an NMC that’s trusted and responsive.

Each year our website is visited by around 5 million users. As the primary place for our users to find information and access our services, our website plays a vital role in helping us to achieve these commitments.

We want to build a website that informs, engages, influences, and empowers our users, so they can achieve their goals every time they visit.
To do this, we need to better understand their experiences and expectations.

The work is for our main website: We have several sub-domains for our users to carry out transactional activities. Our sub-domains are not in scope for this work; however, we would expect the successful supplier to consider the signposting to these when user journey mapping.
Problem to be solved
Our website was last redesigned in 2015. Since then, we’ve made iterative changes to our design and templates to accommodate new organisational priorities, but this has led to an inconsistent look, feel and experience.

While we’ve built up a good understanding of our audiences through our strategic engagement, our insight into how people use our website is largely based on our assumptions.

We don’t have a consistent way to collect feedback or measure user satisfaction, relying on insight from our customer service teams and ad-hoc engagement activities, which makes it harder for us to plan and prioritise our development work.

Our website serves a diverse range of users with different needs. To add real value, we need to understand what matters the most to them.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Below are high-level user needs based on our assumptions.

This list is not exhaustive. As part of this work, we want the successful supplier to validate and broaden these.

As an applicant:
I need to find out how to join or re-join the NMC register, so that I can practice
I need to understand the skills, experience, and proficiencies for my profession.
I need to manage my registration details

As a stakeholder:
I need to know what the NMC is working on and how I can get involved and share my views and experiences.

As a prospective student:
I need to check if my nursing or midwifery course is NMC approved.

As a patient, someone using services, member of the public or representative organisation:
I need to check a nurse, midwife, or nursing associate’s registration status, so I can be sure they are fit to practise.
I need to be able to raise a concern about NMC-registrants fitness to practise

As an employer:
I need to check a registration status, so that I can carry out pre-employment checks.
I need information on the fitness to practise processes, so that I know whether to make a referral.
Early market engagement
We have spoken to several organisations in order to help refine our requirements. Full details of the project were not disclosed in these meetings.

We also have an incumbent website development supplier.
Any work that’s already been done
2020 website survey
2020 accessibility audit
NMC tone of voice guidance

We’re currently carrying out engagement with a number of our audiences under the umbrella of ‘NMC and Me’.

The aims of these engagements is to understand how we become an NMC that’s trusted and responsive

The projects taking place under this umbrella include conducting further research into our audiences’ understanding of who we are and what we do and also redeveloping our brand identity.

Any engagement we do for this website research will be under this umbrella.
Existing team
You will be working members of the Digital Communications Team which sit in the Communications and engagement department. This includes:
Digital Communications Manager (principle contact)
Senior Digital Communications Officer x 2
Assistant Director, Corporate Communications
Meetings can be arranged with any other relevant parties throughout our organisation and can be facilitated by the Digital Communications Manager.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Our head office is located at 23 Portland Place, Marylebone, London.

The organisation is currently working remotely and would expect a lot of this work to be carried out remotely. However we have open access to our offices in Marylebone and Stratford (East London) to facilitate meetings. We can also attend meetings at the agency’s offices.
Working arrangements
Half/full day workshops to kick off the work. We’re open to suggestions.

We expect the kick off meeting to include all members of the Digital Communications team
Regular catch ups – once the work has kicked off, we’d expect 30 minute weekly catch ups with the Digital Communications Manager and possibly other members of the NMC team.

Towards the end of the project we’d have meetings go over the findings and finalise the report. We’re open to suggestions.
Security clearance
The work will be carried out using our website which is publicly available.

When speaking to audiences we don’t expect you to need security clearance as consent will be obtained from anyone taking part in the research.

You may need security clearance to access test environments of some website services.

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
  • Ability to recruit and set up user research with a range of audiences and stakeholders
  • Significant experience in providing discovery work for large websites including developing user personas and journey maps in line with Government Digital Service’s Design Principles
  • Experience of presenting user-centred research to different audiences, including those with low technical expertise
  • Experience of giving practical recommendations for how websites can better meet the needs and expectations of our different user groups
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Experience and understanding of working on digital projects with government, arm’s length bodies and/or a public sector organisations.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • How you will ensure the requirements are met
  • A summary project plan and timetable: your proposed approach to conducting the discovery phase and how you will ensure the work is completed on time
  • The team you plan to use to complete the project (including team structure, roles and responsibilities) and how you plan to work with us.
  • Experience of facilitating face-to-face and remote sessions with end users.
  • Ability to provide a list of user groups and a set of archetypal user personas covering goals, needs, wants and frustrations with the current site
  • Ability to provide journey maps for the most important tasks to our users
  • Provide baseline satisfaction measurements and recommended model for measuring user satisfaction on an ongoing basis.
  • Give practical recommendations for how our website can better meet the needs and expectations of our different user groups.
  • Deliver a final report document and presentation of the findings, recommendations and outputs.
  • Excellent analytical, problem solving, written and verbal communication skills.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be fair in how you operate your business and work with us
  • Be transparent when making decisions
  • Be collaborative - sharing knowledge with each other and having a flexible approach
  • Be kind when communicating with each other
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. You mention some work already been completed (e.g. website survey, accessibility audit, tone of voice guidance etc.). Can you share copies of these items with bidders please?
Our Tone of Voice guidelines are published on our website. We broadly adhere to these guidelines for website content, but do make some adjustments where necessary to make sure they work for website copy:

We haven't published our November 2020 accessibility audit report. However the findings of the report are reflected in our accessibility statement on our website:

The website survey we carried out hasn't been published and would not be available at this time. While the survey provided some insights we're not confident it provided conclusive findings that would be helpful at this time.
2. You mention that you also have an incumbent website development supplier.
• Is it NMC’s plan for this incumbent to deliver the work package after the Discovery?
• Or do you plan go to market again to find a supplier for the Alpha, Beta etc.? In which case, what will be the role of the incumbent website developer supplier?
Our incumbent website development supplier work with us under a support contract and are responsible for troubleshooting issues on the website as well as developing new functionality.

We plan to go to the digital marketplace for any future phases of the website development. This is subject to the findings of the discovery phase and our internal business planning decisions. There are no commitments with the incumbent website developer on those future phases.

We're also going to the market to renew our current website's support contract in March 2022.
3. In question – Experience of giving practical recommendations for how websites can better meet the needs and expectations of our different user groups – do you specifically mean your audiences, and want examples towards them, or are you looking for how this has been done for anyone?
Either would be fine.

If you want to give examples of how you've done this in the past with other audiences that would be fine.

Equally if you want to try and demonstrate how your experience could help you provide recommendations for our specific audiences that would also be fine.
4. Will BPSS security clearance be sufficient if security clearance is required?
We're still not sure to what level suppliers will require access to systems that sit behind a 'sign-in wall'. We expect to clarify that as part of an agreement on our approach to carrying out the work.

If you were to need access to those sub-site services, then we'd expect a confidentiality agreement to be signed.

It might be the case that the supplier only needs to 'look around' or have screenshots of these subsites, to gain an understanding of what is on there. In which case we'd expect security level requirements to be minimal.
5. Is 12 weeks a strict contract deadline considering the contract runs over the Christmas holiday period and stakeholders and user research participants are likely to be less available?
No it is not a strict deadline and yes we have taken into account the Christmas holiday period. We would adjust timeframes where necessary and where we can see there are clear benefits to doing so.

Our aim is to have kick-off and planning meetings before Christmas 2021 with the majority of the engagement and work carried out in early 2022, but we are flexible and will work with the chosen supplier on what's feasible. However we would not want to stretch this work into Q1 2022/23.
6. Will the evidence submitted for this shortlisting round be (re)scored again in the final proposal round? If so, how and with what weightings?
No it will not be re-scored. We will look purely at the final proposal.

There is however crossover between the proposal criteria and essential skills and experience. We're not against shortlisted suppliers using the essential skills to inform their proposal and touching on those topics again if it helps give more detail. However we'll be judging based on the proposal criteria.
7. When you refer to practical recommendations in the Proposal Criteria section, are you including a view on the technical and organisational feasibility to deliver on the desired experience, as well as recommendations for the user experience itself?
We're not expecting suppliers to have to comment too heavily on technical delivery. This work is more about understanding our users.

If by organisational feasibility you mean, what the NMC needs to do to deliver on the desired experience, then we'd expect that would come at later stages of the development of the website development. However we'd welcome suppliers recommendations on if they think this is important to explore during this phase of the work. As we say we remain open on our approach at this stage.

And yes, practical recommendations for the user experience would definitely be required.
8. An engagement with representative users will be important to gathering insights during this discovery – you reference previous and in progress audience research, do you currently have an established access to a group of users or will we need to propose an approach to recruitment of these individuals?
Our thinking at this time is that it will be a bit of both. We do have access to users and many stakeholders and partners which can all be made available.

However as part of the initial phases of this work we'd expect the supplier to help us map these users and identify gaps and possibly rely on the supplier to recruit to those gaps.

We're also aware that some suppliers may suggest that they would like to rely on their own bank of users as that may provide more independent analysis. We’re open in our approach.
9. Can you confirm any existing analytics products that are in use?
We currently use Google Analytics. We also have Google Data studio set up.
10. We would like to clarify the ask – you state the following:
o Your insights on how people use your website is broadly based on assumptions
o You don’t have a consistent way to measure user satisfaction
o Finding it difficult to plan and prioritise your development work
o We need to understand the diverse range of users and what matters most to them
Are we right to assume you are requiring proposals to address all four of these challenges?
Yes, although this wording is not exactly repeated in the proposal criteria, we believe it does cover each all four of these challenges.
11. You say you have built up a good understanding of your audiences – would you be able to provide some more detail of these insights as part of the process?
o This might include outputs of the website and accessibility audits, and ‘NMC and Me’
o Could we see examples of your current site analytics, goals, funnels (if any) and feedback from users as it currently stands?
This information would really help us put some detail around any proposed discovery approach
We're still carrying out initial stages of research for NMCandME programme, so don't have anything to share on that work.

We haven't published the report of the accessibility audit we carried out in November2020. However the findings of the report are reflected in our accessibility statement on our website.

The website survey we carried out hasn't been published and would not be available ATM. While the survey provided some insights we're not confident it provided conclusive findings that would be helpful ATM.

We'll provide a dashboard of the key-analytics of our website to help the shortlisted-suppliers provide their proposals.
12. Would it be possible to see an outline of the last 24 months of developments and services launched on the website, and the outcome any experimentation you have conducted?
Most of the last 24-months has been focussed in our response to Covid. We used our existing-templates and functionality to create content around that response.

Our Covid hub:

These pages were a result of some experimentation we did to refresh our page-templates with the user in mind around 3 years ago. This was when we introduced a new process for registering nurses and midwives who trained overseas.

However we're aware and have flagged that this and other development work was only partly based on fully-formed user research. This is what we would like to address with this research.