Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

RBGKEW982 Accessibility audit

11 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 2 large

13 Completed applications

12 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 12 October 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 19 October 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 26 October 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
Web accessibility audit of RBG Kew's digital products to ensure compliance with WCAG 2.1 AA requirements, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
Latest start date
Monday 6 December 2021
Expected contract length
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Budget range
Initial budget to complete the audit of existing sites, and audit new sites as they move into production is up to £45,000.
Further budget will be made available in FY 22-23 to continue to improve our digital estate - we want to proceed on a time and materials basis and call off work in tranches depending on the timing of projects and other work

About the work

Why the work is being done
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world leading plant science and conservation organisation. We run two botanic gardens - Kew Gardens in London and Wakehurst in Sussex. Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and leading visitor attraction, welcoming 2m visitors in 2018/19. We are looking to appoint a supplier to audit websites against WCAG 2.1 AA compliance guidelines. Some work has already been done this year on the most high profile website. This procurement will complete the work on the existing digital estate as well as cover further audits and tests as required
Problem to be solved
We want to ensure that RBG Kew's public-facing digital products comply with WCAG 2.1 AA requirements and are accessible to our visitors and customers. In order to do that, we expect to undertake a mixed audit of desk-based research and testing with real users against Kew's websites as needed, to highlight areas of issue, with expected outcomes that can be corrected and re-tested to ensure compliance.
The initial audit will be 30 pages across 10 websites, delivery of a report and retesting. Your response should quote for this initial tranche, in addition to your rate card.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a sight impaired / partially sighted user I need to use a screen magnifier so that I can read text on a webpage
As a sight impaired / partially sighted user I need sufficient constrast between foreground and background colour combinations
As a severaly sight impaired user I need to use a screenreader so that I can navigate between elements on a webpage
As a severaly sight impaired user I need text alternatives to impages, controls, or other structural elements
As a user with physical or motor disabilities I need navigate a webpage without the use of a mouse or trackpad
As a user with physical or motor disabilities I need sufficient time to complete a webform
As a deaf user I need to be able to read captions on a video as an alternative to audio
As a user with speech disabilities I need to be able to communicate with the organisation that doesn't rely on interaction using voice only
As a user with cognitive, learning, or neurological disabilities I need navigation mechanisms and page layouts that are easy to understand and use
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
You'll be working primarily with Kew's Digital Experience team and Science development teams, and primarily with the Head of Digital Experience, Senior Product Manager, Product Manager, Junior Product Manager, UI Designer, Senior Content and Engagement Manager, Content Producers and Developers that sit within our Science Directorate. Where relevant you'll also work with stakeholders in other teams across Kew.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Royal Botanic Gardens , Kew
Richmond, Kew
Working arrangements
We expect the majority of work to be completed remotely away from RBG Kew's offices. We expect to have regular contact points during the duration of the contract, with at least three face-to-face meetings.
Security clearance

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 of auditing digital products for users with a range of disabilities against WCAG 2.1 to meet AA requirements. (20)
  • Experience of desk-based research to test digital products for accessibility issues. (20)
  • Experience of engaging with users with a range of disabilities to test digital products for accessibility issues. (20)
  • Experience of delivering documentation to highlight areas of accessibility issues with expected outcomes. (20)
  • Experience of working alongside additional suppliers and in-house teams to deliver accessibility improvements for digital products. (10)
  • Experience of delivering value for money by working in aprtnership with clients to scope and prioritise against business/user needs. (10)
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
  • Provide an example of how you have worked with a client to provide outcomes to apply amendments to a digital product to correct accessibility issues. (15)
  • Please provide an example of how you have worked with a client to re-assess reported outcomes to ensure website accessibility issues have been corrected satisfactorily. (10)
  • Please provide an example of how you have structured an ongoing relationship with a customer when carrying out audits on a rolling basis, including communications and meetings. (10)
  • Please detail your understanding of the different and competing priorities we face as an organisation, particularly around web accessibility. (5)
  • Outline an end-to-end website accessibility audit project you delivered, including methodology, engaged users, documentation, delivery, and any challenges you faced and an outline of benefit realisation. (15)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate understanding of the different audience needs faced by complex non-profit organisations. (5)
  • Demonstrate an evidence-driven approach with an example of where you have used analytics or user research to influence outcomes.(4)
  • Provide an example of where you have worked with in-house development and IT resources to deliver on a project. (5)
  • Provide evidence of supporting an in-house digital team with stakeholder engagement to deliver solutions that meet both user and business needs. (3)
  • Provide evidence of working with clients transparently to show clarity over spend/hours worked and delivering excellent value for money. (3)
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Have you been working with or worked with an accessibility provider previously please either on this project or similar for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew?
We are currently working with an agency on accessibility audits via a previous contract.
2. Could you clarify what you mean by “engaging with users with a range of disabilities to test digital products for accessibility issues.” Do you mean performing Usability Testing with Disabled People or including expert users during the technical audit against WCAG 2.1 Level AA. They are very different things. Please can you clarify your requirements and which approach you need.
At some point we would like to do usability testing with disabled people, so we are looking for a supplier that can provide this as an additional service at a later date and are interested in suppliers with experience in this area. However, for the purposes of the quote for the initial tranche of work, we are looking for experts to conduct a technical audit against 2.1 AA.
3. Could you elaborate on what is meant by “desk-based research to test digital products for accessibility issues.” Are you looking for evidence of how we conduct the technical audit (e.g. the process we follow) or are you asking for something in addition or different?
Point one (experience of auditing digital products for users with a range of disabilities) is looking for information on your approach to running a detailed accessibility audits against WCAG 2.1 AA standards (i.e. how you manage this process). For point two, please outline your approach to testing digital products for accessibility - we understand that there is crossover but for the second point we are more interested in your testing methodology and any systems or equipment used, whereas the first point we want to hear about your audit process.
4. Is there any outstanding work with the previous/existing Accessibility supplier that may conflict with this work?
The websites being audited by the current accessibility supplier are not initially scope for this piece of work so there should not be a conflict.
5. Please advise what your minimum support requirements are:
• browsers (e.g. Chrome, Edge, etc)
• operating systems (e.g. Apple iOS, Microsoft Windows, Google Android OS, etc)
• digital platforms (e.g. laptops, phones, tablets, etc)
We tend to use the guideance issued by the Government's Service Manual to determine which operating systems and browsers to test with ( We would expect all newly developed products and services to be responsively designed to work across different devices, including laptops, phones and tablets.
6. Please can you clarify, for “30 pages across 10 websites” is this a total of 30 spread across 10 sites, or 30 pages on each site x 10?
We are asking you to quote for 30 pages across 10 websites, not 30 pages per site, which will help us understand how you would plan and quote for the work. Please assume that the 10 sites do not all share common components - but share with us any assumptions you do make to prepare the quote. For ease of comparison, we are asking for quotes for 3 pages per site, however we understand this will vary per site. The actual number of pages/sites will get confirmed as part of the initial engagement and planning which may impact costs.
7. Please can you list each of the websites/URLs that are in scope for the initial audit?
The request for a quote for 30 pages across 10 sites is indicative to allow us to understand how you would plan and cost the work. Please assume they do not have common components - and share with us any assumptions you make to prepare the quote. A list of potential sites is below - not all of the sites are live and publicly available.
New sites:
- Library catalogue (currently
- Schools platform
- Ticketing platform
- Grow Wild (currently
Existing sites (to be confirmed):
- -
8. Clarification - contract period
2 years (on a Time and Materials basis)

The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Tuesday 19 October 2021.