Awarded to Zaizi Limited

Start date: Tuesday 4 January 2022
Value: £62,400
Company size: SME
The National Archives

User experience support for Digital Services at The National Archives

8 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 1 large

20 Completed applications

18 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Friday 12 November 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 19 November 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 26 November 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
Provide embedded support to UX team so they can meet demand/perform at their best. Provide documentation for all user research. For research ops, outputs must be a well-organized research library, an established data handling/admin flow and participant recruitment database, plus documentation, consent forms and logistics, managed collaboratively with our team.
Latest start date
Wednesday 15 December 2021
Expected contract length
Four months with an option to extend by 2 months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Budget range
Up to £63,000 for the initial 4 month period

About the work

Why the work is being done
We don’t currently have sufficient capacity to meet the high demand for UX/user research both in Digital Services and across The National Archives. We have had a number of vacancies come up in this area and while we recruit to fill these we need support so we can continue UX work in the meantime. As our researchers are working at full capacity we also need research ops support for all the associated administration that goes along with user research, e.g. participant management and consent forms.

Most of the work is currently in the beta phase but there may be new projects to consider.
Problem to be solved
We are committed to delivering high-quality, innovative and user-friendly digital services to diverse audiences. We are continually developing new and existing digital services in ways that meet the needs of our users.

Understanding our users and creatively thinking about how they interact with our services is central to how we work. We are committed to developing services rooted in user-centred design, so we are looking for user researchers with a deep understanding of usability and accessibility practices and an excellent knowledge of a variety of user research methods and how they should be applied.

As part of an established UX team you will work with us to ensure the design and development of our digital services are grounded in well organised and sound user research and in line with the goals of The National Archives’ strategy (‘inclusive, entrepreneurial and disruptive’).

We have a number of projects running this year which will require significant user research support, including the development of Etna, a multi-year project to redevelop The National Archives’ website and catalogue. User research may also be needed to provide insight on how legal professionals and the public will search and access a new online service for Court Judgements.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our users are of all ages and abilities and from across the globe. Currently our main user group is 50+ and based in the UK with an interest in archival research. Project Etna is focussed on providing better support for new and non-users who have an interest in history and the arts.

The users of the Court Judgments service will be the legal profession, academic researchers and the UK public.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We conduct user research for all our products and services. We have recently completed the initial private beta for the redevelopment of our website and online catalogue as part of Project Etna. We will share with you past research and learnings. We have done much participant recruitment ourselves and have a database started but this will need further work. We have also started a UX library but it needs proper management. We would expect the successful bidder to contribute in these areas also.
Existing team
Existing team (100 words)
Digital Services is made up of 30+ practitioners from all digital disciplines. Within the Digital Services department we divide responsibility for our products and services between our multidisciplinary teams with each team taking responsibility for a number of related products/services. You will be working closely with the UX Manager to support UX across product teams made up of product management, delivery, design, front end/back end development, content design and metrics/performance roles.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Hybrid working in collaboration with the team – mostly remote, occasionally at The National Archives in Kew, London
Working arrangements
We are looking for a team to provide resource and skills needed to conduct user research sessions and support administration involved in recruiting participants and arranging user research sessions. Anticipated to be three days a week for the duration of the contract. We would ideally like team members to be embedded in our team when working on the contract and for there to be consistency in who is allocated to The National Archives project work.
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
  • A comprehensive and demonstrable understanding of user research
  • The ability to provide excellent and timely support for our user research activities through supplying experienced user researchers and research operations practitioners
  • Understanding of the full digital product life cycle
  • Experience of delivering work that follows the GDS Service Standard
  • Understanding of GDPR and data handling best practice
  • Understanding of accessibility and assisted digital including WCAG 2.1
  • Experienced in Agile, collaborative working practices
  • Experience identifying opportunities to improve practices and taking positive action in response
  • Proficient communicator, with the ability to convey user insights clearly and concisely in an engaging manner.
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
  • Strong evidence of skills in organizing and conducting effective user research
  • Demonstrated understanding of scope of work
  • Evidence of experience delivering work that complies with the GDS Service Standard
  • Evidence of inclusive practice including an understanding of accessibility and assisted digital
  • Proven track record of meeting or exceeding project requirements
  • Evidence of creative approaches to problem solving and excellent communication skills
  • Capacity to perform work within timescale and budget
  • Evidence of ability to establish sound data handling practices including ethical and GDPR considerations
  • Evidence of experience supporting user research administrative tasks such as maintaining a research library and recruitment of participants.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation.
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members.
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions.
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes.
  • Take ownership and responsibility for their work.
  • Excellent communication, willingness to adopt and contribute to TNA’s digital ways of working.
  • Demonstrable commitment to a diverse working environment, with a team comprised from a wide variety of backgrounds
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you confirm how you have assessed that “the off-payroll rules will apply to any workers engaged through a qualifying intermediary, such as their own limited company”?
The DOS advertisement system requires us to specify if we are purchasing a service or resource, and we believe this to be a resource which returns the assessment you mention. However we have also undertaken the HMRC Check Employment Status for Tax online check (, using certain assumptions given we have not yet chosen a supplier. The result of this check is that the Intermediaries Regulations will not apply to this contract. Unless our assumptions are proven wrong once a supplier is appointed, we believe IR35 regulations will not apply.
2. For the purposes of pricing will you ask suppliers to quote an outside IR35 price, and inside IR35 one or both?
Having conducted the HMRC online assessment, we do not anticipate this contract being in scope for IR35. It is sufficient for you to assume this will be the case.
3. Do you have or have you had any supplier contracts in the past 6 months for provision of resources that fall within scope of this outcome?
We haven’t had any User research / UX specific contracts over the last six months. A current contract ( includes and element of User research as part of the much wider brief.
4. Can you advise how you will assess the price element of the bid?
Based on a 16 week engagement and assuming:
• a minimum 3 days/week of a User Researchers time and 1 day/week of a Research Ops resource.
• a maximum 4 days/week of a User Researchers time and 2 days/week of a Research Ops resource.

Please quote for our minimum expectation:
• 48 days of a minimum mid-level User Researcher
• 16 days of a Research Ops resource

And let us know how close you can get to our maximum requirement:
• 64 days of a minimum mid-level User Researcher
• 32 days of a Research Ops resource
5. Is there any coaching element to the work e.g. coaching your existing team on user research or research operations practices and approaches?
No, there is no coaching expected, though when it comes to the research operations practices and approaches, we would expect the supplier to be sharing with us the approaches that they’re taking and for there to be appropriate knowledge transfer, as there are some aspects which we would need to continue to maintain after the contract ends.
6. How often would you expect our team members to work on-site?
This isn't pre-determined and no regular frequency is required. It may be that there is value in attending the office to meet in person with key team members once at the start of the engagement and then maximum once a month but we're flexible on that and open to suggestions from potential suppliers.
7. Will we be working alongside other disciplines within the product teams to shape research and analyse together, or is research a function that reports back it’s findings after the research is done?
User research works alongside other disciplines, embedded in the product team. This all depends on what we are doing but usually we establish goals and hypothesis together and the UR then designs a study/method to learn what we need to learn, or test what needs testing. The team participates in this as observers in turn (usually one per session) and findings are shared with team and often analysed collaboratively and inform the next iteration/the design.
8. Is the research operations role an opportunity to continue to develop and improve your research operations?
Yes very much so. We haven't had the resource and capacity available to focus as much on this area as we would like, and as much as we will need to in the future, so we're eager to improve and open to suggestions.
9. Is the total budget inclusive or exclusive of VAT?
Exclusive of VAT.
10. Do you have someone who is doing research operations at present or does that fall on the user researchers? Do you plan to hire someone or a longer term contractor for research operations during or after this engagement?
We do not currently have anyone in the team filling the research ops role, and we never have. But it is something we've been considering for a while so this will help us determine whether it's a permanent role we should add to the team. We are in the process of bringing someone in part time on a limited period appointment to contribute to research operations work alongside this engagement.