Awarded to Olive Jar Digital

Start date: Thursday 27 January 2022
Value: £230,825
Company size: SME
Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

DHSC: Adult Social Care Digital Skills Passport - Conducting a Discovery

9 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 2 large

39 Completed applications

30 SME, 9 large

Important dates

Wednesday 17 November 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 24 November 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 1 December 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
DHSC is seeking to complete a Discovery on an Adult Social Care Digital Skills Passport that aims to provide social care staff with a free digital resource that captures their learning and development.
Latest start date
Monday 17 January 2022
Expected contract length
17 January 2022 - 31st March 2022
Organisation the work is for
Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
Budget range
Up to £250,000

About the work

Why the work is being done
On 7 September 2021 the UK Government published “Build Back Better: A Plan for Health and Social Care”. The document committed to investing £500m over three years to support the social care workforce. This includes funding to provide support in developing and upskilling the workforce, including hundreds of thousands of training places and certifications for our care workers and professional development for the regulated workforce.

The Digital Skills Passport will form a key part of our training offer to the care workforce. It will be a free digital resource for social care staff to capture their learning and development. This training falls into three broad areas:
• Care Certificate, this is baseline training for the care workforce.
• Accredited training and qualifications.
• Non-accredited training, learning and development.

The exact training and who can access the skills passport will be subject to end-user testing in the discovery phase.

The Discovery for the Adult Social Care Digital Skill Passport must be completed by 31/03/21
Problem to be solved
A digital skills passport will help to address issues of portability of staff training and development by providing a permanent and verifiable record of skills, behaviours, and achievements that would be accessible to employees and could be shared with new or potential employers. At the moment, the Adult Social Care workforce need to either carry, scan or request copies of completed certificates when changing employers.

The discovery for the digital skills passport would explore the widespread appeal, likely acceptance and requirements/barriers for adoption of a skills passport in adult social care. The discovery will provide analysis and evidence of how social care employers, staff and the training market capture and record learning and development, and the potential impact/benefit of using the digital skills passport to overcome portability of learning and development, and training. Linked to this, there are uncertainties around the use of the Open Badge Standard and whether this could enhance employers’ confidence in training previously completed by newly recruited staff and reduce the need for staff to repeat core training and help speed up recruitment.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The skills passport would be used by social care employers and employees.

As an employee, I need to be able to capture my learning and development so that I can demonstrate my knowledge and skills to my employer. This record of my training will mean I can start a new role quickly without having to repeat the same training. The skills passport will also help me to track my own personal and career development to build skills and knowledge for more senior/specialised roles.

As an employer, I need to be able to verify the training undertaken by new staff so that I do not waste time and resources asking staff to undertake the same training.
Early market engagement
No early market engagement has been carried out.
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
The team will be made up of a Policy Officer, Policy Advisor and Head of social care workforce development.

We are working closely with colleagues from across NHSX who will help manage assessments and monitor compliance to Cabinet Office standards, notably Service Standard and Technology Code of Practice.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The work can be performed from any location, but it will be coordinated by staff at the Department of Health and Social Care, 39 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0EU
Working arrangements
Current circumstances mean that we will work with individuals by phone or video conferencing. This provides more flexibility, particularly when also communicating with staff outside the department. There are currently no Covid-19 restrictions, but given the increase in cases, we must take precautions if meetings are held at the workplace. It is possible that we will expect face to face meetings when DHSC policy on return to the office is updated.
Security clearance
All must have BPSS as a minimum. Preference for contractors to already hold SC clearance, however we would be willing to sponsor the SC clearance process at the supplier's expense.

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
  • Be experienced in GDS user needs and user research.
  • Have strong quantitative and qualitative user research experience.
  • Be experienced in business process mapping skills.
  • Be experienced in developing a variety of user journeys.
  • Lead a process to develop the vision, scope and roadmap.
  • Have strong stakeholder management skills and experience.
  • Experience working on similar projects (in last 5 years) in health or adult social care.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Work collaboratively, sharing knowledge and experience
  • Provide evidence of leading in project governance and delivery
  • Provide evidence of building relationships quickly.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Discovery approach and methodology
  • How the approach would meet our requirements
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Be transparent
  • Share knowledge and expertise
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you confirm what similar projects (in last 5 years) have occurred in health or adult social care or give more information about what you type of projects you would consider to be ‘similar’?
We would consider digital projects undertaken within the sphere of the NHS or adult social care to be relevant, particularly those relating to the workforce.
2. Please could you confirm the make-up of the supplier team you require to deliver the Discovery?
Suppliers that are shortlisted will be required to propose a team in their written response.
3. It would be useful to understand if the DHSC team (Policy Officer, Policy Advisor and Head of social care workforce development) has any experience in GDS (Discovery/Alpha/Beta projects previously?
The Head of Social Care Workforce Development has prior knowledge and experience in discovery, alpha, and beta projects.
4. Could you tell us the amount of time that the DHSC Product Owner (and associated team members) will have available dedicated to this project?
The Policy Officer will be 0.8 FTE and the Policy Advisor 0.5 FTE.
5. In regards to working with NHSX, has any user research with social care employers and employees been done by NHSX previously, and if so would there be an opportunity to engage with the NHSX user researchers to discuss that research/knowledge?
Yes,NHSX has previously undertaken user research with social care employers and employees for specific projects, and there will be the opportunity to use the findings of this research to help inform the discovery.

Specifically, user research was undertaken with social care staff to understand their needs as part of the iPad offer for care homes. Another project was undertaken by Digital-Social-Care (on behalf of NHSX) titled "User-research-for-Joining-Up-Care-Digital-Social-Care-Management".

Some of the user researchers who completed this work have now moved on, but NHSX would be happy to share the outputs in confidence with the successful supplier for the Skills Passport Discovery.
6. It would be useful to understand what DHSC see as the biggest challenge for this Discovery?
A key challenge will be engagement with a good cross section of end users so it is important for proposals to include a strategy for engaging with the sector.
7. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The indicative list of the evaluation panel is:

DHSC Head of Social Care Workforce Development (DHSC)
Policy Officer - Social Care Workforce Development (DHSC)
Social Care Workforce Policy Advisor (DHSC)
Improving Employment Models Lead (NHS England and NHS Improvement)
Enabling Staff Movement Project Manager (NHS England and NHS Improvement)
Adult Social Care Digital Technology Policy Lead (NHSX)

This is subject to change.
8. Could the Authority share the high-level procurement timelines? Including Shortlisting, ITT, Presentation and results.
Suppliers notified of shortlisting outcome 8th December
Shortlisted supplier request for proposal deadline 22nd December
Presentations (question & answer sessions) 10th January
Contract award & suppliers notified of outcome 11th January
Contract commencement 17th January

These dates are estimated and could change.
9. Will all the BPSS cleared staff need to go through SC-clearance or only specific roles/staff need to go through SC-clearance?
10. Message from Buyer:
Following shortlisting, the shortlisted suppliers will be invited to the written proposal stage via the DHSC's Atamis portal. Please can all suppliers who are registering interest in this opportunity please make sure they are registered on the Atamis portal and that their details are up to date (
11. How fixed is the 31 March deadline?
The budget allocation is till 31st March 2022, therefore this discovery must be completed by then.
12. Are we able to see the existing research to provide further context to the Discovery?
There has not been any early market engagement or research.
13. Do you have the care sector onboard, via a working group of major players, or via trade body?
14. Has any research been done into what candidates think and feel about online onboarding?
15. In terms of online training and development, will this be tested to provide accreditation and ongoing CPD?
The skills passport is not intended to provide online training. The passport will hold information about training and development undertaken by social care staff e.g. the care certificate and accredited training such as qualifications.
16. Given that the programme is nationwide, do you understand that research will be required that not only reaches existing carers, who will need to be persuaded that this is a good idea, but also potential carers
17. We are thinking about partnering with another organisation to deliver this work. We know under these terms that we would need to seek express permission from you to do so, therefore, are you happy that we partner? Share the DOS5 documentation with them?
We will accept this. However we can only contract directly with suppliers listed on DOS5. If the partner is not listed on DOS5 we expect they will need to be a subcontractor in the contract, if you are successful. If suppliers wish to contract under a partnership rather than subcontractor arrangement, DHSC will need to seek advice from CCS on this prior to contracting. Due diligence checks will likely need to be carried out on the partner organisation.

In your response where providing examples of skills & experience you will need to clearly outline which organisation each example-applies-to.

The-DOS5-documentation-is-publicly-available-on-the-CCS-website so-can-be-shared.
18. What is the scope of the social care workforce in this discovery exercise? For example, are personal assistants, informal carers or social workers (working to assess needs for the NHS or local authorities) included?
To begin with, the initial target userbase of the Skills Passport will be the paid unregulated social care workforce (including PAs but not informal carers). We would also like to understand through the discovery, whether the regulated social care workforce would benefit from the Skills Passport.
19. What level of documentary evidence, and user interaction research (e.g. wireframing) is desired by DHSC as part of the discovery process?
We are interested in proposals that include one to one research interviews, surveys and prototype testing - more information available at