Awarded to Invotra Consulting Limited

Start date: Monday 14 March 2022
Value: £82,390
Company size: SME
Essex County Council

CO0164 SEND Local Offer on LocalGov Drupal

6 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 0 large

10 Completed applications

10 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Wednesday 5 January 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 12 January 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 19 January 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
Essex County Council (ECC) need help building a website using LocalGov Drupal which gives families information about services for special educational needs and disabilities, including a directory.
Latest start date
Tuesday 15 March 2022
Expected contract length
2 years (option to extend by 25%)
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Essex County Council
Budget range
Up to £85,000.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Essex, like all areas in England, must provide a SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) Local Offer website with information about education, health and social care services for children and young people with SEND

The Local Offer is a website which provides:
• information and guidance about SEND processes
• a directory of service listings.

The current Local Offer is not meeting families' needs. It doesn't have all the required information; it's hard to find and understand the information that is there. The search function doesn't work well.

When families can't find the information they need, it puts a strain on busy teams at the council and other organisations, including health services. For example, families often apply for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment when they aren't eligible for one.

When families are confused about the services that are available to them, they get in touch with the professionals they've had most contact with (eg social workers). This can mean that professionals spend time directing families to the right place; and it takes families longer than it should to access the services they need.
Problem to be solved
We need a supplier to:
• build, host and maintain (for 2-2.5 years) a LocalGov Drupal-based site. ECC will not provide infrastructure.
• style the site in line with ECC's requirements. You will need to code some frontend components because our design system is changing.
• enhance LocalGov Drupal's directory feature so users can search by location.
• develop simple exporting functionality for service listings.
• migrate content from 375 listing pages (starting from the existing site.
• set up redirects from all pages on the existing site to pages on the new site. We'll point the existing site's DNS to your server.
• engage with the LocalGov Drupal community, by publishing source code on Github, engaging with LocalGov Drupal working groups, and working collaboratively with other councils.

The current site has 12,000 monthly users and 400,000 annual page views.

We'd like to have a working site one month after award, and a public launch two months after that. After this, your involvement would reduce, but we’d still need you to maintain a reliable and secure service for 2 years, including applying patches and updates as required.

The solution needs to comply with ECC’s standard non-functional requirements (
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a family member of a child or young person with SEND, I need to find information about services available close to my location and if I am eligible for them, so that I can access suitable services.

As a family member of a child or young person with SEND, I need to find information about SEND-related processes, so that I know what to expect when I enter those processes.

As a family member of a child or young person with SEND with a saved link to a page on the old Local Offer, I need to be redirected to the right page on the new Local Offer, so that I can view the information I need quickly and easily.

As a commissioner of SEND services, I need to see information about the services available to children and young people with SEND in Essex, so that I know about gaps in service provision that I need to fill.

As a Local Offer manager in a local authority neighbouring Essex, I need to consume an Open Referral UK feed, so that people in my area can see information about services that are near to them but across the boundary into Essex.
Early market engagement
Early market engagement indicates that:
• Time needs to be allocated to development on an ongoing basis for maintenance, fixes and potentially feature development
• The development of LocalGov Drupal is ongoing. Many councils are interested in developing location-based search for their directories, and some location capabilities are already in use. There is ongoing development of a forms capability which might be adaptable for 'smart answers'.

We learned that suppliers might take different approaches to meeting our requirements:
• Redirecting pages from the old Local Offer to a new one could be done in a CDN, or in Drupal
• The listing pages could be migrated manually, using an XML export from Wordpress or scraping the existing pages
• The site could be hosted on Drupal-specific Platform-as-a-Service options or Infrastructure-as-a-Service such as AWS
Any work that’s already been done
We've carried out a Discovery. We spoke to families and professionals to find out the user needs. We researched technology options.

We think that the website will need:

• Static content pages with information about SEND services
• A directory, using the LocalGov Drupal directories capability, with location and/or postcode search
• (Subject to further user research) a ‘smart answers’ tool for 1-3 journeys, roughly in line with the GDS "Check a service is suitable" pattern, to help users find the right information on the site

Our Discovery findings, including draft designs, are at

We publish weeknotes at
Existing team
Service owner (in ECC's Education team)
Lead service designer (0.2FTE)
Senior product manager (0.5FTE)
User researcher (1.0FTE)
Content designer (1.0FTE)
Interaction designer (0.5FTE)

We won't supply a delivery manager and we'd expect a supplier to provide any delivery management required.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Working arrangements
We're looking for a partner to work with us as a blended team. Our team will continue to work on the product until it is live. We'll work collaboratively with you to meet user needs in an efficient way within technical constraints.

Our content designer will write/migrate content (except automated migration of listings mentioned above).

As this will be ECC’s first use of LocalGov Drupal, we're keen for you to help us learn more about how to use the platform.

The team will work remotely and communicate via Microsoft Teams or Slack. We use other collaboration tools such as Miro.
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
  • Have extensive experience developing Drupal-based websites (at least 3 websites)
  • Have experience of delivering and hosting web products to Live using agile product/service delivery
  • Have experience developing inclusive and accessible digital products
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Evidence having passed a government, local government or NHS service digital service assessment
  • Have Experience developing sites based on LocalGov Drupal

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Clarity of the approach to delivery
  • The team you will provide and the skills and expertise they bring
  • How the approach can meet user needs, the Government Service Standard, and the Technology Code of Practice
  • How you will maintain the live website and provide support to ECC after the initial build phase
Cultural fit criteria
  • Form one collaborative delivery team with ECC
  • Share your knowledge and experience with ECC team members
  • Work collaboratively with the wider LocalGov Drupal community, including other local authorities
  • Commit to inclusivity including in your own hiring practices
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Does the £85K include the support and maintenance for 2 years?
Yes, £85k is the total budget for the requirement including support and maintenance for the 2 year duration.
2. Is there already an incumbent, if so, who are they?
There is no incumbent supplier for the work on developing a new Local Offer website. A supplier (Allrollover Ltd) built the existing Wordpress site and currently maintains it, however this requirement is for an entirely new build site.
3. Do you have a clear picture of the MVP that needs to be live in 2 months from the award date?
To clarify what is stated in the requirement, we’d expect a public launch three months after contract award. Preferably, at that stage the site would meet all the requirements listed above, but we could launch the site without “location and/or postcode search” and “simple exporting functionality for service listings”, provided that you set out a plan to deliver those features after the public launch. All other requirements need to be delivered before we can shut down the existing site and launch the new site to the public.
4. Would you consider a Drupal 9 based Commercial Off The Shelf solution for this such as This product was used to build the site of for a total cost of £23.5k including a full content migration so offers considerable cost savings compared to a bespoke implementation of LocalGov Drupal. The product is easily adaptable for building micro-sites, (e.g., and, and it contains directory based functionality (e.g. so is well suited to this type of project. The product is also continually improved as more sites are built using it which provides further cost savings.
No. In line with the GDS Service Standard points 12 and 13, we are committed to ensuring that the new development work that we finance (e.g. for location search in directories) is made openly available to other local authorities to use freely. LocalGov Drupal offers a mechanism through which this can happen, with significant active development, meaning that we and other local authorities benefit from each others’ work. Furthermore, we are likely to migrate other sites to LocalGov Drupal in future, and would like to drive efficiencies through using a common platform.
5. Hi. Are Allrollover Ltd bidding?
This requirement is open to all suppliers on the DOS framework. We have no information about who might bid for the work.
6. Can you provide more information on LocalGov Drupal, e.g. what version it is. Are there any resources available to allow us to familiarise ourselves with it?
More information about LocalGov Drupal is available at and developer documentation at LocalGov Drupal runs on Drupal 9.
7. Hi. Please talk us through your DOS bidding process i.e. the next steps after you have sifted through the initial DOS responses and shortlisted. E.g. Proposal, Presentation, etc.
As listed in the requirement – written proposal, presentation and we may require a reference
8. Hi. Please list the evaluation panel i.e. roles and responsibilities?
The evaluation panel will have members from ECC’s Service Transformation team and the Education team responsible for the Local Offer.
9. Please could you advice what CDN refers to as in: “Redirecting pages from the old Local Offer to a new one could be done in a CDN, or in Drupal”
CDN refers to Content Delivery Network (Cloudflare, AWS CloudFront, Fastly etc.) If a supplier chooses to use a Content Delivery Network in front of the Drupal site, redirects could be handled there or in Drupal.
10. You require a working site 1 month after award and a public launch 2 months after award, which you’ve since clarified as actually 3 months after award. Can we assume in terms of dates, when you say “award” you mean the start date – not always the case – and the latest that can be is 15 March? Which would make the latest date for public launch 15 June. Is that correct? If not, further clarification on the timeline would be appreciated.
The timescales set out in the requirement are our ambition and general expectations, rather than a latest date for launch. Our preference is to have working software as soon as possible, but we understand that there is complexity in the requirements and want a realistic proposal to meet them. We will ask suppliers to set out their approach to delivery, including timelines, in their written second stage proposal - we’ll then assess and compare these proposals. Your interpretation of the dates is correct, but there is flexibility as outlined here.
11. Please could you confirm if the budget indicated £85K is for the initial build and deployment or for the entire 2 years duration including hosting?
£85k is the total budget for the requirement including hosting, support and maintenance for the 2 year duration.”
12. Please could you check that this link is functioning correctly:
The requirement refers to the 375 listing pages on the existing Local Offer. The URL for each of these pages starts with . Example pages are: and .
13. Hi. What are your expected timelines for the written proposal and presentation, once you have decided on the shortlisted suppliers?
Our current expected timelines are:
Notify shortlisted suppliers: Monday 31st January
Deadline for written proposals: Friday 11th February
Supplier presentations: week commencing Monday 14th February
All timelines are subject to change.
14. Following your discovery phase has there been Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) agree for the new website (e.g. bounce rate, no. of pages etc) or is this something you would like the supplier to support on?
“We have set out a first draft of overarching objectives and key results for the Intranet. The objectives are aligned with what’s stated in the requirement. The key results include things such as number of users, % of visits from direct links etc., and views of specific areas of content. They don’t go into the detail of things like bounce rate – we’d look to work with the supplier to develop these further so that they work for the supplier and ECC.”
15. Are you able to provide an example of a service listing that you would like to export? Would you expect this to be exported as an accessible PDF or another document type (e.g. spreadsheet)?
The service listing exporting functionality fits under the ‘As a commissioner of SEND services, I need to see information about the services available to children and young people with SEND in Essex, so that I know about gaps in service provision that I need to fill’ user story. We do not want a PDF export, this is about exporting a spreadsheet with information about all services – we’d want to work with you to come up with a format that meets commissioners’ needs without extensive development work. An example service listing is
16. When committing code back to the Drupal community and LGD community, would you want this to be committed as Essex County Council or as the supplier?
“It does not matter. Please note that under the standard terms of the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework, new IPR created is owned by ECC and we require it to be released as open source code. We’d expect a supplier to work in line with the LocalGov Drupal MOU at, but the email address used for code commits is not relevant.”
17. Please share your Supplier Charter and Data Retention Policy, both of which documents are linked to in the ECC non-functional requirements spreadsheet but are on your intranet so inaccessible.
The Supplier Charter is available at and the Data Retention Policy is available at