Awarded to Zaizi Limited

Start date: Thursday 30 June 2022
Value: £8,000,000
Company size: SME
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)

DLUHC CPD4122185 UCD and digital capability for urgent policy and DDaT short-term requirements

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

35 Completed applications

26 SME, 9 large

Important dates

Friday 1 April 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 8 April 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 15 April 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
DLUHC requires a new supplier to work on time-constrained User-Centred Policy Design or DDaT delivery projects – providing teams, or individuals to supplement existing teams. An initial work package involves delivering a discovery on how users are affected by Net Zero policies.
Latest start date
Wednesday 1 June 2022
Expected contract length
2 years
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)
Budget range
Up to £90k excluding VAT for the Net Zero discovery work package.
Further work has not been signed off and would be dependent on need and budget approval but could be up to £8m over the 2 year term.

About the work

Why the work is being done
There is a need for a flexible supplier to respond to urgent requests received by DLUHC Digital to support particularly user-centred policy outcomes with user-centered design and digital skills, within 5-10 working days.

We expect this contract to fulfil two types of need:

1) Resource to supplement teams on urgent projects.

2) Agile Multidisciplinary Teams.

Core capabilities for the proposed contract would be:

-user experience and service design

-business analysis

-performance analysis and data

-delivery management

-user research

-(optional) software development

This contract will allow time-critical work to commence for generally no longer than 3-6 months.
Problem to be solved
DLUHC needs access at short notice to UCD skills so we can support policy teams developing user-centred policy, or digital and other services to deliver that policy. This is likely to include running discoveries that may or may not have a digital element, writing user-centred content, or possibly developing alphas. We are looking at placing people and teams within two weeks to support policy teams with urgent delivery,

Some projects we expect to use the contract for include:

-A policy-focused Discovery on Net Zero issues, outlining which users are affected by Net Zero policies, the impact on their buildings, incentives and disincentives for taking action, pain points that government can influence. We expect to focus on occupier owners but may expand this to other user groups as the work progresses, such as private sector landlords, June 2022

-Voluntary Right to Buy discovery

-Discovery into how we can make it easier for people to buy their first homes
Who the users are and what they need to do
DLUHC requires quick access to UCD specialists to research, design and possibly support the implementation (including working on digital alphas or small betas) of user-centred policies. Requirements will vary from a full multidisciplinary team to individual(s) to complement an existing team for a short period.

A project on "Net Zero impacts" is likely to be the first requirement. The users of this policy have needs including:

-Economic drivers (such as cost of living rises) to search for more green and renewable energy sources

-Economic and political drivers to remediate their building under energy performance standards

-Political and social drivers to consider their impact on their environment and individual actions they can take within their building to mitigate this

-Economic drivers that limits the actions they can afford to take

-Economic and legal drivers that prevent them taking action, such as renters in a property they do not own
Early market engagement
There has not been any early market engagement undertaken for this specific opportunity, although it is based on a number of similar GDS opportunities, including:

DLUHC (then MHCLG) also ran an earlier competition for urgent digital needs: This opportunity is designed to complement the existing contract, rather than replace it.
Any work that’s already been done
For Net Zero, work has taken place previously on:

Users and their reasoning for being interested or not in remediation relating to energy and associated costs

Barriers that prevent some individuals from taking action

Cultural factors that impact users taking action

Some comparisons with users internationally
Existing team
The supplier will work with DLUHC staff from a range of disciplines, primarily policy but also potentially including service and product management, finance, and delivery management.

Where required in the development cycle, collaboration with other suppliers may be necessary. This contract will not prevent us from using other commercial arrangements, to pull together a team from a range of suppliers.

On Net Zero, there will be a full time Subject Matter Expert/Service Owner embedded in the team, and support with recruiting users.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remotely, but also 2 Marsham Street, London where conditions allow for a couple of days a week.
Working arrangements
We want the supplier to work in an agile way with us. Our teams are used to remote working practices, but we may find it beneficial to co-locate with representatives of the successful supplier in London or other offices where possible at least 2 days a week to have the opportunity for face-to-face meetings. This would be discussed and agreed before signing each Statement of Work.
Security clearance
BPSS is required as baseline. Some projects may require CTC or SC clearance particularly for technical roles, so this would be an advantage.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1. All outputs will be owned by DLUHC and published openly where appropriate using a suitable open license that supports reuse.

2. All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of DLUHC.

3. GDPR requirements will be discussed and agreed once the successful supplier has been notified (as part of discussions to agree the wording of the call-off contract).

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
  • In your own words what are the key considerations for delivering on a capability and capacity contract such as this?
  • Evidence your capacity and flexibility to deliver on this contract and how would you look to balance demand with existing commitments
  • Experience of delivering within tight time constraints despite challenges
  • Experience of working with policy makers to influence decisions
  • Experience of delivering a discovery where the recommendation was to deliver something that wasn’t digital service
  • Experience of recruiting users from hard-to-find groups
  • Knowledge and experience of Agile practices
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience with GDS Service Standards and GOV.UK design system
  • Describe your approach to building good technology that meets user needs whilst delivering at pace

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology (the way your people work), 10%weighting
  • Your ability to work to the Digital Service Standard and Government Design Principles, 10% weighting
  • Experience of delivering strong user-centred responses to policy related questions, 10% weighting
  • Your approach to rapidly deploying a team, 5% weighting
  • If shortlisted, suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal and pricing as detailed below.
  • Price Part 1: Capped Time and Materials quote for Net Zero discovery work (10%)
  • Price Part 2: Assessment of Day Rates for 60 days of the following example roles needed for other potential projects: Service Designer, User Researcher, Developer, Delivery Manager, Product Manager (40%)
  • Scoring as follows
  • Score 0 = Failed to provide confidence that the proposal will meet the requirements. An unacceptable response with serious reservations.
  • Score 25 = A Poor response with reservations. The response lacks convincing detail with risk that the proposal will not be successful in meeting all the requirements.
  • Score 50 = Meets the requirements – the response generally meets the requirements, but lacks sufficient detail to warrant a higher mark.
  • Score 75= A Good response that meets the requirements with good supporting evidence. Demonstrates good understanding.
  • Score 100=An Excellent comprehensive response that meets the requirements. Indicates an excellent response with detailed supporting evidence and no weaknesses resulting in a high level of confidence.
  • In the event of a tie the highest score in the Technical Competence section will be used to award
  • Max 15 pages (excluding CVs)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Challenge status quo
  • aAbility to manage challenging and diverse stakeholder needs
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Pragmatism of approach tailored to its environment
  • SOCIAL VALUE - we would expect to see evidence against the following:
  • Theme 4 Equal Opportunity - Tackle workforce inequality (5%) - MAC 6.1 Tackling inequality in the contract workforce
  • Theme 5 Wellbeing - Improve health and wellbeing (5%) - MAC 7.1 Support health and wellbeing in the workforce
  • Scoring for Social Value see below
  • Score 0 = The response completely fails to meet the required social value standard or does not provide a response.
  • Score 25 = The response makes limited reference (naming only) to the social value policy outcome set out within the invitation.
  • Score 50 = The response addresses most of the social value policy outcome and also shows general market experience.
  • Score 75 = The response addresses the social value policy outcome and also shows good market experience.
  • Score 100 = The response addresses the social value policy outcome and also shows in-depth market experience.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you please advise on what technology stack is used by the Department?
This contract is not primarily focused on building technology, but our preference is for Ruby or Python on GOV.UK PaaS, with other tech as per We use SaaS where it meets the TCOP, MS Automate for simple automations.
2. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The evaluation panel will consist of full-time members of the Digital team and will be overseen by Commercial staff.
3. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
This is a new contract. Another similar contract has been won by Made Tech Limited, as stated in Early Market Engagement section
4. Can you please provide an anticipated timeline for this procurement that includes dates for: 1) Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2 2) Submission Deadline for Stage 2 3) Presentation 4) Evaluation period 5) Award Notification
Estimated timescales as follows.
1. end of April
2. mid May
3. wc 16 May
4. mid – end May
5. end of May
5. Can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
As stated in the advert, work history and presentations will be included as additional assessment methods and shortlisted suppliers will be given further details as part of the written proposal stage.
6. Has any external supplier been involved in the initial scoping work? If so, who?
The internal DLUHC Digital team are well experienced with commissioning and running discoveries, and had no need to call on external experience to write the Statement of Work.
7. Is there an incumbent in place?
See Question 3.
8. Do you expect that the work of the contract will focus on discovery phases or is it likely to include support for Alpha and Beta phases?
Much of the contract is likely to be focused on discovery, but non-digital UCD work beyond discovery might include writing content or testing non-digital proposals with users. We do require the option of supporting digital alphas, but would expect any significant beta to be its own procurement.
9. Do you have any indication of the maximum capacity you would require at any one time through the length of the contract?
This is unknown, given the nature of the contract, but we might have 2-3 Statements of Work (supplier teams of c3-5 people) running concurrently.
10. Does DLUHC have an existing partner for delivering UCD discoveries, or a specific partner in mind for this package?
See Question 3 regarding similar contract awarded in August 2021. We do not have a specific partner in mind.
11. Can you say why price is weighted at 50%, this seems high in comparison to other opportunities?
The weightings reflect the departments considered view as to what is most appropriate for this requirement.
12. Have you set a minimum threshold for for technical competence in terms of your evaluation strategy?
All evaluation criteria/weighting are as detailed in the advert.
13. With regards to Question 5, please define ‘digital service’ in this circumstance.
We are assuming this refers to the 5th Essential Skills and Experience criteria - ‘digital service’ refers to a piece of software likely to be part of a wider ecosystem of support. This question is trying to understand whether suppliers have primarily worked with digital teams/done discovery as the standard required start point of a government transactional service, or whether your teams are also able to/have experience of identifying other solutions to problems and working in non-digital environments.
14. With regards to the deadline date falling on a bank holiday, is it possible to reconsider the deadline to Tuesday 19th April 23:59?
The date is automatically calculated by the Digital Marketplace and cannot be amended.
15. With regards to essential skills n.5, can you please confirm that a non-online database system shared on a service space can be considered a “non digital” service?
We would consider this a digital solution, so it wouldn’t count. We’re looking for an answer such as changing a policy or process, writing or re-writing content, or creating a new group or body.
16. With regards to essential skills n.5, can you please confirm that a non-online database system shared on a service space can be considered a “non digital” service?
We would consider this a digital solution, so it wouldn’t count. We’re looking for an answer such as changing a policy or process, writing or re-writing content, or creating a new group or body.
17. Please could you clarify what you would classify as a “hard-to-find” user research group?
Good answers might include (but are not limited to) users who are not active online, users from very specific socio-economic backgrounds or protected characteristics, users who have interacted with a very specific policy and had a specific result.