This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Monday 13 June 2022
The National Archives

Web Archiving Services: User Needs

3 Incomplete applications

2 SME, 1 large

14 Completed applications

13 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Monday 30 May 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 6 June 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 13 June 2022 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
The National Archives requires an experienced user research team to conduct user research, collate and analyse findings, and deliver documents that outline the various user needs for our web archiving services.
Latest start date
Friday 1 July 2022
Expected contract length
3 to 4 weeks
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Budget range
Up to £15,000 Exc. VAT. Suppliers are requested to provide their rate cards with their submissions. Budget based on rates in the region of £500-£600/day (max.) Exc. VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
A user research project is required to give us insight into current user needs for both our web archiving services and social media archives. The outputs will consist of a report and other material that is GDS/CDDO compatible and follows the guidance set out in the Service Standard , including the best-practice approach in the Service Manual , and the Technology Code of Practice . The National Archives lacks the in-house resource to do this research at present and within the required timescales.

Note that the services in question are live, publicly available services that have been running for many years. See for more information.

We are looking for a supplier who can provide guidance on, and undertake a range of user research activities, to help us better understand user needs and how our service is currently performing.
Problem to be solved
We need to test and update our understanding of the needs of the users of all aspects of our web archiving services. This is so that we can make evidence-based decisions on how best to develop our services to continue to meet these needs.

Web archives are conceptually and technologically distinct from other websites and most other digital services. They provide a variety of web archive-related services to a broad range of users – from capturing of websites and social media through to presenting and enabling use of the archived content. We therefore know that many users, particularly first-time users, have some difficulty understanding how to make the most of the potential of these services and evidence generated through this project will help us to prioritise our work to deliver a more satisfying overall user experience.

The outcome must include a set of concise, evidence-based conclusions set out in a short report, clearly outlining the current user needs for our web archiving services. Included must be an up-to-date set of personas alongside any other relevant material.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Previous user research has shown that our users fall into approximately 6 groups:

Citizen: I need to search, find and read what the government said a few years ago about X so that I can make a point to my friends and put a link on Facebook.

Writer (academic; journalist; etc.): I need to substantiate my claim about something the government said in the past so that I can reference an authoritative source in my article.

Professional services user (lawyer/accountant etc): I need to read the rules that applied at the time of my client’s case, so that I have evidence to appeal against a decision.

Researcher (academic researcher/student): I need to find and read all the published content relating to what government has progressed over the last X years in my policy area so that I can follow developments, identifying drivers and trends.

Press officer: I need to know what my government department said in the past about [topic X] so that I can frame lines to take for my Minister.

Government department content strategist: I need a service that can quickly and accurately archive some old web content so that I can remove it from my website.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have existing research (e.g. reports, personas, usage data, and testimonials), from 2015, that we will share with the appointed supplier.
Existing team
The Web Archiving team at The National Archives consists of a Head of Department, Product Manager, technical staff, including a data analyst, and a number of web archivists.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. Supplier can work remotely but but preferably within the UK/EEA.
Working arrangements
Flexible in terms of days and location of work, as long as the project concludes successfully within the agreed timescale.

Although this has been advertised as a resource, we have checked the role requirements (to the best of our knowledge) using the assessment tool found at and, in our opinion, for the role(s) as advertised the intermediaries legislation does not apply to this engagement (outside IR35).
Security clearance
Baseline security clearance will be required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Supplier will be expected to comply with UK Data Protection legislation and, in particular, will be expected demonstrate the organisational and technical measures it has in place for the secure processing of personal data.

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
  • Significant experience in performing qualitative and quantitative analysis into user needs for digital services.
  • Significant experience in using a range of research methods, depending on context and type of service, in order to generate relevant insights.
  • Demonstrable experience in delivering user research in support of projects in line with the government’s Service Standard, Technology Code of Practice, understanding of the Service Manual and accessibility requirements
  • A strong track record of engaging with users through remote sessions, as well as in person, and capturing and analysing their feedback.
  • Ability to understand and learn the fundamentals of an unfamiliar digital service quickly and convey this understanding confidently to users (TNA's team will provide support with this learning phase)
  • Strong examples of articulating research findings into succinct reports and other relevant outputs, to support understanding and actionable tasks.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Some understanding of web and digital archiving concepts and service

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Describe, using examples, how your experience and expertise can provide the necessary insights, and within the short time period required.
  • Describe, using examples, examples of successful government user research projects.
  • Explain how you propose to collaborate with the specialist team at The National Archives.
  • Describe the outputs to this research project that you expect to produce, and why.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work collaboratively with team members, other stakeholders, users and suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Can work with clients with low technical expertise
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this opportunity an extension of an ongoing project? If not, has any discovery work already been carried out?
The digital service is already a live digital service, which is supported by user needs analysis performed previously. This work will be shared with the appointed supplier.
2. Does the Authority have established or regular user forums that we could engage with?
No, neither for our web archiving services in general, nor for this project.
3. Do you feel it will be necessary to incentivise some users to engage with the research, and if so will this need to be accounted for within the budget?
We have not previously done so for these services. However, it would be a possibility and, if we did do so, we would provide a modest sum to cover it in addition to the published budget.
4. How long was the previous round of user research (2015) which resulted in the evidence you currently have?
It was three months in duration. However, the scope of the project was wider and with a larger budget.
5. Given that you don’t have any established or regular user forums, how were users engaged in the previous research?
Some users responded to our online user survey, indicating that they were happy to take part (NB: we currently have such a survey running – see Other users were found via email correspondence with government departments or through our networks - universities and GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) sector contacts.