This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Friday 12 August 2022
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)

UK SBS DDaT22333 ACAS Service Design Approach to a Channel Strategy copy

9 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 3 large

29 Completed applications

24 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Friday 29 July 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 5 August 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 12 August 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
ACAS is undergoing significant transformation, and while the teams have a common mission, we do not have a well-defined and widely agreed baseline of services. We need an experienced service design team to map our services, scale service design, and build a channel strategy.
Latest start date
Friday 30 September 2022
Expected contract length
8 months with the option to extend to 2 months
Organisation the work is for
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
Budget range
The maximum budget for the initial 8 months is £550,000.00 including VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
There is a lot of change underway in Acas and whilst the teams have a common purpose, there is no clearly defined and agreed baseline of the services which can be used to develop a cohesive solution.

There are inconsistent views on what the customer journeys looks like and teams work in silos, attempting to solve parts of the same problem in different ways, resulting in disjointed outcomes.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that the full end-to-end journey of resolving an employment issue goes beyond the control of Acas.

Our goal is to create a shared view across the entire organisation about whom our users are, their needs, and the services that help them achieve their desired outcomes.
Problem to be solved
Document/map the services in Acas based on what the user is trying to do, defined using verbs not nouns.

Foster a culture of user-centered design when designing service improvement.

Expand service design throughout Acas; users adopt the tools and methods and learn how to use service design to make informed decisions.

Provide the organisation with a unified methodology and aligned capabilities for service design.

Build a community of practice to maintain the unified way of working and facilitate the sharing of new service design knowledge. An internal community is created that, critically, is open about failure and experimentation.

To have a shared view across the entire organisation about whom our users are and their needs – through things like personas. Establish and articulate the channels the different user groups prefer to use to access our services and link those to the service design thereby creating a channel strategy to support service development.

Create a portfolio view of all the services and products which Acas provides, to enable everyone in Acas to understand the needs of our users through intuitive illustrations, data driven user needs and a holistic view of how our service offerings intertwine to deliver them.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As Chief operations officer , I need to understand all my services, how they interact, where they may be improved, so that I can meet our strategic goals (to grow our reach and success, resolve disputes more quickly and efficiently, forge consensus on the biggest challenges facing work, embrace difference, increase inclusion, and create fairness)

As a Service Designer, I need to establish service design within the organisation, so that I can build stakeholder support and buy-in and ensure the success of new services and products

As a Service Designer, I need to document a full list of our services, so that I can understand the scope of service design needed

As a Service Designer, I need to baseline the end-to-end of our services, so that I can measure their current and future efficacy.

As someone working on service improvements, I need to see what research has already been done, so that I don’t duplicate work

As someone working on service improvements, I need a holistic view of users and their needs, so that I can measure success.

As a User Researcher, I need to understand/visualise the end-to-end customer journeys for our personas, so that I can identify/address pain points.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
A service wide discovery of the individual dispute resolution service was completed in early May 2021 which identified the need to develop service design within the organisation. During Alpha of this we carried out an assessment of the current state of service design, which was completed in March 2022 and Private Beta started in April 2022. A service design strategy was created as part of Private Beta and we are now looking to implement that strategy.
Existing team
The existing team includes a service designer. We are additionally expecting to hire an associate user researcher and service designer to shadow and support this work.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote/Windsor House, Victoria St, London
Working arrangements
The supplier team will work 37 hours per week during normal office hours. Acas will supply Office accounts and multi factor authentication to be used on supplier devices.

The project will be remote with regular travel (up to 2 days a week) to London.
Security clearance
All must have BPSS as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Acas Travel and Subsistence policy will apply.

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
  • Demonstrate your experience in service design, particularly in service mapping across internal and external organisational boundaries based on evidence. (25 Points)
  • Demonstrate your experience of embedding service design in an organisation and scaling user centred design to the whole of an organisation. (20 Points)
  • Demonstrate your experience in mapping user journeys, identifying gaps and pain areas, and prioritising fixes. (15 Points)
  • Demonstrate your experience in organising and conducting remote user research including interviews, structured conversations, and collaborative analysis and synthesis workshops. (10 Points)
  • Demonstrate your ability to explain research findings to stakeholders unfamiliar with user-centred design. (10 Points)
  • Demonstrate your experience in developing a clearly articulated channel strategy to support the development of services which meet user needs. (10 Points)
  • Demonstrate your experience in assisting and mentoring less experienced team members. (10 Points)
  • Demonstrate your experience in delivering to compliance standards, including Government Service Standard and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (10 Points
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate your experience in creating user research and service design repositories . (5 Points)
  • Demonstrate your experience of working across technical and policy teams, and supporting a change process. (5 Points)

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate your delivery approach and methodology - including use of agile and user centred design. (30 Points)
  • Outline and develop a plan that will meet user needs and deliver on stated objectives. (15 Points)
  • Demonstrate how you will manage a workstream within a larger programme - identifying risks and dependencies and working with other suppliers and internal colleagues. (15 Points)
  • Demonstrate your understanding of working within a legal framework with associated constraints. (10 Points
  • Describe your proposed team structure and demonstrate Immediate capacity to supply skilled, experienced resources for the following: User Research, Service Design, Delivery Manager) (30 Points)
  • Please provide CV’s (for information purposes only and will not be scored)
  • Case Study - Please provide a case study (1xA4) to show how the resource you are proposing for the project have successfully worked on projects for improved services. (10 points)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Detail your ability to drive your own work, providing direction, coaching and support to other specialists. (30 Points)
  • Describe how you will adopt a collaborative and open approach where mistakes are taken as an opportunity to learn. (15 Points)
  • Demonstrate how you will provide excellent stakeholder management (15 Points)
  • Demonstrate how you will focus on development of Acas team, identifying opportunities for others to participate and learn. (20 Points)
  • Demonstrate how you will be committed to the whole programme success including collaborating to ensure coherence of the whole service design and helping on other works teams. (20 Points)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Case study
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Microsoft Teams Clarifications
A clarifications session via Teams will be held with all shortlisted suppliers after the written proposals have been evaluated to discuss with the suppliers their written proposal, case study and cultural fit. The evaluators reserve the right to amend the scores, if following clarification, it is found that the contents of the written submission do not stand up to scrutiny.
2. 2. Title of the requirement
Please note the correct Title of the requirement is:
"UK SBS DDaT22333 ACAS Service Design Approach to a Channel Strategy"
Please ignore the word "Copy" at the end of the title.
3. Who completed the dispute resolution service discovery and alpha? Was this in-house or undertaken by a supplier(s)?
The discovery was undertaken by Deloitte Digital in February - March 2021 with support from Acas digital and operational teams.. Alpha workstreams ran from August to February the same way with a variety of different suppliers including Axis12, Wyser, Opencast and individual contractors. Two workstreams are now in private beta with Axis12 and Wyser/Opencast.
4. Who is the incumbent?
There is no incumbent supplier.
5. Is there is an incumbent supplier / has any supplier has been involved in the work and development of the specification to date?
Opencast supplied a service designer to assist our in-house designer to pull together findings from across the programme. These findings were the basis for the scope of this opportunity.
6. Who is the incumbent that undertook the previous discovery, alpha and private beta?
There is no incumbent supplier
7. What incumbent suppliers (if any) do you already have providing the required services, and how long have they been involved?
There is no incumbent supplier
8. What resources (roles, quantities, duration etc.) do you anticipate the successful supplier providing?
Minimum a delivery manager, user researcher and service designer for the duration of the project. We are open to supplier recommendations for extra people based on their plans proposed at bid stage.
9. Is this for two fixed roles only – or would you be open to suppliers proposing smaller teams that are outcome-based (e.g. map the services, outline culture & process gaps)?
Please see question 8.
10. The bid mentions a range of goals, both documenting the Service and embedding Service Design within the business. However, it also asks for two roles, a Service Designer and a Researcher. Are bidders welcome to propose an outcome-based scope over 8 months with skillsets to support Service Design roles and achieve your goals?
Please see question 8.
11. For “Demonstrate your experience of working across technical and policy teams, and supporting a change process. ” – are you thinking specifically of experience working across teams as a service designer or UCD specialist?
We are looking for a demonstration that the delivery team has experience designing services across organisational boundaries, engaging with the affected teams and working with policy and operational subject experts. We need a team that can support embedding service design processes within those teams as part of a change management process.
12. Can you say more about the ‘common mission’ or ‘common purpose’ shared by ACAS teams? If not now, will you share more with shortlisted suppliers?
Our common purpose is outlined on our website -
13. If the work can be completed in less than 8 months (+2) will that be satisfactory for ACAS?
The bidders proposed plans can be shorter than 8 months and should be based on your approach to the work
14. Have you published your ‘service design strategy’ anywhere? If not, can you make it available now or will you make it available to shortlisted bidders?
The Service Design strategy will be made available to the shortlisted bidders.
15. What are the existing channels in use today?
The channels used are Website, face to face, email, post, social media.
16. How many ACAS employees are involved in delivering the in-scope services today?
Around 1000 colleagues in total, c750 are In operational roles and the remainder In support functions.
17. What are the major ACAS roles involved in delivering the in-scope services today?
Around 1000 colleagues in total, c750 are In operational roles and the remainder In support functions.
18. What are the major ACAS roles involved in delivering the in-scope services today?
***Please ignore the previous answer tot his question***
The correct one is:
Conciliators and conciliator managers, helpline operators and managers, complaints team, digital team, communications team, trainers and senior advisers, collective conciliators and mediators.
19. Are internal support processes in scope? (ie. HR, finance)
No, they are not. Though where services have a dependency or touchpoint we would want this highlighted so we can make decisions about any next steps.
20. How many external parties are involved in delivering the in-scope service today? (and which services do they interact with?) Do you anticipate that the project team will need to engage with these external parties?
There is a complex multi supplier environment including a range of infrastructure, operational and support contracts for technology services. However user facing service delivery is entirely carried out by Acas members of staff. It is expected that this work will help us understand this further. However, the scope of this work is only within our own organisational boundary; with an ambition in the future to document outside of it.
21. Are there any existing journey maps?
Yes, there are journey maps for conciliation, e-learning, training booking. Their quality and validity have not all been verified and part of this work will consist of reviewing the current information, identifying and filling gaps and ensuring that newly created maps are informed by research and they are consistent.
22. Will we be able to gather data directly from user groups?
Yes, we have a bank of users to research with and can recruit depending on the requirement.
23. Have you collated previous user data / would we be able to utilise this to drive understanding of user needs?
Our current data is partly collated. There are 7 repositories of MI and multiple sources of user needs repositories across Acas and some work has been done to identify what data is held where. Access to this data can be provided. Early research into the our currently documented user needs suggest that we have some inconsistencies and duplication. An expected outcome of this work is the creation of a shared repository of validated research and user needs; at the moment this does not exist.
24. How are teams currently siloed – by service/user group/region etc?
By delivery/functional team and partly by region. There is an on-going operating model change which will move us to a service based organisation. We expect this to be in place during the time that this work will be taking place.
25. Do you have any existing KPIs / strategic roadmap / agreed upcoming new services – if so how well have these been defined?
We have KPIs and a strategic roadmap but we would also seek to sense check these against the findings of this workstream to ensure we are measuring and planning for the right things. Part of this work will be to clarify what each services' KPIs are and their strategies in order to have a share picture of it across the organisation. KPIs are agreed with our sponser department (BEIS).
26. You mention a service design strategy has already been created that you are looking to implement. At a high level what does this consist of, and how heavily will it factor into this piece of work?
A high level view of the problem, an outline of service design and it's benefits and a set of recommended activities. This will be shared at bid stage and we are open to suppliers' own views on the best way to deliver this work. Service design is not mature at Acas and we are looking for design experts to work with us to get the best approach.
27. Is the wider business aware/informed of this activity?
All senior managers with delivery/business teams have been informed. A full comms plan is yet to be developed. We also have 2 new directors will be joining in late September.
28. Is the research conducted as part of the service wide discovery of the individual dispute resolution service completed in early May 2021 available to view now?
We'll make this available to shortlisted suppliers.
29. Workstream – how are you planning to combine the work that your existing team has done or is doing, in line with the new supplier team?
This work will be separate from the current programme, but there will be some of the same Acas team members across both and the successful supplier will of course have access to all relevant programme work including maps, needs and other research and documentation and will be expected to engage with other suppliers where that is necessary to get the best outcomes.
30. What existing structures do you have in place to enable successful collaboration and alignment?
We have communities of practice for delivery, content, product, user research, service design, and tech on the SR programme but these are still in early days. We would wish to roll these out further. We have internal governance boards for managing change and risk to Services, project portfolio, and technology design/procurement. There is a change management function.
31. Can we have access to the research undertaken that has informed your service design strategy?
All relevant research will be provided to the successful bidder.
32. Can you confirm how the points you have against each criteria will be used in coming up with a total score? Will the score for nice to have criteria be used as a tie breaker for example? Will you automatically eliminate any supplier if they score below a certain points threshold on any essential criteria? Or will you still score questions 0-3 but then weight them by the points number?
The scoring will be done as per the process set for this Framework, please refer to the link below that explains the entire process in details for outcomes (we have applied points with our evaluation criteria). The shortlisting process will be as defined in the DOS guidance.