Awarded to The Dextrous Web (trading as dxw)

Start date: Wednesday 1 November 2017
Value: £200,000
Company size: SME
NHS England

NHS England Website Development

22 Incomplete applications

20 SME, 2 large

22 Completed applications

21 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Thursday 31 August 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 7 September 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 14 September 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
NHS England website development (wordpress technology)
Latest start date
Wednesday 1 November 2017
Expected contract length
2 years
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
NHS England
Budget range
Budget range £100k - £200k

About the work

Why the work is being done
NHS England has completed Discovery and intends to update the current primary and ancillary websites to meet the Discovery outcome.

The primary technology is wordpress content management and wordpress plug ins.
Problem to be solved
The current NHS England website doesn't meet the requirements identified in the recently completed Discovery exercise.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Identified user groups (priority order may differ depending on website section)

1. Practitioners (health care staff)
2. Communicators (health care)
3. Decision makers (board members CEOs)
4. Academics
5. Experts (medical professional)
6. Service users (specialised commissioning patients and carers)

e.g. As a clinical academic, I need to be able to find published data so that I can analyse health care outcomes
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery is now complete.
Existing team
Discovery was undertaken by Lagom strategy and DXW.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The digital team is based in Leeds however the supplier may work remotely.
Working arrangements
- face to face pre-sprint and post sprint retrospective
- remote daily stand ups during sprints
- all expenses to be pre-agreed with the NHS England
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Contracting shall be undertaken on the basis of identified and agreed BETA sprints

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
  • Proven ability to deliver all the functionality set out in the Discovery output (3)
  • Demonstrable track record in producing useful, responsive and aesthetically pleasing websites (3)
  • Proof of responsiveness of redesign across different devices, including different screen sizes (e.g. tablets and mobiles) (1.5)
  • Proven ability to easily integrate video/photography and a variety of social media channels (1.5)
  • Proven ability to meet Government guidelines, i.e. as a minimum, our service must meet Level AA of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (2.0) (3)
  • Proven experience in wordpress technology (3)
  • The provider must work closely with the hosting and support provider (3)
  • NHS England uses a CDN and multisite setup, this brings unique challenges, the successful bidder must have experience at working with both these functions (3)
  • The provider must be security aware, the website is a government category one responder, as such, resilience and testing is high priority (3)
  • NHS England website should be exemplar, including semantic code (3)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Understand and have previous experience of working with the NHS (3)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • BETA service description (50)
  • BETA high level sprint plan (25)
  • BETA risk register (25)
  • Company case studies (25)
  • Team members and relevant experience (15)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Cultural fit with NHS England (7.5)
  • Quality outcome orientated (7.5)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. to what extent have DXW been involved in Discovery and whether they are going to be bidding?
Lagome are the primary Discovery supplier however input has been sought from DXW as the incumbent hosting and support provider

NHS England cannot share who will be bidding as this information remains commercially confidential
2. With your strong focus on security, please can you confirm your reasoning around using WordPress?
The current website uses wordpress technology and therefore we intend to continue with wordpress technology as part of this development wave.
3. One of the criteria for scoring is "Proven ability to deliver all the functionality set out in the Discovery output". In order to answer that for fair assessment alongside the Discovery supplier, could you make the Discovery Output available please? Thanks
We will aim to issue a summary of the Discovery output within the next few working days.

Those suppliers that are shortlisted will have access to the full Discovery output.
4. Can you please share outputs from the Discovery exercise (slides, report, etc.) so that we can better understand the identified needs and therefore the likely requirements?

Part 1 of a 2 part answer
Part 1 of a 2 part answer

The key Discovery recommendations and observation headers are as follows:
5.1 Health service users are not the primary audience for NHS England digital channels
5.2 Be more like a website and less like an NHS England file repository
5.3 Introduce an appropriate content model
5.4 Implement a new information architecture and navigation systems to make it easier to find content
5.5 Introduce topic collection pages
5. Can you please share outputs from the Discovery exercise (slides, report, etc.) so that we can better understand the identified needs and therefore the likely requirements?

Part 2 of a 2 part answer
Part 2 of a 2 part answer

5.6 Commission content that meets user needs
5.7 Hook > snapshot > full detail
5.8 Improve the site’s search experience
5.9 Improve objective setting and evaluation for digital content
5.10 Start archiving documents ASAP
5.11 Social media
5.12 Take the bulletin emails to the next level
5.13 Move to a model of continuous user research and iteration

These Discovery output headers should provide a high level overview of the BETA requirement.
6. Could you please confirm that the website is ''. What are the ancillary websites?
This is the correct website address.

Microsites of that domain such as will need to be included.

References to ancillary websites equate to Microsites.
7. Please confirm that you are seeking a service that provides incident support as well as development and on-going change?
Yes we are, however website hosting & support is not included in this tender.
8. Regarding change, what is your estimate of monthly time required to develop and deploy changes on your current run rate?
We would expect all work to be carried out using agile methodology, run over 2 week sprints. We are looking for the supplier to work as a trusted partner to help us plan the timescales for deliverables based on sprint planning sessions.
9. We assume that content production is not required and that this will come from the in-house web team, or will you require assistance from time to time? e.g. with GIFs, banner images, infographics, etc.?
This is correct and NHS England will produce these in-house.
10. Could you please specify number of website page for the site(s)?
11. Is there an incumbent? Can you say why you are not renewing with them?
Previous development work has been undertaken by DXW. As this is a new wave of development work we are required to competitively procure the requirement as per standard government practice.
12. Will the incumbent (or in-house team) provide support to the transition? How much time are they contracted to provide to the transition support? Will there be access to the incident history from the current ITSM?
The incumbent supplier/ NHS England will support transition from Discovery to BETA.

Shortlisted suppliers will be expected to outline what transition support they envisage as part of their tender response including access to the incident history from the current ITSM.
13. What documentation exists and will it be made available to the new supplier?
All Discovery output will be made available to shortlisted suppliers invited to tender.
14. What is the size of the current incumbent team and breakdown of their skills?
Shortlisted suppliers invited to tender will be given further information in this regard.
15. Are you happy to use JIRA for project workflow?
We have not used JIRA, but are willing to explore and consider.
16. Where is the current site hosted? On-premise or cloud?
17. What monitoring is accessible to the supplier, e.g. Azure Monitor, Log Analytics?
We are currently tendering for a new hosting contract, so this will be made available at a later date (as the hosting platform may change).
18. Do you use Google Analytics, and will the supplier be expected to maintain this?
Other than including embed code in templates, no.
19. Does the budget range include VAT and is it for the two years?
The budget range is provided on an indicative basis and experienced suppliers should be better able to cost the development once they have sight of the tender documentation.
20. Does the budget include the Discovery objective, “Move to a model of continuous user research and iteration”? If so, what is the expected proportion set-aside for this?
The indicative budget range is for BETA & Live and excludes Discovery costs.
21. Does the 1 Nov start date mean commencement of support, i.e. takeover from incumbent, or the start of the transition? If the former, how much time has been budgeted for transition?
The 1st Nov date will naturally involve a transition from Discovery Phase into BETA.

Once NHS England share the tender we will request that suppliers advise on the requested transition period and associated costs within their tender responses.
22. The provider must work closely with the hosting and support provider Who would the hosting and support provider be?
DXW is the incumbent hosting and support supplier. Please note we are currently in the process of tendering hosting and support and the provider may change as a result.
23. Question 4 - BETA service description (50) BETA high level sprint plan (25) BETA risk register (25) These can be put together only after receiving the Discovery requirements. How would NHS evaluate a vendor at this stage based on the above?
The shortlisting process under DOS is as follows:
a) Buyer posts opportunity possibly setting a maximum threshold of suppliers to be shortlisted (in this instance its 3)
b) Suppliers respond if they meet the advertised requirements
c) If there are more responses than the number advertised for shortlisting then the Buyer evaluates the responses and may need to request further evidence
d) Buyer shortlists upto maximum threshold and invites shortlisted suppliers to tender
e) The tender documentation provides the detail for the supplier to provide a detail response
24. In the essential requirements section you ask for a "Proven experience in Wordpress Technology". As Wordpress is a CMS based system, would you consider also other similar CMS system like Drupal?
We have a complex Wordpress setup, so on this occasion we are specifically looking for Wordpress experience.
25. Can you please explain the multi-site set up that is envisaged?
There are currently 17 sites on our multisite
26. What systems, policies and procedures do you have for maintaining AA website accessibility standards within the editorial workflow - ie where content is added or updated by internal teams? Is it safe to assume the supplier will be responsible for AA compliance across the whole site or only within the website theme/s code? We want to establish what overhead may be required to supervise content teams, on a support basis, to avoid compliance issues across the many pages (and documents) within the site.
The supplier will be responsible for the theme / code. The in-house team will be responsible for content.
27. How many instances are within the multi-site setup, do you see that increasing, decreasing or staying roughly the same?
17 however, this may vary slightly either way.
28. How many admin users are there, how are they organised? ie default user roles or have these been modified, if so how? Can you give any detail on this?
23 admins and 146 users with default roles. However only 6 named contacts will be in touch with support, with 1 main service manager
29. How many plugins have been installed, are any custom built or are they all public? Where they are custom built is here documentation available for them?
This is disclosed in the specification that will be issued to shortlisted suppliers.
30. Is all content on the website public or is there any behind a login / password? Will this remain the same, or does the output of discovery indicate the need for any gated content?
Public access. New sections that are in development is the only content sitting behind a login.
31. What search tool is currently deployed, are there any specific recommendations for improvement? Are you considering any licensed products?
Google search, however this product is being withdrawn and a new like-for-like search system must be enabled by the supplier
32. Most of the outputs from Discovery point to revised content strategy and content design. Will the supplier be required to input on these aspects, or simply redefine the UX around a revised IA and implement the technology? If so can you give a rough distribution of effort you expect across: Content, UX and Development.
Full discovery will be shared with shortlisted suppliers, however we would expect the supplier to work with us to plan sprints to deliver the discovery findings.
33. Do you have any examples of the bulletin emails, so we can understand the level they are at right now and what the next level may be?
Bulletins are not part of this tender
34. Will this contract cover the distribution of emails, or just the content / template design? If so can you give details about how emails are distributed, how lists are segmented and what systems are used for email as things stand?
Bulletins and emails are not part of this tender
35. Please help with the size of the Site with respect to No of Pages planned. -No of Static Pages -No of Dynamic Data Driven Pages
There are currently 2536 pages, 1647 posts
36. 11. Please provide info on Data and User Volumes -No of concurrent users planned at any given point of time -Data Volumes by content – text, images, Videos -No of years data to be retained
12,000,000 User Per annum.

As a government site, data is archived to national archives.
37. Please provide planned NFR (Non Functional Requirements) -Responsive Pages needed? -Target rendering devices -Availability requirements -Performance requirements -Localization / Globalization, if so how many languages planned for?
Shortlisted suppliers shall receive this information via the specification.
38. What are the government guidelines the application should meet?
All development must meet all digital by default guidelines as well as WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines
39. Any specific hosting environment to publish the website?
The hosting and technical support is not part of this tender
40. Do we need to integrate with Social media?
Only via sharing plugins and plugins to display latest tweets, hashtags etc.
41. Do we need to create the videos / audio / any other assets?
42. Do we need to provide multiple themes or single theme?
Multiple, as required.
43. Do we need to integrate with any RSS feeds?
The site will need to produce RSS feeds
44. Is there an existing pattern library / style guide for the website? For example the NHS Frontend Library - If so, would we build on this or replace it?
Yes, NHS England has an in-house style, this has some variations from the main NHS style.
45. Will you support / direct an agile pm methodology, or do you want us to direct the pm methodology of the project?
There will be a shared pm as part of one agile team with methodology to be agreed with the successful supplier.
46. Who on your team will be contributing to the project, e.g. researchers, project managers, writers etc. and how best can we work with them?
Depending on the task, we may bring in external assistance (for example user research). In house we have style and content experts. We would expect the supplier to work with us on the best use of resources to deliver the objectives.
47. Is the chosen supplier required to do any content migration across the network into new sites / structures?
This may be required occasionally, however we are expecting the supplier to use the existing structure.
48. After the closing date for applications (14 Sept), can you please let me know the process through to supplier selection and the dates you are working to (e.g. initial shortlisting, further evidence submitted, final decision date).
Once the opportunity posting closes we will aim to complete shortlisting within 2 weeks ( all dependent on number and quality of responses). Please note that if we need to go through requesting vasts amounts of evidence the shortlisting process could stretch beyond this.

We are currently aiming to shortlist by the 29/09/17. The tender will be issued the week after.
49. Will there be the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting or pitch for the shortlisted suppliers?
Yes - the process once we issue the tender will be outlined in the documentation and includes a face to face presentation.
50. Can you share any further details on the Discovery output to assist our application in this initial stage? Or will this be supplied to the 3 shortlisted suppliers?
The information we have disclosed should enable suppliers to assess whether they are a good fit for this opportunity and respond to this opportunity if appropriate.

Only once a supplier has been shortlisted will they receive the secondary detail within the tender submission.
51. Can you share any further details on the Discovery recommendations for improving your bulletin emails?
Bulletins are not in scope
52. Are you looking for help or recommendations on writing new content for key pages across the site?
53. As part of the initial Discovery phase how much user testing have you run on the NHS England website?
A full discovery with all identified NHS England stakeholder groups was carried out including surveys, workshops and lab sessions. Full details will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
54. You note the main NHS England website and all ancillary, or microsites, are included in this contract. Can you supply a list of website URLs for these ancillary sites?
As previously answered, there are currently no other URLs, the microsite fall under the same domain i.e.
55. Has an GDS aligned Alpha been completed? If so who by? If not, why go straight to Beta?
This is development work for an existing website so technical options appraisal and prototyping is not a relevant workstage
56. Has any of the Discovery recommendation you have listed in previous answers already been done, and if so which ones?
The discovery outcomes we have advised on are yet to be delivered - further detail on specifics will be provided to shortlisted suppliers.