Awarded to Uscreates Ltd

Start date: Monday 8 January 2018
Value: £49,500
Company size: SME
Public Health England

Digital Weight Management

6 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 2 large

13 Completed applications

10 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Tuesday 17 October 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 24 October 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 31 October 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To establish if there are digital interventions that can support overweight and obese children and their families in England, to achieve and maintain a healthier weight. To understand user needs of such digital interventions and, potentially, develop and launch one more interventions.
Latest start date
Tuesday 28 November 2017
Expected contract length
24 Months (For whole project)
Organisation the work is for
Public Health England
Budget range
Up to £49,500 inc. VAT (for Discovery)

About the work

Why the work is being done
The impact of obesity on children, particularly for children in the most deprived areas, is unprecedented with over a fifth of 4-5 year old children overweight or obese, which increases to over a third in 10-11 year olds. This can impact on their immediate and long-term health and well-being. Weight management services, which support adoption of healthier behaviours are an integral part of the cross-sector, system-wide actions that are required to tackle obesity across the life-course.
Problem to be solved
To provide a means to support children and families who are overweight or obese to achieve and maintain a healthier weight through behaviour change. Establishing this on a national footprint could provide a means to support the current fragmented local weight management provision for the treatment of obesity. A focal point of the digital service is to work with families to build, or identify existing approaches, which help provide equitable access to those from the most deprived backgrounds. Such an approach needs to consider solutions to deal with wider influences of behavioural change such as generational attitudes and preferences.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The purpose of the discovery phase is to establish who the users will be and what their needs are. However, the primary groups impacted by this are children & families. Local authorities and healthcare professionals may also need to be considered.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
In August 2016, the Department of Health published ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’ which outlined the government’s strategy to significantly reduce childhood obesity. PHE contributed significantly to developing the plan committing to use its expertise in translating evidence into practice and working with its partners (government; academic; NGO’s; commercial organisation’s; and the health sector) to develop and deliver approaches that will make a difference to preventing and tackling obesity. Online ‘passive’ resources exist that families and adults can access around healthy weight, such as NHS Choices information pages; however, none offer a digital behaviour change approach to weight management.
Existing team
The supplier will work with the Obesity and Healthy Weight Team and the PHE Digital Team. A PHE project group (bringing together subject experts; digital; behavioural insights; evaluation expertise; data science; and social marketing teams) has been set up, and will meet regularly throughout the process. Progress will be reported to the Department of Health in line with the Childhood Obesity Plan reporting arrangements
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The work can be performed from any location, but is likely to be co-ordinated by staff in PHE’s London offices.
Working arrangements
A London based organisation is preferable and the supplier is expected to house their staff. Work may be carried out from multiple locations, including the Supplier’s offices. Attendance at PHE Offices in London will be required for meetings. Supplier staff are expected to be on-site at PHE locations sufficient to manage relationships with senior stakeholders; the exemplar project team and users; and, stakeholders and users in other organisations so that the outcomes of the project may be met. Members of the PHE team would also work occasionally in the supplier’s offices.
Security clearance
Not required, DBS checks will be required where user research with children and families is taking place.

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
  • E1) Recent and demonstrable experience in evaluating whether there are or are not viable digital solutions to meet user needs. Your answer must include links to 2 case studies
  • E2) Recent and demonstrable experience of delivering service design projects with demonstrable outcomes.
  • E3) Recent and demonstrable experience of methods and digital tools designed to be used by a diverse range of users preferably children and families.
  • E4) Recent and demonstrable experience of User Research with children and families.
  • E5) Recent and demonstrable experience of market analysis.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • N1) Recent and demonstrable experience with public sector organisations such as central and / or local government.
  • N2) Recent and demonstrable experience of working with healthcare organisations.
  • N3) Recent and demonstrable experience of delivery within an evidence based policy environment including the development of KPIs and / or other metrics.
  • N4) Experience of working with a group of stakeholders including scientific advisers.
  • N5) Recent and demonstrable of delivering websites, and / or applications and / or games for children and/or families.
  • N6) Recent and demonstrable engagement with hard to reach groups and/or users inclusion of users with limited digital skills.
  • N7) Recent and demonstrable experience of delivering projects that have passed an assessment by GDS or a Governmental Department, showing conformance to the Digital Service Standard including Assisted Digital guidance.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • P1) Proposed approach to Discovery to determine and demonstrate whether one or more digital interventions can be demonstrated to the public health outcomes of this project. (max score: 50)
  • P2) Proposed approach to User Research including children and families in order to meet the outcomes of this project. (max score: 40)
  • P3) Proposed approach to developing KPIs or other metrics that demonstrate the efficacy of a proposed digital intervention suitable for use in an evidence based policy environment. (max score: 20)
Cultural fit criteria
  • C1) Working with the project team’s stakeholders including scientific advisors who have varying experience of agile methods
  • C2) Open innovation that explores a wide range of solutions and conclusions that includes demonstrating the limits of digital interventions; and non-digital solutions.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Does the scope of the Discovery phase include undertaking Market Research with children and families and other relevant groups, or will the actual marker research be the scope of another procurement?
PHE anticipates that market research and additionally user research with children and families will form part of the discovery phase, and will not be procured separately.
2. Will there be separate procurements for the next stages of the project eg Market research, Alpha/Beta/Delivery or will the interventions themselves be trialled, tested and undertaken by either the supplier of the Discovery phase or by the PHE team?
It is anticipated that if the preferred supplier is able to deliver the whole project and PHE is content with this, depending on the outcome of the discovery phase, this procurement will cover all phases. However, this is dependent on a number of factors including the skills of the preferred supplier, the outcome of the discovery phase, and the plan for the full project going forward.
3. What budget has been set aside for the full project ie including the research and interventions?
The budget for the full project is currently set at £144,000. Further consideration of this resource is dependent upon a number of factors, primarily the outcome of the discovery phase
4. Please advise how long you expect the Discovery Phase to take? The requirement lists 24 months for the whole project but doesn't list a timescale for Discovery.
We anticipate that the Discovery Phase will be delivered in 6 - 8 weeks.
5. What will the 24months contract length cover? Is it both for the discovery and development of a new intervention? Or is the discovery to be drawn out over this period to monitor behavioural impact?
The contract length covers discovery>alpha>beta>live. It is anticipated that if the preferred supplier is able to deliver the whole project and PHE is content with this, depending on the outcome of the discovery phase, this procurement will cover all phases including discovery and development. However, this is dependant on a number of factors including the skills of the preferred supplier, the outcome of the discovery phase, and the plan for the full project going forward. PHE does not expect the Discovery Phase to take longer than 6-8 weeks to deliver.
6. Is there a list of existing digital tools that you will provide to us or is it part of the project’s scope to identify the digital tools?
It is part of the project's scope to identify whether digital options are the solution, and if so, what the digital tools should be. PHE will work, as appropriate, with the preferred supplier to consider interoperability with any existing suitable digital tools such as those developed as part of the change4life programme.
7. Could you explain your understanding of the “Recent and demonstrable experience of methods and digital tools designed to be used by a diverse range of users preferably children and families” in more detail?
PHE is looking for experience of working with and use of tools such as websites or applications, where a wide range of demographic factors such as age and socio economic status are considered and involved. It is expected that the supplier will be able to demonstrate how they will meet the specific needs and requirements, as identified by user research, of children and families and previous demonstrable experience of working with these groups is desirable, though not essential.
8. Is there any user research or discovery activity already conducted?
PHE has met with a small number of organisations that are working in digital interventions for weight management in children and families. This will be made available to the preferred supplier.
9. Do you see the intervention to be a digital tool on its own, or mediated through consultation with a healthcare professional, or could it be either?
As this project is in the discovery phase, PHE does not have a position on whether the intervention should be a tool or else. PHE expects the supplier to conduct a Discovery phase to begin following the GDS principle of learning about and understanding user needs. During Discovery the supplier will explore currently available digital options and non-digital options along with the user needs. Going into Alpha, more work will be done on what are the best options to meet the user need.
10. In response to N6, could you explain what you consider to be “hard to reach groups”
Hard to reach groups are typically defined as those who do not engage in the service or are marginalised. Examples may include black and ethnic minority groups and those with low socioeconomic status. PHE will work closely with the preferred supplier in defining target populations to engage through the Discovery Phase.
11. Will the project require ethics committee approval, and if so has this already been granted or do we need to factor into our plans?
Ethics clearance has not been sought, and depending on the research undertaken may have to be factored in to the timescales.
12. Do you foresee discovery research involving monitoring of children and families in their usage of tools, or talking about their past experiences and opinions, or both?
It is anticipated that the research will engage families to understand if and how they might use digital tools, which may involve understanding what they currently use alongside their experiences, rather than monitoring.
13. Will the user research locations be set by Public Health England, and how many locations were you looking to cover?
PHE will work closely with the preferred supplier to define the research locations and ensure a range of users are engaged. Suppliers will need to consider in their bids the range of research locations and users that can be delivered for the defined budget.
14. Does PHE have a pool of users (children & families) available and ready for user research, or will suppliers be required to identify and secure these users for research, as part of the project?
It is anticipated that the supplier will identify users for the research. However, PHE through its networks will support the preferred supplier in undertaking this aspect of the research.
15. Will the preferred supplier receive access to local council data relating to families dealing with obesity, to assist with the Discovery?
There is published and accessible local and national data, which PHE will signpost to the preferred supplier.