Awarded to Mercator IT Solutions

Start date: Thursday 1 February 2018
Value: £8,000,000
Company size: SME
HM Revenue and Customs

Digital Delivery of HMRC services in DDC Worthing and DDC London - Design and User Research

8 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 3 large

15 Completed applications

8 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Thursday 9 November 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 16 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 23 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We expect to see the following design and User Research roles to be covered by the supplier
Content Designer
Interaction Designer
Service Designer
User Researcher
Latest start date
Wednesday 31 January 2018
Expected contract length
2 years
Organisation the work is for
HM Revenue and Customs
Budget range
The contract will be to backfill the work current being undertaken by 28 designers and user researchers in London & Worthing DDCs. There will be Statements of Work broken down in to 6 weekly periods which we expect to cost no more than £8m for the 2 year lifespan of the contract.

About the work

Why the work is being done
HMRC are strengthening their digital offering, linking many new and existing systems allowing more consistent and responsive provision of services over the web, as well as integrated end-to-end services across channels.
Each service development has its own requirements based on user needs which will enhance user experience and compliance whilst striving towards HMRC's digital and organisational goals.
We require a supplier who can add value to this development through the provision of suitably skilled Design and User Research roles to work in Scrum Teams alongside existing HMRC teams and others.
This is for the London & Worthing Digital Delivery Centres.
Problem to be solved
HMRC's Digital Strategy is to accommodate the majority of interaction with customers through digital self-service. This will reduce the nation's tax gap through making the UK's tax system more transparent and reduce overheads involved in supporting such a system. HMRC require a partner to deliver the user-centred design capability and outputs for new and improving digital services meeting Government Digital Service standards. This will include (but not limited to) user centred design and user research incorporating work in scrum teams and delivering in phased sprints. This will be done through outcome based statements of work for a variety of programmes.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Every adult in the UK is a potential user, in an individual capacity, or as part of a business or other type of organisation. Other user groups include Agents (e.g. tax agents, accountants, reporting agents), trusted helpers for individuals and internal users.
We design and develop services that encourage and facilitate users to use digital channels. We also design for accessbility and incorporate services to assist users who are unable to to use digital channels. Our services reduce the tax gap through making it easier for users to do the right thing, and reduce contact costs through automating the interaction.
Early market engagement
We ran an event open to all interested Suppliers on 13 September 2017. This event gave suppliers an insight in to what we do in HMRC Digital and how we work to bring user-centred services to life. We asked for supplier views on how best to offer the requirements to maximise the number and quality of bids. The feedback on this was varied, with most suppliers putting forward ideas on national vs local requirements.
Attendees included both suppliers already providing us with technical and non-technical resource and suppliers we have yet to work with.
Any work that’s already been done
We have services under development in various Agile stages. We also have services which have successfully transferred into the Live environment that we are looking to iterate and improve. Iteration is both user driven and in response to legislative change.
HMRC has multiple projects running at different stages of the service design lifecycle. The successful supplier would be required to be flexible enough to provide specialists to support projects at each stage.
Existing team
There are currently a number of teams working on these services. The successful supplier team will work with these existing capabilities (from other suppliers as well as HMRC staff). A part of the role of the supplier will be to assist HMRC in growing its own capability and we will expect a level of support for our staff who come at all levels from apprentice through to senior management. Team members will participate in their discipline community within HMRC (Design or User Research) with a view to contributing and knowledge-sharing across that community.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
DDCLondon Dorset House 27-45 Stamford Street London
DDCWorthing Barrington Road Worthing
HMRC is transforming into a modern tax authority, equipped for the future needs of customers. This means it will become a smaller, more digital and more highly-skilled organisation. Our location at Dorset House in London is set to close in March 2018 and will be relocating mainly to Canary Wharf but also moving some of our in-flight projects to Worthing.
Working arrangements
Work collaboratively with existing cross functional Agile Teams transforming Digital services across the Centre.
On site 5 days (40 hours) per week collaborating with the wider team unless work commitments require work to be done elsewhere
A flexible approach agreed between the successful supplier in each SoW throughout the life of the contract. We may be open to other working arrangements as the relationship develops.
Responsible for travel and expenses to normal workplace. Travelling expenses will be in line with those in place for HMRC as a whole.
The successful supplier will adhere to the Civil Service code of conduct.
Security clearance
The supplier must ensure each individual supplied to us has BPSS security clearance and on occasion there may be a requirement for SC dependent on the particular needs of a project.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The supplier will have had experience working to Government Digital Standards. The supplier will provide HR management support to each individual resource. Any capability or behaviours concerns will be raised by HMRC to the supplier, who will then need to act on these. HMRC will have the right to move an individual off of the account if standards of capability or behaviour are breached. The supplier will accept that liability lies with the contractor for work undertaken.

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
  • Have demonstrable experience of providing relevant skills, roles and resources against a variety of design and user research roles required in an agile Scrum Team.
  • Have demonstrable experience of collaborative working with a client's ‘in-house’ teams, including coaching and mentoring, and knowledge sharing
  • Have demonstrable experience of successfully developing services using a pragmatic Agile approach.
  • Have demonstrable experience of scaling up and down teams to accommodate either new requirements or changes within the delivery pipeline.
  • Have demonstrable experience of providing additional and/or value added activities when acting in the role of a partner supplier to an organisation
  • Previous significant multi-team contract within large organisation in the last two years (more than 4 teams, comprising more than 20 people over more than 6 months) working in agile scrum.
  • Supplier will have demonstrable experience of creating end-to-end user journeys, using evidence and user research findings to create easy to use services from complex policy.
  • Supplier will have demonstrable experience updating and reviewing content in association with user journeys, working with the GDS Style Guide and Plain English.
  • Supplier will have demonstrable experience of prototyping in HTML using the GOV.UK prototype toolkit ( and
  • Supplier will have demonstrable experience of designing to level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (
  • Supplier will have demonstrable experience of using design and user research to develop services which adhere to the UK Government’s Digital Service Standards (
  • Supplier will have demonstrable experience of ensuring outcomes are aligned with service vision and business strategy, contributing to the link between current and future business models/delivering to the business architecture.
  • Supplier will have demonstrable experience of mapping, blueprinting and developing integrated service designs based on evidence of user needs and organisational outcomes.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Supplier would ideally have had a significant multi team contract with a public sector body.
  • Experience of working on a multi-active cloud platform using open source software that includes Mongo DB, Github, Jenkins, Selenium, coded in SCALA

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Design and User Research capability as demonstrated in their portfolio/written examples, and required at interview.
  • Approach and methodology.
  • Ability to provide local resource and scale up or down as required, with examples.
  • HR support and capability.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Able to start work immediately
  • Have excellent communication skills with staff at all levels of the organisation
  • Adhere to HMRC's Code of Conduct
  • Will take responsibility for their work
  • Be willing to collaborate and partner, including with other suppliers and HMRC staff at all levels.
  • Proactively share knowledge and experiences with members of team, especially with junior HMRC staff.
  • Be innovative and promote ideas and suggestions as applicable
  • Focus on achieving value for money in all activities
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is the work inside ir35?
HMRC consider that this work will be provided outside of the IR35 legislation. However, each statement of works will be considered to ensure it meets the fully contracted out service necessary to maintain this status.