This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Friday 1 December 2017
Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service

HMCTS User research participant recruitment in Southern England and Wales

1 Incomplete application

1 SME, 0 large

1 Completed application

1 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Friday 17 November 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 24 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 1 December 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Recruitment of participants across southern England and Wales for discovery and user testing to support the HMCTS Reform Programme. Participants will take part in research for projects delivering a wide range of justice services and will therefore need to be representative of the users of such services.
Research dates
Ongoing research to support the HMCTS Reform Programme from January 2018 to – December 2019
Organisation the work is for
Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service
Budget range
£85,000 per 12-month period, £170,000 estimate for the 2-year contract term

About the work

Early market engagement

About the research

Description of your participants
HMCTS’s Reform Programme has now entered its second year of transforming the justice system and requires access to research participants to drive that transformation. It includes a number of projects intended to improve the experience/efficiency of the administration of justice across Civil, Family, Tribunals (CFT), and Crime jurisdictions. Projects are generally focused on specific services within the justice system, although there are cross-cutting/experiential activities that also require user-research to inform/influence their design/development.

The Programme requires participants for project-related research who are likely to be:
• Users (currently/former) of CFT and/or Criminal justice services in southern England and Wales
• Legally-qualified or professional users such as solicitors, experts in probate, accountants.
• Ordinarily on a spectrum of digital ability, from expert users to those who have little or no experience of using digital services. In some cases, researchers may wish to specify narrower requirements. For example, a round of research involving users with reduced digital-ability.

Users of our services may include grieving/vulnerable users so shoud be recruited ethically and sensitivity. Participants should have a good understanding of the service they are being recruited to test, what it will entail, how their data will be handled, and possible requirements around non-disclosure.
Assisted digital and accessibility requirements
Specific participant requirements will be determined according to the needs of each project.
However recruitment could be required for participants with
-- Usage of assistive technologies to access digital services.
-- Requirements for non-digital support to access digital services.
-- Cognitive and/or learning disabilities.
-- Motor skills impairments.
-- Visual impairments.
-- Auditory disabilities.
Research plan
There are expected to be 15 projects involving user research at any one time. These are best estimates as scheduling is subject to change.
Projects in flight or initiating from now-Sept 2019 cover the following jurisdictions:
• Crime (for example Bail & Remand)
• Civil (for example Civil Money Claims)
• Family (for example Divorce)
• Tribunals (for example Immigration Appeals)

Projects follow the GDS’s sequence of Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live, with participants required for each phase.
Projects determine research methods, but to date have used:
-- Usability and accessibility testing
-- Interviews and focus groups
-- Observation/contextual enquiry
Research location
Based on current estimates, face-to-face research would be undertaken with participants in the following conurbations:

Face-to-face research may also take place with participants in:

Participants living in rural areas in southern England and Wales are also required, but would typically be researched via telephone. There may be some requirements for home visits.
Access restrictions at location
Labs for face-to-face research will be selected based on accessibility, although we cannot assure that they are completely suitable (e.g. equipped with hearing loops, accessible for wheelchair users, etc.).
Number of research rounds
It is anticipated that there will be approximately 100 rounds of research in each 12 month period
Number of participants per round
Digital projects:
-- minimum of 5 participants per round
Non-digital projects:
-- minimum of 5 participants per round
Spares may be required depending on participant attendance / mis-recruits in previous rounds of research

There may occasionally be a need to engage with individual participants outside of a full round of research (for example, to speak with hard to reach individuals who are not able to participate in a scheduled day of lab-based interviews).

Research will ordinarily be conducted during business hours, but there will be an occasional need to engage with both professionals and citizens during evenings and weekends.
How often research will happen
Digital projects
-- Round of research every 2 weeks
Non-digital projects
-- Discovery-only projects: between 1 and multiple times per week
-- Other projects: every 2 weeks
Evening or weekend research

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The Supplier shall invoice once a month for all services provided in the previous monthly period. The invoice shall be accompanied by supporting data for all research sessions booked.
In the event of a no show from a participant the invoice shall be reduced by the appropriate amount for that particpant.

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
  • Representativeness: Ability to recruit participants from desired segmentations in southern England/Wales. 1)Define and execute screening activities to identify appropriate participants and exclude inappropriate ones. 2)Sift out repeat and/or “professional” participants
  • Agility: Ability to respond to project timelines and changing priorities. 1) Recruit participants at short notice (2 weeks lead time) 2) Replace unsuitable/inappropriate participants at short notice
  • Recruitment channels: Have experience of recruiting participants via digital and non-digital channels. Built networks and relationships with community and other groups in southern England and Wales
  • Risk assessment: Experience of risk assessing participants based on historical data and planned research method
  • Participant management: Experience of end to end management, including creating and managing communications, allocation/distribution of incentives to participants (including unbanked), manage and track participant scheduling across locations and timescales
  • Participant management: Experience of recruiting ’floater’/stand-in participants to allow for substitutions when participants do not attend research sessions.
  • Participant management: Experience of recruiting and managing a panel (or panels) of participants
  • Participant management: Experience of list and incentive management (for when participants have been recruited directly by HMCTS)
  • Reach: Experience of recruiting participants from southern England and Wales (as per “Location”) for large-scale programmes, including managing logistics of research days where significant travel is required for the researcher.
  • Data management: Ability to store and share participant data securely
  • Hard-to-reach participants: Experience of recruiting participants in southern England and Wales who do not access digital services or have limited experience of digital services
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Professional users: Experience of recruiting participants who work as legal professionals (solicitors, barristers) or as trained specialists within organisations who support the legal process e.g. probate
  • Hard-to-reach participants: Ability to recruit participants with cognitive/learning disabilities, motor skills impairments, visual impairments and auditory disabilities, requiring assistive technology, previous defendants, primary language is not English, no fixed address
  • Recruitment for government research: Experience of recruiting participants to take part in research for central Government
  • Recruitment for government research – experience of recruiting participants to take part in research for central Government
  • Complex use cases: Ability to recruit participants who have or have had multiple linked or separate interactions with the Courts & Tribunals Service (either concurrently or over time)
  • Reach: Experience of recruiting participants from elsewhere in England, Wales and Scotland

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • How the supplier’s approach to recruitment ensures a representative sample of participants
  • How the recruitment strategy will enable the HMCTS Reform Programme to secure appropriate participants for individual projects (both digital and non-digital)
  • The proposed approach to recruiting participants, including proposed approach to recruit hard-to-reach participants, and how the approach enables recruitment of these participants
  • The supplier’s responsiveness to changes in requirements and ability to work with projects operating within an Agile environment
  • How the supplier identifies and responds to risks and issues with required participant characteristics
  • The proposed approach to managing and scheduling participants
  • Evidence of building and sustaining relationships with local community groups and other agencies as routes to recruitment of a broad range of participants
  • Evidence of using non-digital channels for reaching and recruiting participants with low levels of digital inclusion and low levels of confidence for engaging with digital channels
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence






Questions asked by suppliers

1. If an invoice is submitted on the first day of a month for all the services provided in the previous month, when will it be paid?
Invoices are paid in accordance with the DOS payment terms (see clause 8.1) which state 'within 30 days of receipt of a valid invoice'. HMCTS have included this additional term to reduce the number of invoices. For example if we had 6 booking in one month we would prefer to receive one invoice as opposed to six.
2. Do you have an incumbent supplier or is this a new requirement?
Yes we have an incumbent supplier. We currently have in place one national contract that covers England and Wales. This re-tender is for two contracts with a North South divide as our needs are growing in volume.
3. What is meant by unbanked incentives?
Paying incentives to participants who do not have a bank account and/or are unwilling to receive their incentive via a BACS transfer.
4. What is meant by "Experience of risk assessing participants"? What risks are to be assessed?
An ability to evaluate whether a potential participant is suitable for the proposed research session. We are looking for an ability for a provider to be able to assess risks that may either harm the participant or decrease the validity of the research session.
5. On average, what proportion of participants are expected to be fully able, assisted digital or have access needs? Would the proportions be different for digital and non-digital projects?
Our research and sampling methods aim to be representative of our users.
The proportion of participants who should have assisted digital needs eg low digital inclusion, will differ depending on the service being tested. For example, Social Security and Child Support appeal applicants have a high proportion of AD users and therefore our research participants should reflect that."
6. On average, what proportion of participants are expected to be fully able, assisted digital or have access needs? Would the proportions be different for digital and non-digital projects?
The proportion of users with access needs similarly will depend on the service being tested.
As a benchmark we use official stats to base our sampling frames if we don't know initially how many of our users per service will have access needs or AD needs.
This approach would not differ if the project is digital or non digital. We still require representative samples. It's particularly relevant for our digital-services that we support users unable to use a computer or have no access to one. These users must be part of our user recruitment for research."
7. Will you set the incentive levels or will that be left to the supplier? If you are setting the level, what will it be for users of CFT and for legally-qualified or professional users?
We will work with the supplier to set sensible incentive levels based upon the expertise of the supplier in providing incentives. At present we work at a basic rate of £50 per a hour for a CFT user. For professional users we have paid an incentive of £75 per an hour.
8. Could you please clarify who are 'Users (currently/former) of CFT and/or Criminal justice services'? Also how are they currently accessing CFT software and criminal justice services?
People who have used or are using the courts and tribunals service to resolve a legal matter. Majority of the interactions with the courts is through paper, telephone and physical channels. There a few legacy digital channels that are used.
9. You mentioned 15 projects can happen at the same time. Do you mean 75 participants need to be recruited every two weeks?
Yes that is a possibility, however the flow of work changes over time so during some periods there will be less demand.
10. You say weightage of availability is only 20%. Does it mean the contracted supplier can say no to a proposed recruitment from HMCTS?
The weighting allocated to availability is the evaluation criteria split out of 100% e.g. technical competence (50%), price (30%) and availability (20%). The scoring of availabity is based on the suppliers ability to evidence that they are able to provide partipants within the timescales as set out in the requirements. So suppliers that can demonstrate and evidence that they are able to provide the number of participants within the timescales are more likely to receive a higher weighted score out of the 20% allocated.
11. What happens if the supplier couldn't deliver research participants on the expected date after contracting?
The reform programme is a large transformational programme and we are seeking a supplier with the capacity and experience to deliver against the requirements as published. We understand that the Hard to Reach User Participants may on occasion be harder to source and we will aim to provide as much notice as possible to support the supplier in sourcing these user groups. If the successful supplier fails to deliver and this continued to happen then we would terminate the contract in accordance with the DOS terms and conditions on termination and go back out to market for a replacement supplier.
12. What type of flexibility do you offer suppliers during recruitment? For example, flexible research dates, advance plans of research dates and so on.
Setting up a round of research is a negotiation between the researcher and recruiter. There is an expectation that the needs of the researcher will be met within reason. Dates need to be fixed when we are using a research lab facility. We will aim to share forward looking research plans.
13. What are the known difficulties that you undergo while recruiting?
We encounter difficulties in recruiting certain groups of participants that represent people who have been defendants, people with lower digital skills and people in more rural areas.
14. Have you had delays in recruitment by current supplier? If so, how did you address them?
It would not be appropriate to comment on the performance of our current supplier. This is by no means a reflection on their performance.

In the event on a delay we would deal with these on a case by case basis as our user recruitment needs are variable.