Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)

ACAS Digital Advisory Service: Beta

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
2 SME, 2 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
5 SME, 1 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Monday 20 November 2017
Deadline for asking questions Monday 27 November 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Monday 4 December 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Acas require a highly skilled, collaborative supplier with experience in delivering to the GDS Service Standards to work on its Beta project. This will look at navigation and content of our digital advice and builds on Discovery and Alpha work which resulted in Axure prototypes, underpinned by extensive user research.
Latest start date Monday 29 January 2018
Expected contract length 20 Wks (16 wks private beta, 4 wk public beta handover to Acas team) option to extend for 2 wks
Location London
Organisation the work is for Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
Budget range £360,000 - £400,000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done Acas completed discovery/alpha end October 2017 looking at our digital advice/guidance service with the vision: “Every employee and employer knows the best next step to prevent or cure their workplace problem”. We now require a specialist agile team to work with us in the Beta phase to help achieve: increase user satisfaction for our service, increase use of our online guidance to self-serve, reduction of ‘information only’ helpline calls, increase ratio of web visits to calls and improved user experience for mobile and tablet. This will support Acas’ wider aims:
Problem to be solved Users need to find and understand advice to solve their workplace problems. We anticipate this would include:
•Design/build responsive service: start page, taxonomy, navigation/search, information architecture and CMS templates.
•Content design for two topic areas prototyped in alpha (redundancy/holiday) then apply learnings to new topic area to validate templates.
•Wordpress CMS adapted for Acas workflows, hosting and test environments.
•Develop Acas look and feel– our service will not be on
•Build and measure KPIs on an open performance platform.
•Set standards for QA for the service and build/carry out appropriate automated testing.
•Pass GDS beta assessment.
•Agile capability building.
Who the users are and what they need to do Example user stories: As an employee I want to know what my redundancy rights are so that I know if I am being treated fairly. As an employer who needs to make staff redundant I need to know the right way to do this so that I can plan my steps.
As a HR advisor I want to calculate the correct amount of holiday pay an employee is entitled to so that I know they are getting the correct amount.
As an Acas CMS user I need to publish content so that I can keep the service up to date.
Early market engagement NA
Any work that’s already been done Discovery conducted Nov-Dec 2016, Alpha Aug-Nov 2017. What we found:
•Users needed more detailed signposting to identify where they were within the service and within advice topics
•Content must be in plain language, with a formal tone without ambiguous words.
•Particular topics such as redundancy needed to be divided into separate content for employers and employees.
•Content hierarchy was very important and most asked advice needed to be clear on the page and then edge cases covered in accordions later on.
•Accessible and assisted digital users had unique needs and this required development of the Acas look and feel.
Existing team In house team: 1 x Service Owner (F/T), 1 X Product Manager (F/T). 1 x Content Designer (F/T). There will also be a number of Acas staff on secondment in the project to be paired with the contractor team for upskilling. In house team does not have any experience of beta.
Current phase Beta

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Euston Tower, 286 Euston Rd, Kings Cross London, NW1 3DP
Working arrangements The team are required to be co-located with the team in London, Monday-Friday office hours. Acas can account for occasional off-site working– to be agreed. The project will operate a standard agile scrum methodology: daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprints, demos, retrospectives, show and tells. The supplier will need to lead by being a role model in agile working. They will need to collaborate with our team and invest time in knowledge sharing and coaching to increase the capability of Acas staff. The supplier will be responsible for recruiting user research participants as part of the bid, please include recruitment costs.
Security clearance Baseline Personnel Security Standard clearance required.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions NA

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Experience of delivering digital services using an agile scrum team (as in the GDS Service Manual) that meet the GDS Service Standard have passed GDS Beta Service Assessments (12.5%)
  • Expertise in user research and usability testing and take into account Discovery/alpha findings to meet user needs (including assisted digital, accessible users and accessibility audits) (12.5%)
  • Experience in leading an agile team as well as to coach, mentor and upskill people in agile techniques and roles to build capability within existing (12.5%)
  • Expertise in successfully developing Wordpress CMS including user-friendly staff-facing interfaces, responsive templates, site publishing tools, front-end and UI web development (12.5%)
  • Expertise in developing production ready open source code for private/public Beta releases from Discovery and Alpha outputs (e.g. low-fi/hi-fi prototypes) and use of GitHub (12.5%)
  • Demonstrate skills and expertise in automated (testing) environments and implementing continuous integration, delivery & deployment. (12.5%)
  • Experience in building open performance platforms to measure KPIs for a service and use metrics, analytics, data and user feedback to create and prioritise key content and features (10%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Skills and expertise to create formalised plans to manage and proactively engage with complex internal stakeholder relationships to support digital transformation. (7.5%)
  • Skills and expertise to deliver work on a non-transactional content based service and create transitions plans for releasing beta content and features in conjunction with an existing legacy website. (7.5%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Proposal – demonstrate how the approach or solution will meet user needs, including assisted digital and accessible users (12.5%)
  • Proposed approach – identify methodology that will lead to project success, taking into account discovery/alpha findings, further user research/ testing, GDS assessment and transition planning for public beta (20%)
  • Technical solution–demonstrate your approach to developing open source production ready code, user-centred Wordpress CMS, building in quality assurance/testing, setting up hosting environments and creating an open performance platform (22.5%)
  • Team structure - with roles, responsibilities and previous relevant experience (20%)
  • Estimated timeframe for the work – demonstrate how work will be organised using sprints and how the transition planning from private to public beta will lead to project success (15%)
  • Value for money (5%)
  • Risks and dependencies – with approaches to manage them (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate your approach to engaging with internal senior stakeholders undergoing cultural change and how this will support project success (50%)
  • Demonstrate how you will work transparently, collaboratively and share your approach with the Acas project team and seek actionable feedback (50%)
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Following this shortlist stage, what is your anticipated timescale for the second stage of the tender, given that Christmas holidays are approaching? The second stage will include request for a written proposal and presentation. It is anticipated that shortlisted suppliers will be contacted on 8th December 2017 and invited to submit a written proposal, with a deadline of 12th January 2018. The Presentation is anticipated to take place on 18th January 2018.
2. Proposal criteria asks for - quoting "Technical solution–demonstrate your approach to developing open source production ready code, user-centred Wordpress CMS" Will you accept applications using other CMS systems like Drupal? Following technical architecture work carried out during Alpha, WordPress was selected as the CMS for our new service - to be built in Beta. We will therefore require demonstration of approach for developing WordPress CMS systems.
3. How are you expecting to approach the handover/resource allocation between private and public beta? We are anticipating that a full beta team is required for 16 weeks private beta until completing the GDS assessment. We would then anticipate a reduced team/resource is required once in public beta for 4 weeks. This reduced resource can support the public beta service in the first 4 weeks and action any changes based on user research/testing/analytics during this time. The Acas team can then take over, and work on adding new topic areas to the beta site once we are satisfied that CMS templates etc meet user need.
4. Other than resource time for a QA and testers have you included cost in your budget range for outsourced testing such as load/penetration testing or would you see these as additional costs? We are anticipating that the site would need to undergo various tests during private beta before we move to public beta and will require shortlisted suppliers to include the fees for any outsource test within their costs proposal (ie if you need to use an additional specialist service to carry out these test).
5. Would it be acceptable for our bid to include an accessibility audit carried out by a specialist third party? We are happy to use a specialist third party for an accessibility audit, shortlist suppliers should include the costs for this within their proposal.
6. Does your budget range include hosting costs during beta? Our budget range does not include hosting costs, we will be setting up this contract directly with the hosting company and paying for it directly.
7. Does your service need to use GDS design patterns? Although we are exempt from and do not need to use their look and feel we would like to use as many standard GDS design patterns as relevant/meet our user need.
8. Which supplier was appointed for the Alpha phase? The Engine Group (Transform UK)