Awarded to

Start date: Monday 12 March 2018
Value: £400,000
Company size: SME
Department for Education

DfE User research participant recruitment

7 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 0 large

10 Completed applications

9 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Thursday 11 January 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 18 January 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 25 January 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
DfE requires participant recruitment for research activities.

DfE will conduct the research and provide the researchers discussion guides and any research materials needed. The recruitment service is expected to provide recruitment of users, incentives to all users taking part in research, organisation of user participation and attendance on the day.
Research dates
February 2018 - February 2020
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
Up to £400,000

About the work

Early market engagement

About the research

Description of your participants
Research will be undertaken with a range of DfE users that will likely include the following:
Students* (14-18 years old)
Teachers / teaching staff
Heads of schools
School governors
FE college staff
University staff
Young people in social care*
Careers advisers
Training providers
Undergraduates at university
Young people* not in Education, Employment, or Training [NEET]

*Additional filters for specific user groups.

Students and young people:
by qualification type or likely qualification type e.g. A level (~35% of participants), Vocational/Technical routes (~60% of participants), apprenticeship (~5% of participants)
by qualification result e.g. GCSE grade in English & Maths (~50% with above a grade 4 and ~50% below a grade 4)
by Free School Meals funding

by size of company e.g. SME to Corporates
by sector e.g. construction
by position: HR, Managers, Directors

A full breakdown of participants will be communicated as each brief is provided.
Assisted digital and accessibility requirements
All user groups where relevant, contain representative sample sets of accessibility needs, including:

Special Education Needs & Disabilities
Trouble with the Law or in Poverty (young people)
Foster Care (young people, parents)

Assisted digital users will be required for some research activities e.g:

low confidence in doing things online or using computers
use computers infrequently
don’t own a device to access the internet
help to complete an online application
willing to try or learn new things on a computer
need to get help from friends and family
Use assistive technologies

Specific requirements will be set for each project brief.
Research plan
Individually briefed for each recruitment round
Research location
We expect most research sessions to take place in either London or Coventry. Depending on the type of research, sessions could also be conducted in other locations including Sheffield, Manchester and Darlington. The exact location for research will be communicated as each brief is provided.
Access restrictions at location
Individually briefed for each recruitment round
Number of research rounds
Maximum of 100
Number of participants per round
Individually briefed for each recruitment round. The provision of spare participants to cover cancellations may be necessary for some rounds.
How often research will happen
The frequency of research rounds (and numbers of participants per round) will fluctuate with the demand for user research within the department. Where possible, DfE will coordinate the research for one week into a single day. It is expected that there will be research rounds almost every week.
Evening or weekend research
  • Weekday evenings
  • Weekends

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Standard contract terms

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
  • Ability to recruit core user types for DfE - see 'Description of participants'
  • Ability to recruit participant cohorts that are balanced in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic background and sexual identity (LGBTQ)
  • Ability to recruit participants not just in the specified locations, but nationally
  • Experience recruiting at scale for multiple briefs
  • Ability to recruit for a brief within 10 working days of receipt
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Ability to recruit participants who have been / are considering moving into core user roles e.g. ex-teachers, or a person looking into becoming a teacher
  • Ability to recruit participants with assisted digital or accessibility needs
  • Ability to host research rounds on non-DfE premises
  • Experience recruiting participants in the Education sector
  • Access to an online user panel platform for research activities
  • Ability to recruit for a brief in less than 10 working days, where possible

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach to recruiting specialist participants
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Breakdown of recruitment costs and incentives
  • How they've identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence






Questions asked by suppliers

1. We are concerned about recruiting some parts of the sample, specifically
• People in foster care
• Those who have been in trouble with the law
• People in social care
If there is any flexibility on any parts of the sample, i.e. could we quote for the types of respondents we feel we could definitely recruit?
Yes, there is flexibility with regards to the types of respondents who can be recruited. Coverage of the respondent types will be an important assessment criterion, however.
2. We are concerned about recruiting university staff, head teachers and training providers. While we feel we could find these people, it’s unlikely that we would be able to get them to attend central venues. These types of respondents would normally be interviewed in their homes/at their places of work. With regards to locations, we have recruiters covering most parts of the UK, but not all. Is there any flexibility on these issues?
Yes, there is flexibility in terms of locations, both in areas of the country and whether or not participants can be recruited to central venues as opposed to visited in situ. Coverage of locations and proposed approaches to interviews with different user types will be important factors in assessment.
3. Are you able give an idea of the number of participants per round?
The number of participants per round will depend on the fluctuating needs of the research teams within the department. If a supplier has a maximum number of participants that they can recruit in any given round, they should specify this as part of their bid.