Awarded to Hive IT Limited

Start date: Monday 19 March 2018
Value: £45,925
Company size: SME
Department for Education

Discovery for Department for Education Statistical Dissemination options

3 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 2 large

13 Completed applications

10 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Tuesday 30 January 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 6 February 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 13 February 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The Department is exploring ways to more effectively communicate statistics to its users, with an emphasis on meeting all users needs regardless of skill and technology available. We also want to work more efficiently by modernising production processes and reducing the need to produce ad-hoc pieces of analysis on request.
Latest start date
Monday 5 March 2018
Expected contract length
6 weeks
Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
DfE produces 50+ statistical series’ every year. Used by the public, schools, media, government and more, they shine a light on the education system.

The majority of our publications include pre-defined static excel tables, a written report (.pdf), and machine readable (.csv) data files. (
Demand is growing, meaning more time and resource is spent creating pre-defined tables or ad-hoc extracts where information isn’t published.

The discovery will refresh our understanding of user’s data access requirements, to enable a solution for producing high volumes of user-centered statistics in an accessible format and reducing the need for ad-hoc pieces of analysis.
Problem to be solved
The problem we are looking solve can be summarised as:

‘We want to understand how we can best make DfE’s data and statistics available to users and help tell clear and coherent stories about the education system through data. We want to make our processes to publish large volumes of data and statistics more efficient and reliable. We envisage a solution might include a web-based self-serve analysis tool.’

The emphasis is on understanding the problems and considering high level approaches rather than proposing a specific technical solution.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users of statistics (internal or external) range from basic users who want to quickly and easily find simple and visually engaging summaries of data, to expert analysts who want clean, well structured and comprehensive data with documentation for use in their own analyses (e.g parents, schools, Local Authorities, Researchers or journalists).

Producers of statistics (internal only) face ever increasing demand for data and want better ways of efficiently, securely and accurately publishing large volumes of data to fit an evolving customer need. They want to move resource from publishing large numbers of static tables, to telling compelling stories with data.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have carried out some light touch research of other Government Departments approach to publishing their statistics.

We have identified some potential options which, as part of this discovery, we would like to evaluate to determine if they would:

a) Meet user needs
b) Reduce the current demand for ad-hoc pieces of analysis
c) Increase the use of DfE open data

However, we do not believe we have fully explored the range of options in the marketplace, we would like to test and explore these options further, as well as hearing new ideas from our users.
Existing team
The supplier will be working with the DfE Statistics Modernisation team.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Sheffield & Darlington - with likely travel to various locations throughout the UK.
Working arrangements
a) We are looking for flexibility in the approach to completing this discovery
b) We will be working to Agile principles - i.e. regular stand ups, Show & Tells, Retrospectives
c) Necessary expenses will be paid in line with DfE standard policies

We expect that the successful bidding team will include user researchers with some service design experience and a project manager.

Necessary expenses to locations other than the base locations will be paid in line with DfE standard policies.
Security clearance

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
  • Experience of taking a user centric approach from inception throughout the project lifecycle
  • Experience of arranging and managing participants to ensure their participation in research sessions
  • Experience of working to GDS service assessment standards
Nice-to-have skills and experience
An awareness of statistics in Government and approaches for the dissemination of data on a large scale.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach & methodology
  • Value for Money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Be comfortable standing up for their discipline
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. This opportunity will require user research, data and technology expertise (as well as management of the project to ensure success). Is there any possibility of increasing the £50k budget to ensure adequate resource from the various specialists required?
The budget is fixed at maximum £50k. We are not expecting teams to supply data and technology experts within this discovery as we are focusing on user research only at this stage, however user researchers with some data and technology expertise are preferred.
2. 1. Sheffield & Darlington are mentioned as locations for this work. Since this project would likely require travel and potential use of labs for research, would you be happy with a supplier based in London and remote collaboration for stand ups, show and tells etc. and in-person meetings as required (e.g. for presentations)? This also offers easier access to a wider participant pool. 2. Is the DfE able to recruit participants, or do you have a list of contacts our researchers could reach out to? Or is the successful candidate expected to be entirely responsible for recruitment?
1. Our preferred location is Sheffield or Darlington. 2. DfE will provide a list of contacts for users we are aware of, but that recruiting participants and identifying users that we aren’t currently aware of will be the supplier’s responsibility.
3. • 1. What are the intention and timescales for progressing beyond the Discovery, to Alpha and Beta? 2. Please confirm that no specific security clearance is required. 3. Are there any roles that DfE plan to fulfil as part of the team? 4. Do you have an incumbent supplier that you are looking to replace or challenge with this ITT?
1. We envisage there will be a subsequent Alpha. However can't reliably provide plans/timescales until we have completed this discovery. 2. BPSS clearance will be required for the successful supplier. 3. DfE will provide a Product Owner. 4. No.
4. 1. Does DfE have enough knowledge of actual and potential users of their data at present to propose stakeholder maps that can drive user research? 2. Does DfE have a landscape or catalogue of internal data assets that are potentially exploitable?
1. DfE will provide a list of contacts for users we are aware of, but that recruiting participants and identifying users that we aren’t currently aware of will be the supplier’s responsibility. We will not be providing any stakeholder maps. 2. DfE holds an information asset register which lists internal datasets however access to individual level data will not be needed during this discovery.
5. You mention that the supplier will need have experience of 'arranging and managing participants' for the avoidance of doubt does this include participant recruitment?
DfE will provide a list of contacts for users we are aware of, but recruiting participants and identifying users we aren’t currently aware of will be the supplier’s responsibility.
6. Has any user research been done already that we could build on - ie have any personas or user journey maps been created?
The Office for National Statistics has a list of user personas which can be used as a starting point for the discovery ( Though we expect these personas to be tested and potentially for new, more specific, personas to be created by the end of the discovery.
7. You reference some early work been done to identify possible data platform solutions, can you share what solutions you consider possible options at this stage and what criteria was used in this early investigation?
We will share these possible options with the successful supplier at the start of the discovery. If helpful, this research involved looking across other government departments and public bodies to find examples of layered approaches to statistics dissemination.
8. The tender notice mentions that demand is growing for data services. Can you tell us a little more about this and how you experience this higher demand and what impact does it have?
As the amount of data collected by DfE has increased the demand for ad-hoc data extracts, not covered by breakdowns in existing publications has been growing, with external users submitting Freedom of Information requests for breakdowns not included in our published statistics and internal users commissioning more data requests to support policy development and delivery. These requests tie up analytical resource that could be better utilised on more value-added analytical work.
9. 1. How will pricing be evaluated? 2. Please provide guidance on the format of the proposal and any word count restrictions.
Price is scored based on how close each supplier’s quote is to the cheapest supplier’s quote. Guidance for writing the proposal is available at