Education & Skills Funding Agency

Design Excel spreadsheet tool and plan a programme of user testing

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
8 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
10 SME, 1 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 16 February 2018
Deadline for asking questions Friday 23 February 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 2 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Design several prototype MS Excel spreadsheets to measure the benefits to employers of their apprenticeship programme. Plan a programme of user testing with employers to refine the design and produce the final version. Present to NAS project manager to be agreed and delivered.
Latest start date Saturday 31 March 2018
Expected contract length Four months
Location London
Organisation the work is for Education & Skills Funding Agency
Budget range Up to £25000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done To measure indirect benefits arising from employing apprentices positive perception of a company, percentage of apprentices retained after three years.Require an MS Excel spreadsheet tool that allows employers to analyse the demographics and success of their apprenticeship programmmes. Require two/three options to be presented to NAS project manager amd conduct a programme od user testing to refine the tool and then design the final version of the tool and delivered it as agreed.
Problem to be solved We want to develop an appropriate tool that will help employers measure the performance of their apprentices and how they have contributed to business success.
Who the users are and what they need to do As an employer, I need to monitor the performance of my apprentices, and compare the outcomes of my apprenticeship programme against other staff and against business objectives. I want to be able to graphically map the outcomes of the programme in order to 'sell' apprenticeships to company senior management. For example, I need to be able to monitor and show clearly the percentage of apprentices who are still working for the company after 3 years.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team The team will consist of a Project Manager (Senior Employer Engagement Strategy Manager) with input from National Apprenticeship Service users as appropriate.
Current phase Not started

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Their own office or may need to attend meeting at ESFA offices in London* and may need to go to employer sites when planning programme of user testing.*Euston Tower, Euston Road, London NW1 3DP
Working arrangements May work at own office or if required attend meetings at ESFA office in London or may need to visit employer sites.
Security clearance BPSS

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Supplier adheres to ESFA Travel and Subsistence Policy

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
  • Expert Knowledge of MS Excel and the design of complex spreadsheets (15%);
  • Experience of planning a programme of user testing (5%)
  • Experience of working in a complex stakeholder environment dealing with large employers and SMEs (2%)
  • Experience of working as an established team with good working relationships which support meeting the objective (3%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working with public sector bodies (2%)
  • Experience of similar projects in the last three years (3%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Shows clear understanding of the task, aims and objectives (5%);
  • A detailed project plan that clearly sets out approach and methodology (20%);
  • Clear methodology for engaging with account managers and employers to do user testing (10%);
  • Roles of staff clearly set out in a resource plan (5%)
  • How the proposal represents value for money (15%)
  • How risks (such as sickness, poor user engagment) will be managed (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers/users (5%
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions (5%)
Payment approach Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. How do you envisage that employers that do not have Excel will use the tool? They will not. This is an Excel tool. We have chosen to ask for an Excel tool because we would expect the vast majority of employers will have it available.
2. Why are we taking the excel sheet approach not a web based application approach ? We want to produce a resource with a high degree of flexibility that employers can use to produce the results they want, rather than a restrictive tool that only lets them see the outputs we design. We believe that an Excel spreadsheet offers the best and most widely accessible and easy-to-use way of doing this.
In addition, we want to produce a resource within a medium-term timescale, as there is a strong need for it. Developing a web-based application would almost certainly fall outside the timescale we want.
3. Any complex Excel tools will require either Macros or VB coding. To enable this, especially if being emailed, is bad security practice and as such may be against many organisations and employers Security Policies. Have you considered using a simple online tool to collect and process the information instead? The intention is that we make the tool available as a download from a website, in principle from GOV.UK, rather than via email. A pilot test with a group of employers did not raise any issues with using an Excel sheet containing macros.
4. Please could you advise the expected max day rate and also, IR35 status of the role? Please supply a fixed price for the service. IR35 is not relevant.
5. What does SME mean in this context? (Subject Matter Expert or Small to Medium Enterprise)? Small to Medium Enterprise
6. Please advise the individual buyer/contact details from the client? Would you please clarify as this question is unclear.
7. Is the initial downselect to five suppliers on the basis of the scores within the 'Skills and Experience' section only? This only adds up to 30%. Yes the initial is on the 30% with the highest five scores going through to the second stage.
8. Who the procurement lead is for this opportunity? All communication must come through this portal and therefore we do not publish team names at this point.