This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Monday 5 March 2018
BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Digital: Energy Efficiency for SMEs

9 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 4 large

14 Completed applications

7 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Monday 19 February 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 26 February 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 5 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
BEIS require a highly skilled, collaborative supplier with experience of delivering digital services in line with the GDS Digital Service Standard to work on an Alpha to encourage small and medium sized enterprises to start the journey towards energy efficiency.
Latest start date
Monday 30 April 2018
Expected contract length
12 weeks
Organisation the work is for
BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Budget range
up to £250,000

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Clean Growth Strategy commits Government to develop a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity by at least 20% by 2030 and to explore how we can improve the provision of information and advice on energy efficiency to small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). BEIS research indicates that SMEs could save £0.5b a year if they were more energy efficient but insufficient action is being taken. We require a specialist agile team to work with us on the Alpha phase to develop 3 prototypes designed to nudge SMEs onto the energy efficiency journey and trigger action.
Problem to be solved
User research in Discovery showed that the majority of SMEs had extremely low awareness of energy efficiency with most not taking action to reduce their energy use. We need to get SMEs onto the journey towards energy efficiency. The Discovery proposed a range of ideas to trigger action; the Alpha team may add to these before sifting them down to 3 to prototype. Recognising the uncertainty about tools that will resonate with users, we have increased the length of the Alpha to 12 weeks as some early prototypes may be discarded if they are found not to work.
Who the users are and what they need to do
To stimulate UK SMEs to introduce energy efficiency measures that could reduce business costs (energy bills) and contribute towards a greener business (reduce carbon footprint).
To persuade UK trade bodies and other relevant third parties to encourage their members to introduce energy efficiency measures.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The Discovery was completed in November 2017 and it highlighted that:
• there is sufficient information available on energy efficiency
• SMEs have very low awareness of energy efficiency
• we need to trigger SMEs to take action
User personas have been developed and journey maps created. There are proposals for potential prototypes and the Alpha team will have the opportunity to add new proposals before sifting these down to 3 prototypes to develop and test during the Alpha phase.
Existing team
In house team: 1 x Service Manager (50% P/T), 1 x Product Manager (50% P/T). We request that a 50% P/T product manager is included in the bid to work in partnership with the internal product manager. This reflects the internal team’s experience, which is in policy rather than digital and Agile working.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
BEIS HQ, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET.
Working arrangements
The team are required to be co-located with the project team in the Victoria office at least 3 days a week. We can account for some off-site working for some team members,to be agreed. The project will operate a standard agile scrum methodology: daily stand-ups, sprints (including sprint planning, reviews and retrospectives) and show and tells. The supplier will need to take a lead by role-modelling Agile ways of working, and investing time in knowledge-sharing and coaching to increase the capability of BEIS staff. The supplier will be responsible for recruiting user research participants as part of the bid.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard clearance required (

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Standard contract.

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
  • Deliver digital services using a multidisciplinary agile team and scrum techniques, in line with GDS Service Standards.
  • User research with a range of users including assisted digital and accessibility users, alongside analysis of existing research to ensure good understanding of users and needs.
  • Delivering rapid development of prototypes created iteratively in response to user testing – based on Discovery findings and own user research (including with assisted digital and accessibility users).
  • Leading an Agile team as well as coaching and upskilling people in Agile techniques and roles to build capability within existing teams.
  • Creating and securing stakeholder agreement on robust KPIs and using analytics and user feedback to create and prioritise key content and features.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Manage and proactively engage with complex internal stakeholder relationships to support digital transformation.
  • A familiarity with the principles of behavioural insight and behavioural change. Experience of applying these principles to consumer-facing services, particularly online.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of the issues surrounding business energy efficiency, particularly in respect of business advice and business energy usage.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach, methodology and estimated timeline – taking into account Discovery findings, further user research and testing, GDS Alpha assessment and planning for Beta.
  • How the approach or solution will meet users’ needs, including assisted digital and accessible users.
  • Identification of risks and dependencies and proposed approaches to manage them.
  • Project team structure (with roles and responsibilities).
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate your approach to engaging with internal stakeholders with little digital and Agile experience and how this will support project success.
  • Demonstrate how you will work transparently, collaboratively and share your approach with the BEIS project team and seek actionable feedback.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. How will suppliers be evaluated at proposal?
A paper sift will be undertaken based on each firm’s response to (i) essential skills and experience and (ii) nice to have skills and experience set out in the advert.
For those invited to give a presentation, we are looking at technical competence (60%), cultural fit (20%) and price (20%). I refer you to the section in the advert called: “how suppliers will be evaluated” for further detail.
2. Noting that 'Baseline Personnel Security Standard clearance required' - would BEIS sponsor this for the right supplier? Or is it required that everyone in the team have Baseline prior to contract commence?
BPSS will be required for all individuals working within the team. BEIS will arrange the BPSS on your behalf once you have provided all the necessary documentation. Please note this documentation includes certificates from Disclosure Scotland, which I would recommend applying for as soon as the contract is offered.
3. At what stage will you share the Discovery outputs?/Is it possible to access the full outputs from Discovery?
The full Discovery pack will be shared with the supplier. Firms presenting to BEIS will be given details of personas, current users’ journeys, proposals and design principles that came out of the Discovery so they can provide context to their presentations.
4. Please could you advise the expected max day rate and IR35 status of the role?
This recruitment exercise is for a team that can deliver the Alpha and in return, BEIS has estimated this work to be between £200,000 to £250,000 for completion of the Alpha work. We expect the Alpha to last 12 weeks. Further advice on the type of team suggested for an Alpha can be found at It is for the bidding firms to decide the day rate for each of the roles within that team and to incorporate this in their overarching bid. The winning firm will be responsible for ensuring the correct taxes are paid by their employees.
5. Could you tell us who carried out Discovery and Beta and whether they are expected to bid for this opportunity?/Is there an incumbent, who delivered the discovery and if so, who was this?/Are you able to disclose which supplier ran the Discovery phase?/ Could you tell us who carried out Discovery and Beta and whether they are expected to bid for this opportunity?
The Discovery was advertised through GDS Market Place and was won by Fluxx Ltd. GDS Market Place rules do not disqualify a winning firm from bidding for subsequent stages of a digital project. We are unaware whether Fluxx intends to bid for the Alpha.
There is no ‘incumbent’, the contract for the Alpha will go to the winning bid based on the quality of their bids.
The Beta follows the Alpha and an additional procurement process will take place in due course.
6. Is the supplier expected to recruit test participants for this project? Is use of a 3rd party test lab acceptable?
The supplier will be responsible for recruiting user research participants as part of the bid. If a 3rd party test lab is used, we expect this to be filmed or recorded and made available to the product manager and service manager to ensure quality.
7. Does BEIS consider this work to be in or out of scope of IR35?
I refer you to answer 1, published on Friday 23rd February.
8. Has BEIS investigated whether the proposed digital services would be hosted on GOV.UK or would be exempt from this platform and hosted elsewhere?
This will depend on the prototypes developed and who would be best placed to deliver them. However, we expect all prototypes to meet GDS requirements.
9. Can you describe the existing prototypes in more details? Are these paper prototypes, wireframes, clickable prototypes or other? /What evidence do you have that the existing prototypes form a good basis for further prototyping in the Alpha phase?
Approximately 8 proposals have been made as part of the Discovery, these are primarily digital. These have not been prototyped yet and it is envisaged that the Alpha team may want to add some additional proposals before working with the BEIS team to sift down to an initial 3 to prototype. We do not know which option will resonate with SMEs and recognise that prototypes may be started and discarded following feedback from SMEs. Recognising these uncertainties, the Alpha has been increased from the average of 8 weeks to 12.
10. Are there any specific SME sectors that you wish the Alpha team to focus on in their user research? For example, sectors that are least energy productive?
This will be discussed with BEIS officials at the start of the Alpha and will influence the choice of prototypes developed. Those wanting to understand the extent of potential savings from buildings, by sector, should look at the Buildings Energy Efficiency Survey (BEES) online.
11. What evidence do you have that digital service or services are the most effective solution to the problem of low awareness of energy efficiency issues in SMEs? Have you explored whether alternative approaches e.g. trade events, printed media or advertising campaigns would be better alternatives? Is paid advertising, to drive SMEs to a digital service explaining energy efficiency, a possible part of the solution? Has the department budgeted for such campaigning activity?
how will you influence SMEs to engage with the tools in the first place? To what extent do you see addressing that question as falling within the Alpha?
The BEIS policy team will develop an awareness raising strategy in parallel to development of the digital tool. We do not believe that the existence of a digital tool in isolation of other policies is a realistic solution to the low level of awareness of energy efficiency by SMEs.
We are not asking for the Alpha team to develop the awareness raising strategy, this is work running in parallel to the Alpha and will be owned by the BEIS policy team.
12. You've listed "A familiarity with the principles of behavioural insight and behavioural change." as a nice to have. Are there members of the BEIS team who have skills and experience in these areas if the delivery team do not?
The BEIS team will have access to advice from the department’s behavioural insight team.
13. You say that the Discovery highlighted that there is sufficient information available [to SMEs] on energy efficiency. Can you say where the main sources of this information currently are?
A google search will take you to a variety of information on energy efficiency from a range of sources including the BEIS (then DECC) guide on energy efficiency guide for SMEs: In addition, many Local Authorities offer advice to SMEs on energy efficiency.
14. Do you have access to any analytics data - e.g. Google Analytics - for usage of existing websites providing energy efficiency data to SMEs? Can this be shared with the Alpha team once appointed?
We will have access to analytics for the BEIS website and should be able to confirm the number accessing the SME guides to energy efficiency for SMEs.
15. Are there any associated project teams that the Alpha team would have to work with? E.g. BEIS teams looking at other aspects of SME energy productivity or energy supply for SMEs?
That depends of the choice of prototypes developed. However, the service owner and product manager come from the policy team that leads on business energy use and should be able to answer most questions. They will also be able to arrange meetings with other teams if necessary.
16. Will the BEIS team / person responsible for BEIS Energy Productivity / Efficiency content for SMEs on GOV.UK be available to collaborate with the Alpha team?
Yes, the intention is for the product manager and service owner to sit with the digital team most days.
17. Are you expecting this Alpha to go through a formal GDS assessment?
18. Are you requesting a number of discrete energy efficiency tools or is the tender also for the wrapper for an end-to-end energy efficiency service for SMEs, potentially consisting of one or multiple websites (i.e. similar to the consumer alpha)?
We envisage 3 discrete energy efficiency tools. The Discovery researched the need for a website providing energy efficiency advice to SMEs and concluded that sufficient information is already available. Instead, it was recommended that BEIS develop tools that raised awareness and triggered action reflecting the low level of awareness/engagement with energy efficiency by SMEs. Therefore, we do not envisage that any of the tools developed will come in the form of a website.
19. Are there any existing government digital assets or programmes that we need to integrate with, make use of or engage during the course of this work (e.g. energy efficiency calculator/engine, existing SME programme , etc)?
20. Are you expecting the tools to be hosted on or would you expect an exemption for that?
Hosting will depend on the tools developed. However, we envisage all tools to be GDS compliant.
21. Just to clarify: we understand some product ideas have been generated in Discovery, but we would do further research in Alpha and generate more ideas, and then narrow down to 3 potential solutions to prototype? Could you confirm if that’s correct?
8 potential solutions were put forward as part of the Discovery process. It may be that the Alpha team will want to restrict itself to considering these 8 solutions or may want to add in some of their own ideas. We do not want to inhibit the introduction of additional potential solutions.
22. Has Discovery included research into the SME users who have started on the energy efficiency journey, in order to examine the awareness and decision making process?
Users’ journey maps were developed. However, the key finding was that SMEs did not start the journey. n
23. Does the agency have SME development partners? Or would we organise access to users ourselves?
The supplier will be responsible for recruiting SMEs.