Awarded to Orange Maple Ltd

Start date: Monday 3 September 2018
Value: £78,000
Company size: SME
Hackney Council

Improving the Pay My Rent service to increase the number of people who pay online

6 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 2 large

9 Completed applications

7 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Wednesday 27 June 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 4 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 11 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Delivering improvements to the online rent account service to increase the number of users who pay online.
Latest start date
Monday 30 July 2018
Expected contract length
3 months
Organisation the work is for
Hackney Council
Budget range
Up to £80,000 excluding VAT for this phase of work, and an additional budget available for support and maintenance of the solution, if required,

About the work

Why the work is being done
Hackney Council launched an online Rent Account service in October. Since then it has been used 50,000 times by 12,000 people. However, just 27% have tried to make a payment on the service and 36% of people have failed to complete an online payment.

We want to explore how we might increase payments through personalised notifications and an easier payment process.
Problem to be solved
- 80% of users access the service on a mobile, but the current payment gateway is not optimised for mobile
- We do not provide messages to users of the service, beyond their rent data
- There are constraints in the user interface as a result of using the lowcode platform
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a tenant I need to know my balance so that I can avoid falling into arrears
As a tenant I need persuasive reminders so that I understand the importance of making timely payments
As a user I need an easy way to pay online so that it is so easy, I prefer to do so
Early market engagement
The current version of the service was built by a team including in-house staff (who are still available to help), contractors and experts provided by FutureGov.

We are interested in using GOV.UK Pay as an easier to use payment gateway, but aware that delays in updating the user's balance (on reconciling it with the Council's finance system) may degrade the experience.
Any work that’s already been done
The service is built using Outsystems, a low code platform. It consumes APIs for our tenants and their balances from Universal Housing, the housing management application. These APIs are documented at We are open to alternative approaches to technology that better meet user needs.

We are building a case management solution to support income collection, which will include an algorithm to identify likely to pay their balance and prioritise cases that require human intervention and a CRM for tenancy contact.

We are developing an OAUTH single sign-on module to improve access to council services.
Existing team
Head of Service (project sponsor)
Product Owner
Delivery Manager (who is also Delivery Manager for the tenancy CRM project)
Frontline staff as required
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Hackney Council offices in Mare Street, E8
Working arrangements
We would expect the supplier to work onsite for the majority of the engagement, enabling them to share their work with social care colleagues and test propositions with residents.
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
  • Provide a multi-disciplinary team, including user research, service design and front-end developer
  • Adopt user-centred design and Agile approaches, consistent with the govenrment’s service design manual
  • Have built a product that’st been assessed as meeting a government digital service standard
  • Understand how to meet the needs of a range of users, including those lacking digital skills
  • Be agnostic of any particular software, enabling us to consider a range of options to meet user needs
  • Share their work freely and openly with the Council and the wider community
  • Experience of behavioural economics
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Promote user-centred design and Agile across the Council

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding of user needs from the service
  • Clarity of the approach
  • Experience from a similar project
  • Team structure, including skills, experiences and relevance of individuals
  • Identification of risks and plan to mitigate them
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Share knowledge and experience with team members and the wider service
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. You mention that the service is built in Outsystems, low code platform - do you envisage retaining this platform?
We don't have a fixed view on this. It's important we understand first how the service needs to be improved to better meet user needs and then what technology best enables us to do that, in the most efficient way.
2. You state that the supplier should work on site for the majority of the 3 month engagement - do you envisage this being every day?
No. In our experience 3-4 days a week onsite will be sufficient. The importance of co-location is:
- developing a shared understanding of user needs
- supporting the embedding of user-centred, Agile approaches
- helping the team understand how to support the application
- aligning with the other pieces of work, particularly the CRM project
3. Is this piece of work just to review the usability of the current process and propose a new UI…. Rather than propose a new technology toolkit as well?
The take-up figures suggest a fundamental review of the UI is unnecessary. The primary aim of this work is to increase the proportion of users that can use the app to make a payment, first time, unaided. We assume this will require amendments to the UI and potentially changes to the technology toolkit too, and have set the budget so that option is available.