Start date: Monday 17 September 2018
Value: £71,200
Company size: SME
London Borough of Southwark

Digital service for planning viability assessments - discovery

7 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 3 large

20 Completed applications

16 SME, 4 large

Important dates

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


Summary of the work
We want to carry out a discovery phase to create a digital service for assessing viability information from property developers, reducing manual administration and improving decision making by using data from multiple sources
Latest start date
Saturday 1 September 2018
Expected contract length
8 weeks (for inception and discovery)
Organisation the work is for
London Borough of Southwark
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The National Planning Policy Framework requires that new developments provide a minimum of 35% affordable housing 'subject to viability'.
Viability assessments can be a source of disagreement between developers and councils, particularly around the calculation of viability.
Initial research has identified the need for
- standardising the collection of data which forms the viability assessments
- building intelligence around that data, and data available from other sources for benchmarking, to create greater clarity for developers and councils in assessing viability
- speeding up the assessment process and reducing reliance on consultants
Problem to be solved
Demand for affordable housing is high and growing, and councils need to be able to secure affordable homes in new developments.
The data provided by developers during an assessment is not provided in a standardised format and the rules are open to interpretation.
Councils find it difficult to assess and, where appropriate, challenge viability assessments.
Planning applications can be delayed, reducing certainty and clarity for both developers and councils.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an Applicant, I need to have clarity on the data and information required for viability so that I can reduce cost and delay in the development process
As a Planning Officer, I need to be able to assess viability based on standard data and benchmark so that the right decisions can be made
As a Resident, I need appropriate amounts of affordable homes to be created in the borough so that there is a continuing diverse supply of housing in my neighbourhood
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
Head of Service
Planning Officer
Digital Change and Innovation Manager
Business Analyst
UX Manager
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
160 Tooley Street, London and other London locations as appropriate
Working arrangements
The work should be conducted in a collaborative and open way, working closely in a joint team with council officers and other interested stakeholders, including developers.
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, front-end and back-end developers
  • Demonstrate a track-record of user-centred design and Agile approaches
  • Have delivered a service that’s been assessed against a government service standard
  • Experience of developing design patterns that can be re-used for other services
  • Be agnostic of any particular software, enabling us to consider a range of options to meet user needs
  • Have delivered a service that integrates data from multiple sources, internal and external
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have knowledge of the planning system
  • Have knowledge of property development processes

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets your organisation’s policy or goal
  • Experience from a similar project
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure, including skills and experience of individuals
  • Value for money
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 other team members
  • Can work with clients with low technical expertise
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you please confirm what your budget is?
The maximum budget for discovery is £75,000
2. What is the budget range for this work?
The maximum budget for discovery is £75,000
3. Why do you need 'front-end and back-end developers' in the Discovery phase of the project? As per GDS guidelines for Discovery phase, development doesn't happen in 'Discovery' phase. Kindly clarify.
Meeting the desired outcome will require integrating with disparate data sources and validating the feasibility of this is crucial. Guidance in the GDS service manual at states that developer skills may be useful in the discovery phase.
4. What is the budget for this project?
The maximum budget for discovery is £75,000
5. Please can you advise on the planned timelines for the proposal and presentation stage of the tender?
Shortlisted suppliers will be invited to provide a written proposal by 3 August with a presentation in the week beginning 6 August.
6. What is the budget for this project?
The maximum budget for discovery is £75,000
7. Is there a more detailed brief?
Not at this stage
8. What do you see the relationship with the other project listed on the Marketplace ( being? Do you see them as linked? Would they benefit from a single team working on them?
While the two projects are related in that they both aim to maximise the level of affordable housing in the borough, they are distinct and separate and will be working with different users and different data sets. Any benefit from a single team working on both is likely to be minimal.