Awarded to Hippo Digital Limited

Start date: Monday 24 September 2018
Value: £329,100
Company size: SME
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), Department for Education

Digitally enabled assessments- service line

2 Incomplete applications

0 SME, 2 large

10 Completed applications

7 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Thursday 9 August 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 16 August 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 23 August 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Discovery phase; scope user’s needs (STA and Schools)regarding solutions for a digital service, in preparation for an alpha considering; internally developed options (multiplication-tables-check(MTC) work could it be re-used?), off-shelf and school technology. If successful, the aim is to move to an Alpha investigating build options to release a functional service.
Latest start date
Monday 24 September 2018
Expected contract length
Discovery phase up to 6 weeks, Alpha Phase up to 12 weeks
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), Department for Education
Budget range
Please budget for each phase seperately- but for up to 6 weeks for Discovery and 12 for Alpha.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Reception-Baseline-Assessment(RBA) is an assessment that’s taken when pupils enter school (Reception age4/5), to create a baseline, where progress at the end of Key Stage 2(age10/11) can be measured and reported in school performance tables. RBA is a suitable assessment to be digitally enabled. The DfE agreed that RBA should be conducted where results are considered reliable and consistent. After a scoping exercise, the team is in a position to begin a Discovery Phase. The aim is that a development team will design/build and manage a digital service with the in-house Test Development team as they go through the Development cycle.
Problem to be solved
By 1st September 2022 we must have a digital service in place to deliver the Reception baseline assessment (RBA) to at least 99% of primary pupils entering school. We need digitally enabled assessments which fit within a digitally literate world so that we can offer, valid adaptive, secure assessments. The solution should, where possible deliver better value for money, achieved through better design and processes; creating efficiencies for schools and STA. The service must be flexible to ensure that the assessments built onto the platform are adaptive, valid and have increased security.
Who the users are and what they need to do
a)STA users need a service which can: be used to collate and cleanse registered pupil data, receive reliable assessment data timely from schools; input assessment content; verify registrations, mark-assessments, download data; return results. b)School users need a service that is reliable, simple to use; ability to register pupils with minimum burden; timely and securely administer assessments; send data to STA including head-teacher assurances at the end of each assessment cycle; option to record and receive results data. C) Pupils need a service which hosts an engaging and reliable assessment, where the digital element doesn’t affect the ability to be assessed.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
The current (Digital enabled assessments and testing) team includes a product owner and assistant. The supplier will be expected to work with the wider STA and Department, and a wide group of stakeholders up to director level.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Coventry (Cheylesmore House)
5 Quinton Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT
Working arrangements
Co-located with the team in Coventry to maximise opportunity for engagement with DfE users and stakeholders. Travel to other DfE sites and schools to meet users is expected but must be in line with the DfE travel & subsistence policy. Expenses must be included in the contract sum, there will be no separate budget for expenses. We will operate using agile methodology including daily stand ups, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives and show and tells. Face to face attendance at all Show and Tells is expected. There is some flexibility for remote arrangements.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
By issuing this invitation, the Department is not bound in any way and does not have to accept any tender. The Department also reserves the right at its sole discretion to award a contract for the Discovery stage only. The framework operates on a statement of work (SOW), if the final SOW for Discovery is complete, and a decision is taken not to proceed to Alpha, the contract can be terminated. Additional contractual clauses expected include: GDPR, Departmental Security Standards (for departmental data) & clauses on issued property and use of premises.

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
  • Work to GDS service standards.
  • Use Agile methodologies
  • Have significant experience of conducting user research & usability testing sessions (face to face and remote) based on a robust methodology.
  • Have experience of recruitment of user research participants (including users with accessibility and assisted digital needs).
  • Have experience of analysis of existing research, analytics and insight to ensure good understanding of users and their needs.
  • Have experience of delivering high quality content and information architecture design for complex user journeys across multiple touchpoints, that meets user needs.
  • Have experience & capability of creating plans for Alpha and Beta from both a design and technical perspective.
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence experience in delivering evidence-based research to inform a user-centred design, focused on user needs, end-to-end user journeys, motivations and goals
  • Example with demonstrable evidence of managing and delivering discovery and alpha projects, meeting all requirements and successfully delivering outcomes within specified timescales.
  • Propose a team structure and approach to achieve project aims whilst working with in-house teams with limited Agile experience and how you plan to share knowledge to develop their capability.
  • Proposed workable and flexible approach to co-location of the team with DfE. Demonstrable evidence of working successfully with users in the school/education landscape or in similar public services contexts.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Provide an example where the supplier has worked collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary team with other service providers (5%).
  • Provide an example of where applying agile core values has enabled timely delivery of a product (5%).
  • Provide an example of how you would quickly join the team and understand user needs, to maintain continuity between existing discovery work and alpha (5%).
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Will there be a supplier open day?
A supplier open day will take place via teleconference on Tuesday 14th August from 9am-11am. The URL to join the meeting is :

Please can you register interest in attending by emailing
2. Do you have a budget in mind for this work?


Is there any indication of the scale of budget?
The work is to be carried out using a capped time and materials approach. We require bidders to inform us on how much the outcomes should cost based on their team, how long they will be working on the project and the level of service outlined in the requirements.

We have a maximum budget of £100,000 for Discovery and £240,000 for Alpha. However, price will be a factor in the choice of supplier and competitive bids are encouraged.
3. You've mentioned that the work will take place at Coventry (Cheylesmore House). How flexible is the working arrangement?
The procured supplier is required to work from the Cheylesmore office for a minimum of three days a week depending on the nature of the work at the time. This is upon agreement with the internal team. It is possible for suppliers to work from remote locations however; attendance in the office is preferable to enable collaborative working with the team.
4. Could you confirm the timelines for this bid? Thanks
The provisional timeline for this procurement is as follows:
• Deadline for clarification questions: 16th August at midnight.
• Deadline for bid receipt: 23rd August at midnight.
• We will be sending out shortlists for presentations by 6th September.
• Those who pass the sift will be invited to provide written proposals and complete a presentation face-to-face on 13th September in London.
• Latest start date is 24th September.
• 6-week Discovery phase with potential to continue for a further 12-week Alpha phase.
5. Can you share the presentation from the supplier open day?


Can you provide the outputs from the supplier event please?
The presentation from the supplier open day can be accessed via the following link:
6. Did you work with an external supplier to carry out the 'interim solution' Discovery mentioned on the Supplier Open Day call? If so, please can you tell us who this was?
Did you work with any external suppliers in the implementation of the interim solution? If so, please can you tell us who this was?
The previous discovery had been carried out by Cadence. No work has been carried out on implementation.

The pre-discovery report can be shared upon request on the basis that the content is kept confidential and is not to be shared further. Please can you email
7. Please can you outline the team involved in the selection of a supplier?
The panel will include a selection of product owners and digital stakeholders.
8. What provision do you expect to be necessary for children who are not able to use a digital solution?
We want this assessment to be accessible to as many children as possible. We currently deliver modified versions of standard tests in various formats. At present, the following versions are produced: braille; modified large print (MLP); and stimulus material to support pupils with hearing impairment and pupils who use sign language. We need the procured supplier to seek and understand the sorts of needs they will have, all of the different issues there may be with moving paper based assessments on screen and understand what the options are to address them.
9. Will we have to retender for the beta phase?
Yes. We are hoping to use the same team for discovery and alpha.