Department of Health

Discovery Phase for the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC)

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications

Completed applications

Completed applications
32 SME, 8 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 9 September 2016
Deadline for asking questions Friday 16 September 2016 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 23 September 2016 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Discovery should provide: study of user needs and experience; assess alternative solutions, propose the new service requirements, scope any future redevelopment and the team needed, map user journeys for your proposed service, provide options appraisal for delivery of the proposed service, consider potential constraints for the delivery of the service.
Latest start date 01/11/2016
Expected contract length 2-3 months
Location London
Organisation the work is for Department of Health
Budget range The budget for the project is in the region of £65k (inc. expenses).

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done The NMDS-SC is a web-enabled data repository, which employers use to enter data about their workforce and the services they provide. It's used as the primary source of workforce information in the social care sector.

The end-to-end service identifies and engages social care providers, encourages data submissions, then analyses the data and produces reports. We are taking a service design approach to ensure a future iteration of this service meets user needs, can be easily improved, is value for money and helps achieve health and social care policy.
Problem to be solved Complete a discovery to start the service redesign. Focus should include:
• Audit the current service understanding how it meets user needs and identify gaps.
• Evaluating existing research and addressing gaps.
• Understand how the NMDS-SC dataset is used to inform policy and how it could be used better.
• Understand the most suitable next steps for the service.
• Explore innovative solutions within the industry.
• Estimated costs/timescales of the project and the team needed.
• Analysis of policies, laws, business needs, standards
• Examination of value chain and technology options (Wardley mapping)
Who the users are and what they need to do Pre-discovery work on user needs of the existing NMDS-SC have identified (more available on request):

User Needs

• Social care providers- Needs to input data and use it for workforce planning
• Analyst- Analyse the raw data and provide reports
• Policy team- Need to use the analysis to inform workforce policy
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done A pre-discovery exercise has been conducted. Please see details;
Existing team DH Strategic Supply Team:
2FTE and

Current suppliers.

The supplier will have to work with the existing supplier of the service and their subcontractors to understand the current NMDS-SC service.
Current phase Discovery

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Workforce Strategic Supply team are located in Quarry House, Leeds. The existing suppliers are based in Leeds and London with their sub-contractor based in Sheffield. The Department of Health Digital Team also has offices in Richmond House, London.
Working arrangements The supplier may be based and work from anywhere in the country. We are accustomed to regularly working across the Department's locations in Leeds and London; we have technology available to facilitate this. The supplier will be expected to work as “one team” with the contractor and work in an agile manner attending stand-ups, planning and retrospectives and ongoing communication across digital channels. However, face-to-face meetings should also take place as and when required. We will try to ensure that any travel uses people's time effectively and are as productive as possible.
Security clearance BPSS and BS clearance will be preferred.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
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.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering successful Pre Discovery and Discovery outcomes to support complex digital transformation in a service delivery organisation 5pts
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering savings through digital transformation projects including quick wins and actionable roadmaps through the Discovery phase 5pts
  • Full understanding and demonstrable experience of research methodologies and data collection techniques for complex, high volume, citizen facing, transactional services 5pts
  • Able to deploy an effective team ready to hit the ground running no later than November 2016 3pts
  • Demonstrable experience of working with users and stakeholders at all levels in complex political environments 3pts
  • Demonstrable experience of carrying out research with a diverse mix of users including those with low digital literacy and assisted digital needs 3pts
  • Demonstrable experience of knowledge sharing and skills transfer with in-house teams so as to build sustainable capability 5pts
  • Demonstrable experience of working successfully with incumbent legacy vendors and in-house ICT as part of Discoveries to support digital transformation 3pts
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering working prototypes during a discovery phase that exemplify the digital vision and strategy 5pts
  • Proven ability to lead and coach public sector organisations through the digital transformation process aligned with the Digital by Default standard 5pts
  • Previous experience in public sector transformation programme 3pts
  • Strong experience of delivering projects in line with the Government Digital Service’s Design Principles and Digital Service Standard 3pts
  • Have experience of effectively planning for new digital services which incrementally, safely and securely transition from legacy systems 3pts
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable experience of research methodologies: ethnography, open and closed card sorting, multivariate testing 2pts
  • Strong understanding of the approach other authorities are taking with digital and of the benefits this provides 2pts
  • Have experience of working with DH or NHS services and data 2pts

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Leadership 10%
  • Approach and Methods Statement 15%
  • Resource plan 10%
  • Experience 10%
  • Top level risks and assumptions 5%
  • Value for money 10%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Team scalability, flexibility, deployment time, and pause capability - 10%
  • Approach for working with policy, digital and incumbent supplier teams in different locations - 10%
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. You mention the work can be undertaken anywhere in the country with meetings in your offices. Can the work also be undertaken anywhere in the European Union with meetings in your offices? The users of the service, both admin and end users, are based in England. Hence regular user research would need to be carried out in this country. While desk research and analysis could theoretically be carried out from anywhere, we’d expect face to face meetings to take place in our Leeds or London offices. We have no objection to a EU supplier, so long as they can commit to attendance to regular in-person workshops (e.g. user journey mapping, Wardley mapping), user research in England, and participation in regular agile ceremonies using appropriate tools, eg standups, user research debriefs, retros, planning.
2. From the pre-discovery information it appears all users are professionals. Please could you confirm if this is the case? Admin users uploading data range widely. All work in social care organisations. They may be admin roles, practitioner roles or manager roles. End user consumers of the data and the reports include civil servants, ministers, data analysts, policy makers. Journalists and the interested public are users too, as are digital and technology professionals working on health and care services.
3. Is the intention that NMDS-SC will be a completely new service designed and built from the ground up to meet user needs or an iteration of the current service? That’s what we’ll need to work out following the conclusion of this discovery phase. However, the current service is provided by a supplier and we don’t own the IPR.
4. Would the Department of Health consider hosting a briefing call to provide potential bidders with more detailed information about your requirements for the Discovery Phase for the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC)? To ensure all potential supplier get the same information we would prefer to answer questions in writing and publish here.
Additional links;
5. Do you have a contacts list for current service users? The Care Quality Commission’s list of registered adult social care providers is the main source of users who are uploading data. Re: end users (those who are consuming the data) we have a network of users and stakeholders that could be approached for user research.
6. You said that NMDS-SC is used as the primary source of workforce information in the social care sector. The social care sector is a very broad term - does this include adult and child social care in LA and private agencies? This is adult social care provision in both local authorities and private suppliers.
7. "Understand how the NMDS-SC dataset is used to inform policy and how it could be used better" - do you have a contacts list for policy creators in the social care sector Yes - there are policy officials in DH and in the wider health and care family. We have contact details.
8. What is your criteria in classifying a user as having low digital literacy? We used the GDS service standard. Background on this is in the government’s service manual here:
9. What digital project communication / project management tools do you intend on using to support the "one team" charter We have in-house tools and also open to other innovative tools that can help communication and integration.
10. Clarify the team roles that will be provided by DH DH will have a service manager, product manager and product owner with support. However it is expected that the supplier will provide a full team to conduct the discovery phase and DH will support and oversee activity.
11. What level of experience in conducting service discovery does the DH team currently have We have experienced digital specialists in the DH Digital team supporting the project. Within the project team has some experience through a previous project
12. Who will the supplier report to? The DH project and digital team
13. What experience does the role that the supplier will report to have in leading discovery exercises? There is experience through digital colleagues and a previous discovery phase for a different project.
14. On the service map you have identified access to raw data - has this been identified as a user need? Yes
15. How would you envisage end users using the raw data? For analysis, report writing and planning including policy development.
16. Is use of the NMDS-SC mandatory for the social care sector is there a difference in the public/private sector? It is only mandatory for Local Authorities and any organisation in receipt of the workforce development fund.
17. Please describe the anticipated % time split between Leeds, Sheffield and London This will be dependent on research required and will be negotiable with any supplier.
18. You mention that the discovery supplier will need to work closely with the contractor who provides the current system. Are you able to explain further what their role is in this process? For example, are they purely acting as experts on the current solution? Or are they part of the discovery team responsible for exploring new solutions? Or both? Are they purely technical or do they have design and or product management skills that can be brought to bear in this process? The current supplier manages a digital contract along with the input and analysis of the data including report writing. We would anticipate the current contractor to be contributing to information to inform the discovery phase
19. What is the potential scope of this piece of work. For example, are you looking to simply improve the user experience? Or are you also considering changes to what data is collected and when in order to deliver maximum value to those who use it? We are looking at user needs and would expect the whole service to be considered.
20. How do you perceive the balance of effort/focus in this discovery process, between understanding the needs of data providers, and understanding the needs of data consumers? We would need to understand the requirements of both. The balance of input would be dependent on the information needed to make the recommendations and the successful discovery supplier should divide their time accordingly.
21. Is the journey map slide deck a reflection of the current journey or the desired journey? Or a mix of the two? It is the current end-to-end service journey