National Offender Management Service (NOMS)

User Researcher for NOMS Digital Studio

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications

Completed applications

Completed applications
14 SME, 1 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Wednesday 24 August 2016
Deadline for asking questions Friday 26 August 2016 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Wednesday 31 August 2016 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Specialist role User researcher
Summary of the work An exciting opportunity for talented, tenacious individuals looking to join our team and take lead in creating world-class services in the Prison and Probation environment. Conducting Service Discovery to identify and deliver high-quality, user-centred products that positively impact the lives of offenders, prison staff and society as a whole.
Latest start date 15/09/2016
Expected contract length
Location Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for National Offender Management Service (NOMS)
Maximum day rate

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Early market engagement
Who the specialist will work with We're building a team of around 70 experts in Web Development, Design and User Research. This is a brilliant opportunity to be part of a growing team from its nascent stage and play an active and continued role in the strategic development of both the team and the studio approaches. Immediate team: Service design team of a Technical Architect, Service Designer and Service Manager- based in Sheffield.
Wider Service Area team: Service design team working across up to 3 Product Delivery Teams- based in Sheffield.
Community of User Researchers, 3 based in London and Head of User Experience in Sheffield
What the specialist will work on The Digital Studio is planned to deliver, over the next 5 years, modern and mobile technology products quickly, responsively and flexibly. Our aim is to reduce reoffending by introducing products that reduce violence, improve employability, reduce self-harm and improve offender-family relationships. This role includes - 1. Leading research across the Prison and Probation Service to build a picture of the system, identifying the actors and the opportunities for service improvements
2. Leading Discovery work to inform the development of new products to reduce reoffending
3. Leading on the development of User Research and User Experience practices across the programme

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Furnace Hill, Sheffield & St James' Park, London
Working arrangements The role includes travel across the UK to conduct research in prisons and probation offices. When not engaged in off-site research, you will be working on-site in Sheffield and London, with at least 2-3 days per week based in Sheffield, so as to have face to face engagement with the rest of the team. There is a £5,000 limit on travel expenses. Expenses will only be covered for research trips/meetings outside of Sheffield. Travel between Sheffield and the Supplier's location is not covered.
Security clearance Basic Clearance is required.

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
  • Have 5+ years conducting user experience research
  • Have Degree Human-Computer Interaction, Human Factors, Cognitive Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, or related field
  • Have In-depth understanding of user-centered design principles and tools
  • Have Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Be Self-motivated, detail-oriented, and able to manage multiple priorities simultaneously
  • Have demonstrable 3+ years experience planning and building digital products.
  • Have Proven experience of stakeholder management; Strong negotiation skills to ensure that design thinking is intrinsic to delivery, but also taking a pragmatic approach to design where needed
  • Have Experience leading (defining scope, approach and carrying out delivery of) end to end service transformation work, using user-centred, agile approaches
  • Have Demonstrable 3+ years experience in working effectively with cross-disciplinary teams (with Design, Software, Content and Product team members)
  • Have Demonstrable 3+ years experience with ensuring that appropriate user research is part of the process for making design decisions
  • Can submit a detailed Work History to by the opportunity deadline of Wednesday 31st August
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have A broad understanding of visual design, interaction design, content design and service design.
  • Have Previous experience of leading mixed teams of designers and researchers.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many specialists to evaluate 10
Cultural fit criteria
  • We challenge the status quo and aim to understand the reason behind ‘the way things have always been done’ to see if there's a better way to do things
  • We respect each other - in our different opinions and are constructive in feedback
  • The unit of delivery is the team - we have no individual heroes, the stars are the teams as whole entities
  • We aren’t afraid of conflict - we surface tensions and conflict early, and address them promptly
  • We believe empowered teams deliver the best products; those who are doing the work should and do have the greatest understanding of the work - so ask the team!
  • We inspect and adapt regularly to continuously improve
  • Working product in the hands of users early and often
  • Products degrade quickly, so we regularly iterate and improvement our products ongoing
  • Collocating the people, skills and knowledge you need is the best way to deliver
  • Measure progress by the value you deliver
  • Keep focus on quality, making sure the whole team is aware of any debt taken on
  • Keep it simple and do less; whether that’s features in the product or the way you are delivering
  • Everyone is responsible for quality
Assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Interview
  • Scenario or test
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. One of the requirements you were asking for is the specialists’ “work history”. Is this correct? Up until now, this hasn’t been required until shortlisting stage. We're aware that this is unusual- we've used the DOS framework before and find the shortlisting process ineffective and time inefficient.
Because we anticipate a positive response to this opportunity, and are aware that it is unlikely we'll be able to create a shortlist using the ‘must have/nice to have’ criteria, we've decided to ask for work history to be submitted in line with the closing date. This avoids the inevitable- having too large a shortlist and going back out to ask for work history. This removes almost a week of the process- due to timescales this is highly desirable.
2. What are the teleconference details for the Q&A session? Question & Answer teleconference session will be held Thursday 25th August at 3pm. If you would like to submit any questions before hand you are welcome to. CONFERENCE CALL DETAILS | 0800 917 1956 | Participant Number: 66237841#
3. For the detailed work history - what is required exactly? Do you require references from previous employers? We have a Work History template that is to be circulated to all interested suppliers. If you would like to receive a copy of the template, please email
4. Does the application need to refer to the experience of one specific person or can this reflect the experience of our broader team? We require the Work History template to be completed with the information, skills & experiences of the specific person applying for the role.
5. Has a risk assessment been created to cover individuals working in prisons and probation offices? No. A number of user researchers from the MoJ team have done lots of research in prisons and probation offices to date.
6. Will you be making use of digital communications methods eg: Skype / GotoMeeting during the project or is this face-to-face only for the duration of the project? Yes, although face to face is expected for most days whilst are not on research trips (ideally at least 4 days a week)
7. What experience of team management has the Head of User Experience got? They are not yet in post.
8. Will the Head of User Experienced, based in Sheffield, act as a line manager for the user researchers? What level of autonomy will the user researchers have in conducting the research activities? Not in post yet. But will have line management responsibility across user researchers and service designers when in post. Line management means overall responsibility for quality and practices. Task management will be managed within the service team (user researcher, service designer, tech architect and service manager).
9. What project management tools will be used so all team members know what is going on? Eg: Trello etc Trello and Jira are currently used by teams.
10. What is the estimated duration required for the user researcher? 6 months minimum, up to 24 months
11. Work History template Please email if you are yet to receive a Work History template. This needs to be completed and submitted to the above email address by 9am Thursday 1st September.