Awarded to Nomensa Ltd

Start date: Monday 1 July 2019
Value: £60,900
Company size: SME
Highways England Company Limited

GDS discovery phase research

7 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 2 large

24 Completed applications

17 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Tuesday 18 September 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 25 September 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 2 October 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The aim is to provide an improved service to Dart Charge website users. This will be measured by increased user satisfaction, ease of use and increased functionality digital channels, especially the website. Crossing charges and Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) can be paid via digital channels. Accounts can be managed digitally.
Latest start date
Thursday 15 November 2018
Expected contract length
3 months
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Highways England Company Limited
Budget range
Up to £75,000 – this should include all expenses.

About the work

Why the work is being done
We communicate extensively with the public using a range of digital channels and we need to ensure that the Dart Charge web service is continuing to meet the needs of our users. We need to analyse the effectiveness and customer satisfaction of this digital service, establish user needs, opportunities which will support our digital roadmap.
Problem to be solved
Review and detail user website testing to understand the journey of users through the website payment service.

Conduct user research and testing – to manage and ensure there is enough to understand and develop a suite of user needs. Cover these main user needs and ensure user stories are consistent with them.

Assess current user stories and personas to determine suitability, update where required and create further ones where gaps are determined given the results of the research. The personas would be created based on the interaction with the defined user groups.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users should represent a broad cross section of account, non-account (casual), LRDS (local residents), commercial users and those that need digital assistance, such that the results are statistically significant. We can provide contacts for some commercial users but the remainder would have to be sourced as part of the task.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have conducted an extensive survey asking account holders their usage, views and improvement requests. This covers personal, business and local residents on the discount scheme survey.
Existing team
They will work primarily with the existing digital team in Highways England. This would involve the Digital Services team in Leeds as well as the project team in Guildford and operational team in Birmingham.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
As we want the provider to assess our online digital services the majority of this work can take place off site. However, it may require some time to be spent at our office in Leeds, Birmingham and Guildford for project briefing, reporting and feedback. There is a substantial element of the task involving direct contact with user groups.
Working arrangements
We want the provider to communicate with our users and potential users so they can do this in whatever way they feel most appropriate and we would not require them to be on site for any specific amount of time. We would expect them to visit our teams in Leeds, Birmingham and Guildford as required for meetings and workshops as well as be available for regular tele-conferences. They may need to visit our offices more in the initial phase of work as we plan and agree the scope of the project.
Expenses should be covered within budget for the project.
Security clearance
Must comply with Highway England's Security requirements.

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
  • Have 3+ years’ experience conducting user experience research
  • Have 3+ years’ experience establishing and validating user needs for digital services
  • Have In-depth understanding of user-centred research, design principles, methods and tools
  • Experience of identifying users of digital services in the public domain and securing their participation in user research.
  • Experience of effective engagement with current and potential users, including assisted digital users.
  • Have excellent analytical, problem solving, written and verbal communication skills
  • Proven experience of organising, managing, executing and analysing usability test sessions
  • Knowledge and experience of delivering digital services to the GDS service standard and design principles
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience working with local or national government
  • Experience of taking a service through the GDS service assessment process
  • Experience of working in/with public sector teams, particularly those with no/limited experience of Agile, in Discovery and iterative development
  • Have demonstrable experience of working in a culture of continuous delivery and improvement
  • Experience of Online transactional services
  • Experience of leading Discovery and Alpha phases within the public sector
  • Experience of delivering the expected outcomes for the Discovery and Alpha phases

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How the approach or solution meets our goals
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work with us as part of a team
  • Work well in a collaborative agile team and be confident at communicating and demonstrating developments and ideas
  • Demonstrate courage and challenge the status quo (e.g. can express controversial views, confront reality, make tough decisions,)
  • Demonstrate responsibility (e.g. act like a leader, provide solutions to problems, seek the best for the organisation beyond your team)
  • Be respectful of different opinions and constructive in feedback
  • Can work with users with low technical expertise
  • Share knowledge and experience
  • Have proven experience of stakeholder management and strong negotiation skills
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What falls under the 'Dart Charge web service' so it's clear what the scope of the research is? Please could you provide links too?
The Dart Charge web service provides a channel for customers to pay the Dartford Crossing Road User Charge (RUC). A penalty charge notice (PCN) can be issued to customers who do not pay the RUC in time. PCN payment and representations against these can be made through the website.
Highways England want to understand how customers use the current service and evaluate user’s experience of the current website to see how effective it is to use and where user’s frustrations are. This will involve recruiting different types of users, such as, business/ personal users account and non-account holders.
2. What are Highway England's Security requirements?
Please can you clarify further as to what you mean by your question - for example, do you mean with regards to data security, security clearance for staff or something else?
3. Are you looking to augment your current team with UX consultants or are you expecting a fully complemented Discovery team?
We are expecting the delivery of this short piece of work to be completed by a fully complemented Discovery team, who will work with the existing service and project teams, building from existing work completed to date, as appropriate. As the work is mainly UX based we will be reliant on a team with a good UX background, evidenced by proven experience.
4. The ITT states that the successful providers security clearance must comply with the Highway England's Security requirements. What specifically are these?
Any individual on the team must have current BPSS clearance.
5. In the answer to the supplier question, “Are you looking to augment your current team with UX consultants or are you expecting a fully complemented Discovery team?” you state: "…As the work is mainly UX based we will be reliant on a team with a good UX background, evidenced by proven experience." We take UX to mean interaction design – did you mean to say UR (user research)? This project seems to be primarily about user research.
We are looking for an objective and independent assessment of how different users interact with and use the website – where they find things easy or difficult to do, and where their user journey or experience could be improved. In this way we mean UX. These findings will be used to validate the requirements being developed for the next generation of Dart Charge services and inform the development of the website. In tandem, the existing user personas and stories will need to be assessed by the successful supplier and developed to be suitable for the current project.
6. • You mention that there are existing personas and user stories, but there may be gaps and improvements to make – can we see them now to be able to assess what state they are in and how much work might be required?
• Were the personas created for this project, or for another project?
• Can you give some more detail on the survey you have just undertaken – how many responses did you receive? What was the sample method? Were the results tested for statistical significance? Can you share a copy of the survey results and analysis?
User personas were created for the original Dartford Crossing Free-Flow Charging scheme (Dart Charge), introduced in 2014. Improvements to the service should not change fundamental functionality of the website (to pay for a crossing, a Penalty Charge Notice, and manage an account). Due to changes in technology and user behaviour, the current user personas and stories may need to be developed.
The survey already undertaken, by an independent research company, primarily focused on the perceptions of crossing/service experiences for account-holders, rather than observed/actual experience. We have a much smaller survey for non-account holders.
Reports will be available to shortlisted suppliers.
7. You state that “The users should represent a broad cross section of account, non-account (casual), LRDS (local residents), commercial are statistically significant”. Do you consider the scope of discovery to include a new quantitative survey, with results tested for statistical significance, or are you anticipating the data from the survey you have just conducted will provide the necessary quantitative data for our work, and we should focus more on qualitative activities with a representative sample of users? The answer to this question will have a considerable impact on costs.
This task requires the recruitment of participants from these sets of user groups.
The number of users sampled should fully represent the aforementioned groups, though sample size should be determined by the supplier. The investigation and outputs is expected to be quantitative, with a focus on observing and evaluating the effectiveness of existing user online experience(s). This quantitative/qualitative ratio is not fixed, however, and this should be determined by the potential supplier. Previous survey data is for ancillary use and is not related to the requirements for this task.
8. Was the survey conducted by internally or by an agency? If it’s the latter, can you tell us which agency it was?
• Can you estimate how much time (a percentage of overall time or number of days) we might need to allow for working in Leeds, Birmingham and Guildford?
• Can you provide a copy of Highway England's Security requirements.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos Mori. We estimate at least 50% of the time to be working onsite or at the locations listed, mainly Birmingham and Guildford, for meetings and updates. Engagement is needed with representative groups of all users of the crossing including local residents and businesses. Local Resident Discount Scheme users are those who pay council tax to either Dartford Borough Council or Thurrock Council.
The BPSS check consists of:
- ID verification
- 3 years’ employment references
- Nationality and right to work checks
- Basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate (Criminal Records Check)
9. 1. Please could you advise on the relative prioritisation of audiences for research and the associated rationale?
2. What is the minimum sample size of users required for consultation and can a breakdown be provided for each audience group?
3. Has Highways England developed a research brief to aid recruitment or is help required in identifying the right sample?
Are Highways England open to alternative methods of user recruitment / research for example guerrilla / in the field research, leveraging our employee network etc.?
1. Audiences and user groups all have equal priority. We require a good cross section of users including protected groups and those that require digital assistance.
2. The minimum sample size should be determined by the successful supplier. There are approximately: 1.184m personal account-holders, 83,000 business account-holders, 253 exempt-users and 45,400 Local Resident Discount Scheme-users.
3. We do not have a research brief; help is required to find the right sample of users.
We are open to alternative methods of user recruitment, but this must be representative of the user set.
10. Do you have a list of pre-defined user needs for the service? If so could you share them with us?
This task is focused on the current functionality of the online service. The task should cover all aspects of interaction with the current online service, central to which is the ability to pay for a crossing, pay a Penalty Charge Notice and manage online accounts. We have existing user stories and personas, which will be made available to shortlisted suppliers, however, as the advert states these need reviewing for effectiveness and developing as appropriate.
11. What work have they done and data collected? For example have they got website tracking information that gives a pointer to where users might be struggling? The ITT states that work already done includes an extensive survey of users – is it possible to provide access to the survey results in the form of a report or summary?
2. What deliverables are you expecting in the Discovery report or in addition to a report? For example expecting insights into challenges, UX insights and guidelines or more, such as wireframes?
Existing survey work consists mainly of a report detailing account-holder user views/perceptions which will be made available to shortlisted suppliers. This task is to investigate actual user interactions. Limited tracking information and website analytics is captured and will be available to the successful supplier.
We want to understand how users find the website for ease of use/areas for improvements but not any design work at this stage. The successful supplier should determine the most appropriate form of reporting; to include insights into challenges and UX but not wireframes at this stage. Updated user personas and stories are expected deliverables.