Gateshead Council, Sunderland City Council and Northumberland County Council

Taxi licensing applications discovery - fixing complexity, inefficiency and risk

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
9 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
3 SME, 1 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 14 December 2018
Deadline for asking questions Friday 21 December 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 28 December 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Delivery of a discovery project using an agile approach to understand the opportunities for digital solutions for taxi licensing services. Helping us understand how a digital solution can enhance safety, improve the end user experience and reduce costs at a local and national scale.
Latest start date Friday 18 January 2019
Expected contract length 10 weeks
Location North East England
Organisation the work is for Gateshead Council, Sunderland City Council and Northumberland County Council
Budget range Maximum award of £70,000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done Following a successful bid to the Local Digital Fund, we are carrying out a discovery project to understand and explore the opportunities for scalable and open digital solutions within taxi licencing services and the potential benefits this may have at a local and national scale.

We are seeking support from a supplier to deliver a discovery project by 22nd March 2019 to produce the following outputs:

- User Research Report, to help us understand the problem.
- Benefits case
- Summary and recommendations
- Agile and user research skills transfer

Project closure will be 31st March 2019.
Problem to be solved Licensing services in local government tend not to have embraced digital approaches, with reliance on paper application processes.

Ensuring public safety is paramount and licensing authorities need confidence that digital solutions can enhance measures and processes already in place.

Licensees are sometimes reluctant to engage with licensing authorities other than by traditional means (telephone, letter and face to face) so digital solutions need to be understandable, accessible and effective.

The discovery project will explore digital solutions to improve public safety, whether through making a decision quicker or making it easier to share information with other authorities.
Who the users are and what they need to do As a Licensing Manager, I need confidence in the process so that the service provided ensures public safety and legal requirements.

As a Licensing Officer, I need to administer licensing applications quickly and easily so residents are safe and time and resource is not wasted.

As a resident I need confidence in the taxi licence processes so that I can travel safely.

As a licensee I need to be able to apply for a taxi license quickly, fairly and easily, so I do not waste time and money.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team They will work with teams from Gateshead, Northumberland and Sunderland Councils made up of digital services officers and licensing officers.
Current phase Discovery

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place The supplier will be assessing our current processes across each three partnering authorities and therefore will be working from Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumberland Council offices.
Working arrangements You will be working primarily in Gateshead, but you will be required to support Gateshead Council and partners to carry out user research in their localities across the North East, particularly Northumberland and Sunderland.

There is a substantial element of the project involving direct contact with users including taxi licensees and their passengers. Therefore flexibility will be required in accessing and undertaking research with these user groups outside of partnering organisation boundaries, to work across the North East.
Security clearance

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 experience of designing and running user research projects and the production of associated reports
  • Have experience of transferring skills to people with limited or no user research background
  • Demonstrate experience of agile working principles,tools and techniques Evidence data analysis skills and presentation of findings
  • Have flexibility to work across a wide range of users and stakeholders within the North East region
  • Demonstrate an open user-centered approach with effective communication skills
  • Experience of identifying users of digital services in the public domain and securing their participation in user research
  • Have experience of delivering a detailed benefits case
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate and understand licencing services provided by the public sector
  • Experience of working with local government
  • Experience of leading Discovery and Alpha phases within the public sector
  • Have demonstrable experience of working in a culture of continuous improvement and enhanced service delivery
  • Knowledge and experience of delivering digital services to the GDS service standard and design principles
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the taxi industry

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 6
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology to delivering the User Research Report
  • Approach and methodology to delivering the Benefits case
  • Approach and methodology to delivering the Summary and recommendations
  • Approach and methodology for undertaking skills transfer
  • Demonstrating how timelines will be achieved through a detailed plan
  • Team structure, including skills and experience of individuals
  • Detailed budget breakdown demonstrating how value for money will be achieved
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be committed to adhering to the principles of the Local Digital Declaration
  • Exhibit strong team working with our organisations and other stakeholders
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Work in the open
  • Take responsibility and accountability for their work
  • Demonstrate courage to challenge the status quo
  • Can work with users of all technical abilities
Payment approach Fixed price
Assessment methods Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Has the buyer got previous experience of working in agile discovery exercises? Failing that, agile delivery at all? Our partners Sunderland and Northumberland Councils both have experience of working in agile discovery exercises. Gateshead Council is knowledgeable about agile delivery and discovery exercises and key members of the team have undertaken training in this field. However, Gateshead Council has not yet undertaken a full agile discovery exercise. It is on this basis that we have specified requirements for skills transfer so that by the end of this project we want to be better placed to run agile discovery exercises ourselves.
2. Is the buyer aware that they actually need systems thinking experts as much as UX experts for this requirement? If this is already known, why is this not evaluated? We have not identified any specific roles in our requirements. If suppliers believe that there are specific roles required to meet the aims and outcomes of our requirements they are invited to apply to this opportunity. Suppliers are expected to outline their proposed team structure, including skills and experience of individuals in their bid.
3. The RFP has the potential to offer a much wider socio-economic benefit than the cases stated in the notice. Would it be beneficial for suppliers to provide those quantified opportunities as part of the deliverable? We have not detailed specific benefits to be included in the ‘benefits case’. We expect that the work undertaken during the discovery is intended to identify benefits, these may include wider socio-economic benefits.
4. Would suppliers be considered who have delivered exactly this, but for other industries? Suppliers who have delivered this for other industries will be considered if they have the required skills and experience as outlined in the advertised opportunity.
5. Would suppliers be able to supply links to case-studies and case-study discovery collateral as part of their response to this notice?
In essence, we'd like to find out if the buyer would evaluate it, or will this just be another Digital Marketplace waste of time, as the buyer can't evaluate the difference between those who CLAIM they can do it (yet have never delivered it) over those that ACTUALLY did it and can evidence it (but it's not written – we are talking live, interactive collateral, remember. Something that isn't submittable through the Digital Marketplace)?
Suppliers that are shortlisted during stage one will be invited to submit a second stage full application. During stage two all suppliers will be evaluated on their written proposal only, undertaking the same application process to ensure equal opportunity. Demonstrable evidence should be provided as outlined in the opportunity and this will be taken into account during the evaluation of applications.
6. Is a mix of onsite in Gateshead, plus onsite with stakeholders / users, plus offsite to complete report writing etc an acceptable mix of service delivery to you? The project will require extensive on-site user research with licensing officers, taxi drivers, taxi companies and other stakeholders at all three locatiosn – Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumberland. However, it would be perfectly acceptable to complete the report writing etc off-site.
7. Will the authorities facilitate the user group gatherings and permissions from users to speak with them? The authorities would help to facilitate and set up the user group gatherings. However, we would expect the supplier to deliver and manage the sessions including gaining permissions from users. The teams from each authority would participate in the user sessions in order to observe, learn and assist.
8. We are a software developer that has already worked through a lot of these challenges in other countries, that could be used as a base to then complete gap analysis on what is unique in your local processes. How can we answer your requirement that enables you to gain value from our experience? Organisations interested in this opportunity may have undertaken very similar work previously within the industry. However, in order to ensure equal opportunity, we cannot suggest how organisations pitch their responses. All shortlisted organisations will need to decide how to pitch their responses to demonstrate how their experience and track record meet the project requirements.
9. Is your budget inclusive or exclusive of VAT? The budget is inclusive of VAT.
10. 'Agile and user research skills transfer' – does the buyer expect that during the research we will teach their internal teams about the techniques and approaches that we take during the analysis and research? Is it expected that similar tasks will be performed in agile way and we should build the process that will be applicable for everyone? We do not expect the supplier to deliver formal training, skills transfer will take place from on-the-job experiences and coaching. This is likely to include but not limited to observing, supporting and working alongside the successful supplier, question and answer sessions and the provision of tips, tools and techniques.

We expect the discovery and all tasks to be delivered using agile principles and tools. Delivery of the project should be undertaken in such a way that those with varying levels of agile knowledge and technical skills can easily understand, allowing for skills transfer to take place.
11. There are four main problems to solve – could we get the prioritization of those problems? Or they are already listed in proper order from the most to least crucial? The problem to solve is fixing the complexity, inefficiency and risk of Taxi Licensing applications.

The discovery has four outputs, all of which are crucial and of equal importance and need to be delivered by 22nd March, these are:

- User Research Report

- Benefits case

- Summary and recommendations

- Agile and user research skills transfer
12. We understand that the deadline for submissions is Friday 28 December. In view of the Christmas and New Year period, would you please consider extending the deadline? Unfortunately, the deadline for submissions and supplier questions cannot be extended as it is fixed at a two week duration as part of the tendering process.
13. Question 5 asks about the shortlisting stage, but the answer talks about post-shortlisting. Thus not answering the question.

Shortlisting questions is to do... what?... it is not to present evidence that they can do what they can say they can do (or have done), as that can only happen post-shortlisting. If a supplier can do it, but is not allowed to demonstrate they can do it during shortlisting, they will never get to demonstrate it after shortlisting, as they are cut out. Hence the buyer is stuck evaluating a set of potentially unsuitable suppliers.

So what's the point in shortlisting?
Please refer to the following guidance for clarification on the shortlisting process:
14. Regarding the question "Demonstrate experience of agile working principles,tools and techniques Evidence data analysis skills and presentation of findings" – the capital letter in the middle of this sentence makes it look like it was intended to be two, separate 100 word questions/responses. Please can you confirm? Yes it was intended that these should be two separate questions:

- Demonstrate experience of agile working principles,tools and techniques
- Evidence data analysis skills and presentation of findings
15. Is there a way to answer these two separately:

• Demonstrate experience of agile working principles,tools and techniques
• Evidence data analysis skills and presentation of findings

Because they are attached to one box, the word count automatically limits to 100 words for both
We are unable to change the questions at this stage and so both questions will need to be answered in one box.

All suppliers will be in the same position.