This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Tuesday 1 January 2019
Devon County Council with Adur & Worthing Council and Buckinghamshire County Council

OpenCommunity: data standards for local community-based services

8 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 1 large

13 Completed applications

12 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 18 December 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 25 December 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 1 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Discovery phase for the creation and maintenance of local service directories, to understand what a ‘directory as a service’ could and should look like.
Latest start date
Monday 7 January 2019
Expected contract length
Work much be completed, delivered and invoiced by 31st March 2019.
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Devon County Council with Adur & Worthing Council and Buckinghamshire County Council
Budget range
This project is funded from the Local Digital Fund and as such has a maximum spend of £78,400.

About the work

Why the work is being done
As a recipient of the MHCLG Digital Fund, the collaborating organisations are carrying out a discovery on local service directories. Councils and local public and voluntary organisations have various needs for accurate and trusted data about local services. There is a lot of duplication of effort, little join-up and existing data standards are rarely used in local service directories. We want to know what a directory of services could and should look like in 2019.
Problem to be solved
Public service organisations have a need to connect their service users to local community organisations and activities, including providing information, advice and guidance to meet statutory obligations. They do this by publishing directories of services, but we know there is significant duplication in the creation and management of the data in local areas. This results in an administrative burden (and cost) of maintaining overlapping sets of data. The development of canonical directories or sets of directories could save money, encourage innovation and increase the trust in the data they hold.

Full information at
Who the users are and what they need to do
As someone seeking information, I need to know what services are available locally, so that I can meet my health, care, and other needs.

As admin of service directory, I need to publish data so that it is searchable, and easily integrated as a data service.

As service provider, I want to update my details once, so people and organisations can easily access what I provide.

As national provider I want to access local service directories, including integrations as a data service.

As developer, I need to connect to data about local services, so that I can build useful services.
Early market engagement
No formal work has been undertaken.
Any work that’s already been done
This work is part of a programme funded by the MHCLG Digital Fund There is a requirement to conduct research and evaluate related previous and current projects (some already identified). This will ensure we fully understand what is needed by our users. This project seeks to validate - and build on - the learning of others and to incorporate previous work in this area where appropriate.
Existing team
Tom Dixon (Devon CC) will manage the project on a part-time basis. The project team is led by Paul Brewer (Adur and Worthing) and supported by Ben Unsworth (Buckinghamshire).

Further resources will be drawn from participating councils as required.

There will be no other suppliers engaged on this work
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Worthing, West Sussex with some travel required to Buckinghamshire and Devon. We anticipate some activities will take place in London as a convenient location for teams and stakeholders. The discovery will involve significant desktop research and analysis and remote working is expected.

We anticipate some activities will take place in London as a convenient location for teams and stakeholders. The discovery will involve significant desktop research and analysis and remote working is expected.
Working arrangements
There will be weekly retros via video link for the project team. Work plans will be agreed and monitored by the OpenCommunity project manager.

We will use collaborative tools such as Google Docs for creating and sharing information, Google Hangouts for our meetings, Trello for managing tasks.

We will adopt an ‘open first’ approach to how we work to help others learn from our experience.

Three councils, together with many stakeholders, distributed across the UK will place an emphasis on effective collaboration to ensure successful delivery.

We will publish information at in due course.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
This project must be delivered in line with the commitments the collaborating organisations have made as signatories to the MHCLG Digital Declaration

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
  • Provide a multidisciplinary team, including user research, service designer and data architect / engineer
  • Adopt user centred design and agile approaches
  • Have experience of designing a directory that consumes / provides API endpoints
  • Be agnostic of any particular software
  • Be able to meet the Local Government Digital Service standard
  • Have experience of data standards and the process of developing and documenting a data standard
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Experience of a similar project

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • The proposed approach and methodology
  • Team structure, including skills and experience
  • Estimated timeframe for the work
  • Identification of risks and plan to mitigate them
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisations and suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you please confirm if there is any flexibility around the working arrangements? Are you open to our team co-locating with council teams in Bucks or Devon, instead of West Sussex?
Yes - there is complete flexibility around the working arrangements. We are open to your team co-locating with council teams in Bucks or Devon, instead of West Sussex. We also anticipate an amount of desk-based remote working.
2. Is the budget for the discovery phase or the whole procurement?
The budget is to cover the discovery phase only.
3. Could you confirm if your budget includes VAT?
The total budget is exclusive of VAT.
4. How far along the agile journey is the buyer's team? How much experience do they have of Agile delivery?
The buyer’s team are at different stages with respect to working in an Agile manner but are working hard to ensure that all participants can adopt a true Agile approach. As part of this team members across all three councils are converging on one online working environment and are booked on to a three day ‘agile for teams’ course run by GDS Academy in January.
5. The essential requirement includes being " to meet the Local Government Digital Service standard". The LGDSS is a very rudimentary standard. Would suppliers be able to present case studies exceeding this and would the buyer be able to evaluate them?
We expect suppliers to recognise that this project will adopt the LGDSS or the forthcoming iteration of the GDS Service Standard. We need to have complete confidence/reassurance that the appointed supplier can work within the spirit and practical intent of the service standard. Suppliers should present evidence that they are familiar with these standards and have worked on projects that have met or exceeded them.
6. As part of this discovery work, would the buyer like to have a basic, working PoC or MVP? Or is it sufficient to deliver an alpha? Since this procurement appears to suit that better than a simple discovery phase.
We have no expectations of a working PoC/MVP. If the supplier prefers to work by creating very early prototypes then we can work with that, but we are not evaluating bids based on that outcome.
Ideal outcomes would include: Comprehensive engagement and knowledge of standards work happening elsewhere; User research with a range of users and stakeholders to validate requirements; Recommendations around which existing standards to further develop or indeed the development of a standard if none can be found that meet the needs identified by users; Evidence that can inform the business case for a potential alpha phase.
7. Can you expand on what you mean by experience of developing a data standard? What kind of data standard do you have in mind?
At a fundamental level, we anticipate a documented standard and schema such as those at backed up by user research and evidence. We anticipate working very closely and aligning with work that LGA and iStandUK have been doing e.g. their approach to developing a standard schema - together with other partners/stakeholders. Liaising with commercial directory providers will be crucial to understanding barriers to adoption.
8. Good morning. We understand that the deadline for submissions is 1st January. In view of the New Year holidays, would you please consider extending the deadline? Thank you.
Unfortunately, we are restricted to the fixed 14 day period that the Digital Marketplace imposes. We do apologise for this and recognise it is not ideal. With the timing of the funding announcement and a deadline of 31st March we felt we needed to get the project underway as soon as possible.
9. Are we correct in thinking that the first stage deadline is January 1st following which you will select 4 suppliers (based on the skills and experience responses) who will then be required to submit a full proposal? If this is correct, can you give an indication of when the full proposal will be required?
Correct - we will shortlist and invite at least 4 suppliers to submit a full written proposal. We intend to shortlist and notify 4th January. Our indicative deadline for full proposals is likely to be Sunday 13th. Apologies for short deadlines.