Start date: Monday 1 July 2019
Value: £140,000
Company size: SME
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and London Borough of Sutton

Digital transformation partner

35 Incomplete applications

26 SME, 9 large

38 Completed applications

33 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Monday 31 December 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 7 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 14 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To join our digital team and provide extra capacity, additional expertise and experience, and external challenge and validation, in order to identify and deliver significant savings through user-centric digital transformation.
Latest start date
Monday 11 February 2019
Expected contract length
6 months
Organisation the work is for
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and London Borough of Sutton
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
Kingston and Sutton councils need to make significant savings, increase efficiency and also meet the expectations of our residents, business and staff in delivering services which are centered around their needs.

We are taking an agile service design approach to transformation in order to make significant and accelerated progress to meet these key aims.

This work will directly contribute to delivering £2.5m savings.
Problem to be solved
The councils need to save money, become more efficient whilst enhancing the experience of customers and staff. Many processes and interactions involve traditional interventions. The customer and staff experience can be fragmented with no consistent digital delivery across services. The mindset in many areas remains a legacy delivery model and considerable changes need to be made to processes, being truly user-centric and addressing digital skills.

We are looking to increase our design and change capacity and capability for digitally led transformation, and we are looking for a partner who can inject pace and additional expertise to our existing team.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a resident, visitor, customer or business I want to engage with the council in my own way at my own convenience.

As an elected member I need to engage with my community, have information to make decisions and understand any issues, and close the budget gap.

As a member of staff I need to work flexibly, be empowered and rewarded for my work. I also need to work in an open and transparent environment.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The councils have a Digital Strategy and there is a theme within the strategy to make the most of our data and to be as open and transparent as possible.

We are currently procuring a new Customer Platform in order to deliver improved customer experience.

We have analysed and prioritised service areas at a high level, and are currently in the process of deeper analysis into where savings can be generated through service redesign and digital transformation and guide where effort should be concentrated.
Existing team
We have a multi-disciplinary team which works alongside corporate transformation teams and service areas to undertake digital service design. Existing skills include business analysis, development, testing, user research, interaction design, data management, user experience, and more. The team works using an Agile approach.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Guildhall Complex, High Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1EU
Civic Centre, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA
Working arrangements
On site, in services, with users, and with our internal teams as much as possible.
Security clearance
Where working directly and independently with vulnerable people the providers staff may need to hold DBS clearance. In the absence of this, staff from the relevant service areas would need to be present and need to be considered as part of the work.

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
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering agile based service discovery and alpha outcomes to support complex transformation / delivery of savings in a large-scale delivery environment.
  • Experience of deploying an effective, culturally integrated team to hit the ground running on the required date that consistently delivers to plan.
  • Demonstrable expertise in agile service discovery, alpha outcomes, transformation / savings in areas such as social care. Including experience in change management, driving internal / external culture and behavioural change.
  • Proven ability to lead and coach public sector organisations through the digital transformation process aligned with the agile service design methodology.
  • Experience of holding innovation labs.
  • Demonstrable experience of supporting knowledge-transfer.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Experience of the wider smart cities agenda.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding of user needs
  • Team structure and experience
  • Approach and methodology
  • Identification of key risks and dependencies
  • Evidence of delivering large scale savings through digital transformation projects at pace
  • Case study from a similar project
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues in in service areas and Digital & IT.
  • Experience delivering in an open, collaborate, agile way according to the principles outlined in the Government Service Design Manual.
  • Demonstrate simplicity (e.g. do less but better, explaining complex issues in a clear, simple way, break down and prioritise complex issues).
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers.
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions.
  • Share knowledge and experience with team members and the wider service.
  • Work openly - for example, sharing findings from other councils and with other councils.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Does this fall outside or within IR35?
We are looking for an organisation to partner with our existing digital design and delivery teams, supplying a range of additional resources, skills and expertise as they are required during our transformation program. As such, this would be outside of IR35.
2. This reads like a capability uplift for delivery rather than an advisory / ‘how do we…?’ piece of work. Can you advise us.
Yes, we're looking to build capacity in our digital design and delivery teams by partnering with an organisation which can supply a range of skills as they are required during our transformation programme.
3. Is there any rough estimate on how many resources and which roles may be required?
We're looking to compliment the existing team and provide additional skills where there might be gaps. Examples of the skills we may need include: digital service designers, business and data analysts, user researchers, user experience designers, product managers, etc. Exact requirements for resources will be determined through discovery activities and will depend on the nature of the intended transformation.
4. Would the authorities be comfortable with some of the proposed work being carried out offshore?
In principle the authorities would be comfortable with some of the work being carried out offshore, but the proposal would need to demonstrate how that would be compatible with delivering the outcomes required.
5. Is the £100-150k fee expected to include travel/subsistence costs and VAT?
The £100-150k budget is exclusive of VAT but inclusive of expenses.
6. Is the £2.5m saving quoted the expected saving across the entire digital transformation programme across both authorities?
This is a saving that Kingston is committed to make through digital transformation. Sutton also needs to make savings and an expected outcome of this work is the identification and delivery of these.
7. Is the expectation that this is a fixed-term piece of work for the six months mentioned with fixed objectives, or that the partnership would extend beyond this?
There is potential for a longer term partnership, but that would be subject to further commissioning following this phase of work.
8. Can you host a call with suppliers about this opportunity where we can have a live Q&A and the discussion notes are shared on this tender ad? This has proven helpful on other DM opportunities.
Unfortunately this is not going to be possible with the timeframes that are set.
9. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold at Royal Borough of Kensington and Sutton?
A team of 3 senior officers from Kingston and Sutton's shared Digital and IT service will be scoring applications for this opportunity.
10. Are you working with any existing suppliers in relation to this tender opportunity? If you are, who are they?
No we are not working with any existing suppliers in relation to this tender opportunity.
11. Can you please share the digital strategy documentation mentioned in the tender ad?
Here is a link to the Digital Strategy:
12. How much time is required on-site from the supplier with your team? Understandably many discovery activities need to be done where the users are and many tasks can be done remotely (helping save costs).
We anticipate a blend of co-location and remote working, depending on the activities being undertaken. For instance, we would expect the supplier to be onsite for cross-council work, discovery activities and innovation labs, and also for sprint planning and show & tells, etc.
13. Of the internal roles you’ve defined, how much experience do these team members have in delivering agile outcomes and digital transformation? Were they new hires or existing team members reallocated to new roles?
Most of the team members have several years' experience and have worked for the shared digital and IT service for several years. Many were hired specifically to deliver agile digital service design and transformation, and all have experience of both Agile and Waterfall delivery approaches. We are continuing to recruit and hope to have some additional members of the team in due course.
14. Please can you provide details of what the next steps are following this initial application i.e. deadlines for the written proposal/if there will be an interview and when?
Indicative timeline which is subject to change:

Tuesday 22nd January - shortlist
Tuesday 29th January - deadline for written proposal and supporting documents
Wednesday 30th January - Wednesday 6th February - presentations
15. Is this role outside IR35 or inside IR35?
16. Following on from question 14, please can you confirm that the only quality information you require from us by 14th January is our response to the skills and experience section, and that our response to the proposal criteria and cultural fit criteria is to be submitted separately, by 29th January (assuming we are shortlisted).
Not quite. What we need from you by 14th January is evidence that you meet the essential criteria (and the nice to have criteria if you meet it); how you meet the requirements set out in our cultural fit; when you can start; contact details; and cost.

We will evaluate what you send against the criteria specified, and apply the weighting outlined above. We will shortlist the 4 highest ranked suppliers.

If you are shortlisted, we will then ask you to provide a more detailed proposal, along with references and work history, and invite you in for a presentation.
17. What are your co-location expectations/requirements for the duration of the project?
We anticipate a blend of co-location and remote working, depending on the activities being undertaken. For instance, we would expect the supplier to be onsite for cross-council work, discovery activities and innovation labs, and also for sprint planning and show & tells, etc.
18. Can you give us an idea of the team roles you may want to call on?
Examples of the skills we may need include digital service designers, business and data analysts, user researchers, user experience designers, product managers, solution architects, etc.
19. Would you foresee team members being dedicated to the transformation programme full time, or brought in only when their particular skills are required?
Probably a mixture of both, but with as required being more likely than full time.
20. With reference to question 16, where on the online form should we provide our cost and cultural fit information? We can see boxes for the start date, contact details and essential / nice-to-have criteria, but there do not appear to be any boxes for cost and cultural fit before we reach the submission page.
Apologies for the confusion - the cultural fit and cost information is actually submitted at the next stage not this one. If you are shortlisted, you will need to submit this information as part of the more detailed written proposal. At this stage you just need to complete the boxes about start date, contact details and essential / nice-to-have criteria.
21. Can you tell us about some example transformation projects the team will be working on?
An example of a project that the team will be working on is maximising older people's independence through innovative uses of digital technologies. The team is currently investigating and evaluating countrywide pilot projects which have used wearable and Internet of Things technologies, and it is expected that this will lead to very different ways of providing services.
22. Please confirm who the people on your selection panel are and their individual roles and responsibilities
A team of three senior officers from Kingston and Sutton will be scoring applications for this opportunity. Further details of their roles and responsibilities will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
23. What do you see as the identified risks around the delivery of this work?
As with all uses of external resources, the main risk associated with this is that key knowledge may leave with the resource and be lost to the organisations. This can be mitigated through close involvement with and upskilling of permanent resources. Equally significant is the risk of poor performance, but this can be mitigated by close collaboration between the organisation and supplier and regular monitoring.
24. Who are your current IT suppliers?
We have many IT suppliers, but none in this area.
25. How does the organisational structure within the councils support the digital and IT functions working together?
'Digital and IT' is the name given to the department that provides strategic leadership and operational support regarding all aspects of technology. It is not two separate teams.
26. What technology is the new customer platform based on?
We are currently in the process of finalising the commissioning activities. The digital transformation needed may involve the customer platform, but won't necessarily, and it shouldn't be assumed that this is simply about 'putting things online'.
27. Is the budget only for pure consulting or the expectation is to handle implementation as well?
The budget is for hands on digital transformation resources such as business analysts, service designers, developers, etc, but not for purchases such as software.
28. Can you provide the architecture landscape for the existing systems?
Details of systems and architecture will be shared with the successful supplier as required.
29. What are the various channels of customer interaction : Web, Chat, Contact center, e-mail, mails etc.? What channels do you plan to explore w.r.t customer experience, User experience etc. – E.g. : Chatbot, live chat, contact center agent desk top etc.
We are unsure of the relevance of this question to digital transformation, but you are welcome to read our customer access strategy which provides further information about this area:
30. Has an exercise to evaluate possible technologies / platforms been conducted? If yes, can we get the output of the exercise?
We are coming to the end of a commissioning exercise for the customer platform (online forms, workflow and customer relationship management system). We can share the output with the successful supplier.
31. Do you have a contact center set up? If yes, what are the call volumes, % split of calls across categories – e.g.: general enquiry, payment related etc.
We are unsure of the relevance of this question to digital transformation, but you are welcome to read our customer access strategy which provides further information about this area:
32. In a previous answer, you state: “we're...partnering with an organisation which can supply a range of skills as they are required during our transformation programme.”

How do you expect the working relationship with the successful supplier to go? Are you intending on leading this programme internally, drawing upon supplier skills as needed or are you expecting to fully collaborate with and utilise the supplier’s experience of leading successful transformation projects, upskilling/transferring knowledge to your team and enabling your organisation to become self-sufficient in the long run?
We are definitely seeking a supplier with whom we can collaborate fully, and has a wealth of experience and expertise from which we can learn. We anticipate that there will be an element of drawing upon the supplier's skills and resources as needed, but more at the implementation rather than transformation stage.