Department for Education

Discovery into how DfE user journeys are presented online

Incomplete applications

21
Incomplete applications
18 SME, 3 large

Completed applications

50
Completed applications
39 SME, 11 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Thursday 3 January 2019
Deadline for asking questions Thursday 10 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Thursday 17 January 2019 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work We require a supplier with experience delivering digital services that meet users' needs in line with the GDS Digital Service Standard to deliver discovery and alpha analysing how DfE should present digital service user journeys and content online.

DfE reserves the right not to proceed beyond the Discovery phase.
Latest start date Monday 11 February 2019
Expected contract length Up to 6 months: 2 months for Discovery with a possible 4 month extension for alpha
Location London
Organisation the work is for Department for Education
Budget range Up to £160,000 for Discovery and up £400,000 for Alpha totalling £560,000 for the entire contract.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done DfE is transforming from a policy to a delivery department. Following mapping discoveries in 2017, research identified around 250 digital services and nearly 60 service lines. Work has already begun to deliver some of these.

DfE now wants to strategically align our user journeys across the government digital estate - including content and digital services - to provide a better experience for our users and to improve join up across our various departmental responsibilities, in line with the Secretary of State’s digital ambition.
Problem to be solved It is hard for some users to find DfE content and services.

This Discovery should explore:

Users' needs for accessing DfE content and services.

How users interact with the brands that DfE's domains provide and how they might interact with new brands in future.

Co-design exercises to prototype and test new ways in which users could access DFE content and services in a joined up way providing a better experience.

Financial analysis to support a DFE business case.

Subject to approval, deliver an Alpha to:

Take forward recommendations into an alpha.

Deliver a report recommending work to undertake during Beta.
Who the users are and what they need to do As a parent I need to know how to apply for financial support for my child, as a parent I need to find support to help my child learn at home, as a potential teacher I need to train to be a teacher so that I can be employed as a qualified teacher, as a school leader I need to know about funding opportunities so that my school can apply for relevant grants.

We would expect the supplier to further define user-stories as part of the discovery phase.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team A small team of civil servants will be in place to work with the discovery team as part of this requirement.
Current phase Not started

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Department for Education
20 Great Smith St
Westminster
London
SW1P 3BT
Working arrangements Co-located working principally from the DfE's London office, maximising opportunity for engagement with the policy unit and stakeholders. Some travel to meet users is likely. In relation to expenses, this must be included in the contract sum, there is not a separate budget for expenses. Operate a standard agile methodology: daily stand-us, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives, show and tells. Supplier will lead by being a role model in agile working.
Security clearance BPSS as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Standard Framework and Call Off Terms and Conditions. Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with CCS Travel and Subsistence Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S policy. Primary work location stated in SoW will not attract expenses. Contract and Vendor Management will form a key part of governance and suppliers will be expected to co-operate in a manner that fosters healthy working relationships and quality delivery.
Suppliers must provide sufficient guarantees to meet the requirements of GDPR in line with Procurement Policy Note 03/17 Changes to Data Protection Legislation & General Data Protection Regulation

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
  • Recent and demonstrable experience in delivering evidence-based research to inform a user-centred design, focused on user needs, end-to-end user journeys, motivations and goals.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of designing and developing digital services that meet identified user needs and business objectives.
  • Recent demonstrable experience delivering discovery agile projects according to Government Digital Standards (GDS), including GDS Service Design Manual; the Digital Service Standard Assessment;Technology Code of Practice;wider industry standards.
  • Recent and demonstrable evidence of managing and delivering discovery and alpha projects, meeting all requirements and successfully delivering outcomes within specified timescales.
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of working with in-house teams with limited Agile experience and sharing knowledge to develop in-house team capability.
  • Be agnostic of any particular software, enabling us to consider a range of options to meet user needs.
  • Understand how to effectively build brand(s) for public services online that can work with GOV.UK
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable evidence of working successfully with users in the school/education landscape or in similar public services contexts.
  • Demonstrable knowledge or experience of the education and education policy landscape.
  • Demonstrable experience of managing and proactively engaging internal stakeholders across multiple digital projects and building relationships to support wider digital transformation.
  • Experience of working successfully with UK public sector organisations of a similar size and scope to the DfE

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence that the proposed approach and methodology for discovery and alpha will successfully ascertain user needs and meet specified objectives for the discovery and alpha.
  • Proposed plan of activities with clear deliverables and dates demonstrating the ability to complete the delivery of the discovery and alpha project within the required challenging timescales.
  • Proposed supplier team structure, with evidence to demonstrate a strong team and how their skills and experience will deliver the required outcome.
  • Evidence that the supplier has an appreciation of the education policy landscape of this project and that the proposal is relevant to that context.
  • Identification of key options, assumptions, dependencies, risk and issues, with robust approaches to addressing them.
  • Evidence of how the proposal represents value for money for DfE.
  • Demonstration of appropriate approach to working with in-house teams with limited technical and Agile expertise.
  • Proposed workable and flexible approach to co-location of the team with DfE.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate your approach to engaging with internal senior stakeholders undergoing cultural change and how this will support project success.
  • Demonstrate how you will work transparently, collaboratively and share your approach with the DfE project team and seek actionable feedback.
  • Demonstrate approach to knowledge and skills transfer to permanent members of staff
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Can you divulge roughly what the makeup of the team you envisage the supplier to provide for this project? So for example 3 User Researchers, 1 delivery Manager, 1 content designer etc? The makeup of the team is something that we would expect suppliers to propose based on the outcomes stated in the requirement.
2. Does the SRO for this opportunity have the capacity to attend/partake in agile ceremonies? e.g. show and tells, retrospectives etc. We would expect the SRO to be available for show and tells but probably not for other agile ceremonies. We would however expect the DfE product owner to be available for agile ceremonies.
3. Can you provide details of how much of your teams time will be assigned to this project and whether they will be ready to start on the expected start date? We expect our DfE team to be available full time to work with the discovery team.
4. Please confirm who the people on your selection panel are and their individual roles and responsibilities The selection panel will be formed of panel members representing digital, communications and policy with DfE.
5. Would the DfE accept applications from a distributed team? This would involve regular face to face interaction for ceremonies such as sprint planning, sprint review and retros along with any workshops etc. However the team located away from the DfE office. For the discovery phase of this project our requirement is to have an onsite team based in our London office.
6. Can you confirm if the budgets listed exclude VAT? The budgets listed include VAT.
7. What roles are DfE expecting suppliers to provide? In addition, are you expecting all roles to have the ability to be full time? We would expect suppliers to propose what they think is an appropriate team based on the outcomes stated in the requirement and the appropriate working patterns. There is no specific requirement for every role to be full time.
8. In order to compare suppliers like for like, how will price be evaluated? We will evaluate price in line with the evaluation criteria set out on the digital marketplace. Price is evaluated on how close each suppliers price is to the cheapest quote and is weighted by 20% - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-score-digital-outcomes-and-specialists-suppliers#score-the-price-of-suppliers-proposals-or-day-rates
9. Will the scores from the evidencing round be taken through to final evaluation? Or will they only be used for the purposes of shortlisting suppliers? Scores from the evidencing round will only be used for shortlisting and not be taken through to evaluation.
10. Has any other supplier been engaged with this project so far? No suppliers have been engaged so far.
11. Do you have an expectation of split between sites that will follow gov.​uk design patterns and which won't necessarily? This is something that we would expect the discovery to assess and determine where to apply the most appropriate patterns be these the gov.uk patterns or new patterns for education.
12. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold at DfE? The selection panel will be formed or panel members representing digital, communications and policy within DfE.
13. Will there be a full time Product Owner provided by DfE to this project? Yes there will be a full time DfE Product Owner assigned to this project
14. Can the outputs of the 'mapping discoveries' be shared with suppliers? We will share the mapping discoveries outputs with the successful supplier once appointed.
15. Can you confirm if the budgets listed exclude VAT? PLEASE NOTE, BUDGETS EXCLUDE VAT - the previous answer to this question was published in error and should be ignored.
16. With the budget including VAT, can you confirm that the budgets for time and materials quotes are therefore £133,333.33 for Discovery and £333,333.33 for Alpha? PLEASE NOTE, BUDGETS EXCLUDE VAT - the previous answer to this question was published in error and should be ignored. The budgets are therefore £160,000 ex VAT and £400,000 ex VAT.
17. The budgets published for previous DfE DOS opportunities have mostly been exclusive of VAT. Can you please clarify why your approach differs on this occasion? PLEASE NOTE, BUDGETS EXCLUDE VAT - the previous answer to this question was published in error and should be ignored.
18. 1. Is the requirement at this stage just for the Discovery Phase with potential to move into an Alpha phase – you mention this as "subject to approval"?
2. Are you open to suppliers working with partners to deliver the alpha element?
3. You mention co-located working. Will this be for the duration of the discovery phase?
4. Please advise is the BPSS security clearance needs to be in place now or can be obtained if successful?
1. As a result of this procurement process we will award a contract for discovery and alpha, with an agreed break point after discovery.
2. Yes, we would be open to suppliers working in partnership
3. Yes we will require co-located working, with teams based in our London office, for the discovery phase, at the moment we assume this for the alpha as well.
4. We would need all supplier staff to have BPSS in place before starting work.
19. What is your expected timeline for procurement after the first round of scoring (evidence answers)? Our indicative timetable is:
- We will notify shortlisted suppliers by 22nd Jan
- We will ask suppliers to provide a written proposal by 29th Jan and we will invite suppliers to present on 30th January
- We expect suppliers to start work by 11th February.
20. 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? Our indicative timetable is:
- We will notify shortlisted suppliers by 22nd Jan
- We will ask suppliers to provide a written proposal by 29th Jan and we will invite suppliers to present on 30th January
- We expect suppliers to start work by 11th February.
21. Can you confirm the associated commercial timelines for this opportunity beyond Stage 1? Our indicative timetable is:
- We will notify shortlisted suppliers by 22nd Jan
- We will ask suppliers to provide a written proposal by 29th Jan and we will invite suppliers to present on 30th January
- We expect suppliers to start work by 11th February.
22. Are DfE able to continue straight into the Alpha phase with the same supplier with no air gap between phases? We will award a contract for Discovery and Alpha but reserve the right not to proceed beyond the discovery phase. We plan to move straight from discovery to alpha but this will be dependent on gaining DfE internal approvals to proceed.
23. As there is a duration and budget specified, can we assume work for the Discovery phase been limited and prioritised? Yes, this discovery work has been prioritised by the DfE leadership.
24. Is it a valid assumption that DfE will not evaluate price for alpha at this point? This is expected to change as an output of Discovery. We will be scoring the prices for discovery and alpha and we will set out information for how to present your prices for the next stage of the evaluation.
25. Is there an expectation for how long during a week DfE would like suppliers onsite? We would expect suppliers to be onsite in our Central London office full time during working hours.
26. Is there a preferred technology stack within the DfE estate? DfE is creating a consistent technology stack across our new services:
- Microservices architecture, with internal HTTP and JSON REST based APIs for business logic and data access.
-User facing websites built using Ruby on Rails by preference, or C# .NET Core, deployed to the DfE Azure PaaS.
-Code hosted in the DfE Digital github repository, builds done via Travis-CI.
-Use one of the provided databases managed on DfE Azure e.g. Postgres.
-Implementation of the technology stack to be configured using code using Terraform.
Suppliers are expected to meet these standards or discuss and agree any exceptions with DfE.
27. 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. We will not be holding a QA call for this requirement.
28. What directorate and team within the department is leading with this piece of work? This work is led from within the Digital, Data and Technology Directorate at DfE.
29. What roles are DfE expecting to provide in the small team of civil servants described in 'Existing team' and will these all be full time? For discovery DfE aims to provide a Senior Responsible Officer who will have oversight of the discovery, a Product Manager who will provide direction and DfE context and Engagement Lead to provide links with the broader organisation. We expect these to be full time.
30. Will there be desks allocated for the supplier team for the full duration of the project and will be co-located with the internal delivery team? Yes desks will be allocated and these will be co-located with the DfE team.
31. Will DfE be able to organise access to stakeholders throughout the project? Yes DfE will be able to organise access to stakeholders for the discovery team.
32. What types of skills does the existing team have and what roles are they expected to undertake during this engagement? For discovery DfE aims to provide a Senior Responsible Officer who will have oversight of the discovery, a Product Manager who will provide direction and DfE context and Engagement Lead to provide links with the broader organisation. The team will have a mixture of digital government experience, some agile delivery skills and knowledge of DfE.
33. Are DfE able to recruit and provide access to users for the purpose of user research? Yes DfE should be able to recruit users to conduct research with.
34. Are you able to share the work done in 2017 for research and mapping the 250 services & 60 service lines? We will share the mapping outputs with the successful supplier once appointed.
35. We believe outputs from the previous play a big part in qualifying the scale and nature of this work. Would you consider releasing any more information, possibly to shortlisted suppliers, in order to receive better informed responses from suppliers? We will share the mapping outputs with the successful supplier once appointed.
36. Are there suppliers that have helped pull this work together? If yes, who are they? The mapping work was completed in 2017 by DFE staff supported by individuals with specialist digital skills.
37. Who undertook and provided input into the 'mapping discovery' work? The mapping work was completed in 2017 by DFE staff supported by individuals with specialist digital skills.
38. At a high level, what was the business case that introduced this work? Specifically, why were the 'mapping discoveries' started? In 2017 the organisational structure of DfE changed considerably following machinery of government changes. Alongside this, DfE has an ever changing portfolio of new, legacy and retiring services. It was therefore important for DfE digital to take a user-centred view of all of its services to ensure that they are aligned to user need and DfE's changing priorities.
39. Is this opportunity an extension or build on a previous phase of work or is it a new area of work? This opportunity builds on the mapping discoveries and DfE's ongoing work to transform the services we provide, however it is over a year since the mapping work took place and as this discovery evaluates how services will be presented it is a discrete new piece of work.
40. Do you currently have a cross-organisational service design strategy in place? DfE is committed to taking a user centred approach as this recent blog post from Jonathan Slater our permanent Secretary describes: https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/22/user-centred-more-than-a-slogan/ The digital team has also written about how we will respond to this user centred approach and what that will mean for our approach to cross-organisation service design in this blog post: https://dfedigital.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/26/6-practices-for-user-centred-civil-servants/
41. Research identified 250 digital services and nearly 60 service lines' – are any of these existing services? Also, have the projects to work on these been procured? If so, are there any external suppliers already working on delivering these services? Yes all of the 250 services exist already. There are several different internal and supplier teams working to transform some of these services.
42. Has DfE prioritised the identified digital services that have come out of 'mapping discoveries'? DfE digital services meet the needs of a wide range of users, including teachers, school leaders, citizens and young people. DfE has so far begun work on some service transformations from across the our portfolio.
43. How many DfE services currently exist and are therefore the basis for this project? DfE has approximately 250 digital services on a variety of platforms: GOV.UK; service domains; and other exempted platforms. Others are in development at various stages from discovery through to beta. New services will be added to the DfE portfolio and how these are presented should also be considered in discovery.
44. How many of the overall services are transactional vs pure content and guidelines? There services represent a mix of pure transactional services, content and guidelines.
45. E4 asks about discovery and alpha projects – can you confirm if you require single or multiple examples? We recommend that suppliers use at least one example that demonstrate their suitability to deliver this piece of work.
46. E7 asks about building brands – please can you expand on what you mean by 'build brands' – what are you looking for in the response? By brands we mean examples such as DfE or HM Government brands, we also have brands delivered through campaigns such as Get Into Teaching. The discovery should assess to what degree people recognise existing brands and how receptive people would be to new brands that DfE might create in future. We are looking for suppliers to describe how they would assess this.
47. Can you please give us an example of what you mean by brands? By brands we mean examples such as DfE or HM Government brands, we also have brands delivered through campaigns such as Get Into Teaching. The discovery should assess to what degree people recognise existing brands and how receptive people would be to new brands that DfE might create in future. We are looking for suppliers to describe how they would assess this.
48. Is there any further detail on what financial analysis will be required? We require support in assessing how presenting our services in ways that make sense to users will create financial benefits for users and for DfE. This analysis will feed into the DfE business case associated with this work.
49. Can you please describe the scope of the discovery: is it the presentation and navigation of all DfE content and services? Would it also encompass any related services that are used in education and provided by third parties? The discovery scope covers the services that DfE provides and should also consider new services that DfE plans to provide in the future including where and how they would be presented. We do not expect this to cover other services in education or provided by third parties but this may arise as a user need as part of discovery research.
50. For clarity, are you expecting suppliers to run a Discovery phase based on previous 'mapping discoveries' outputs along with all current services DfE currently provide? The discovery scope covers the services that DfE provides and should also consider new services that DfE plans to provide in the future including where and how they would be presented. We do not expect this to cover other services in education or provided by third parties, however if this does arise as a user need during discovery then the supplier should discuss with DfE whether this should be prioritised.
51. What do you see as the identified risks around the delivery of this work? The top risk we have identified is that the discovery scope is broad as DfE serves multiple groups of users and it maybe challenging to run research with a representative number of users. We are keen for suppliers to highlight what they perceive as the risks for this discovery and how these would be addressed.