Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 18 March 2019
Value: £96,000
Company size: SME
Health Education England (HEE)

User research and prototype development of a Competence Assessment Generator App

9 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 2 large

42 Completed applications

39 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Tuesday 5 February 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 12 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 19 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A supplier is required to conduct a thorough series of user research activities to understand the needs and expectations around digitising competence frameworks, to enable users to assess skills and report on this at individual and group levels. This may lead to development of a competence assessment generator tool app.
Latest start date
Friday 1 March 2019
Expected contract length
6-10 weeks
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Health Education England (HEE)
Budget range
£50,000 - £100,000 including VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
HEE manages competence frameworks and creates new ones each year. These set out the competences required by a healthcare worker in either a role or clinical area and influence the design of education interventions. Currently, these frameworks tend to be flat PDFs or interactive PDFs meaning there is limited potential to assess their impact. It is envisaged that if these frameworks are digitised then it is possible for individuals to measure their competence against a framework, for this to be recorded and for e-learning to be signposted. These records can be reported to support individuals, team and regional education decisions.
Problem to be solved
It is envisaged that an app could be created that would enable digitalised frameworks to be created and updated. This app would need to be able to manage a number of styles of framework to suit the different types.

The team require the supplier to:
• Join face-to-face / virtual meetings with the project team.
• Conduct user needs research with a sample of potential end users and stakeholders and to provide a report detailing the results of the research and recommendations.
• To develop a prototype of the generator tool.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users are project managers and clinical leads who are planning to digitalise an existing framework, as well as NHS workers who may use the framework.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
You will be working with the in-house Health Education England (HEE) Learning Solution project team, part of HEE's Technology Enhanced Learning Programme.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Health Education England's (HEE) Technology Enhanced Learning Programme is a distributed team, therefore we are open to working with suppliers from any location. HEE's two main offices are in London and Leeds if a face-to-face location is required for face-to-face meetings/workshops. However, we do support remote working to save travel time and costs.
Working arrangements
We will want the specialist/team to be outcomes focused rather than to work for set times in set locations. So, we will want the specialist/team to work on dedicated, pre-planned user research activities with planned outcomes.
Security clearance

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
  • Possess demonstrable experience of delivering user research activities and outputs in line with the Government Digital Service’s Design Principles and Digital Service Standard
  • Possess demonstrable experience of leading user research activities for a digital service during an iterative development project
  • Possess demonstrable experience of facilitating face-to-face and remote usability testing sessions with end users
  • Possess demonstrable experience of analysing and developing actionable recommendations from user research
  • Possess demonstrable experience of UX
  • Possess demonstrable capability to create working prototypes
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of working with public and Government health departments and arms length bodies
  • Demonstrate experience of digital online learning services

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence of delivering user research activities and outputs in line with the Government Digital Service’s Design Principles and Digital Service Standard
  • Evidence of leading user research activities for a digital service during an iterative development project
  • Evidence of facilitating face-to-face and remote usability testing sessions with end users
  • Evidence of analysing and developing actionable recommendations from user research
  • Evidence of building prototypes
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work in a very transparent and collaborative manner with our organisation
  • Be open to including members of the in-house team to be part of the user research activities
  • Take responsibility for their work
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What process does the buyer anticipate to follow after the closing date?

Given the closing date of 19 February, is it realistic to anticipate shortlisting to be complete, shortlisted suppliers to prepare and submit commercial proposals (and prepare and deliver presentations if relevant), for decision to be made and the supplier commence on 1 March?
We have set time aside to shortlist immediately after the closing date. We will then contact the shortlisted suppliers to advise on next steps. We expect the work to kick off in early March as we understand that suppliers need some time to mobilise resource.
2. What sort of prototype is required? Does it need to be a coded, functional Minimum Viable Product or can it be a wireframe-style prototype that just demonstrates the structure of the product?
A fully functioning MVP level prototype is not expected, what is required is a way of demonstrating user journeys using whatever approach best captures this.
3. To better understand the scope and estimate research activities, could you provide an estimate of the numbers of users and the relevant different groups / teams that are currently using the frameworks?
There are a range of frameworks used at the moment and different users involved with them. These include commioners of frameworks and end users. We expect in the region of 10 to 15 users in about 5 different groups will need to be involved in user research.
5. Are you going to facilitate and provide access to the users or do we need to account for recruitment activities?
We will facilitate access to the users.
6. As part of the final outcome, do you expect to receive a prototype that can then be shown and tested with users or do you expect it to have been tested already?
We expect that it will be tested already with users as part of the commission.
7. Will there be an assessment (GDS or internal) at the end of the project and do we need to account time for that?
There will need to be an internal assessment based on GDS principles between the discovery and alpha phase.
8. Can you provide any information on how many frameworks are in use at any one time?
There are many frameworks in use at any one time and new ones are worked on frequently. This is why we want a tool that can help us digitalise and update frameworks in a speedy, cost efficient manner.
9. Re. the requirement for a fixed-price at stage 2, please can you confirm what additional material you will be publishing that will make it clear exactly what the suppliers are pricing-up?
We will be interested in the supplier identifying a way of demonstrating the user journeys for stage 2 within the price range. This stage will be informed by the results of the discovery phase.
10. The advert title says “user research AND prototype development”. However, the summary of work implies that the development will be optional but the ‘Problem to be Solved’ does say that developing a prototype is in-scope. Please can you confirm the scope and how this will work from a fixed-price evaluation PoV. Or is the 6-10 weeks duration only for the user research?
We want discovery and a prototype that will show the user journeys. We need that to be delivered within the budget available. Duration of work may extend beyond 6- 10 weeks if needed.
11. Please can you provide details of what the next steps are following this initial application i.e. deadlines for the written proposal/presentation?
We will shortlist as soon as the closing date is reached and hope to contact suppliers on Friday 22nd February. Shortlisted suppliers will have w/c 25th February to put together their proposal and presentation and they will be invited to present w/c 4th March.
12. 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 are managing Q&A about this opportunity via the Digital Marketplace.
13. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
Neil Ralph (National Technology Enhanced Learning Lead), Martin Sinclair (Programme Manager, e-Learning for Healthcare) and Victoria Winlow (Learning Technology Project Manager).
14. Are you working with any existing suppliers in relation to this tender opportunity? If you are, who are they?
15. Has there been any pre-market engagement for this opportunity?
16. What work has been conducted prior to this opportunity e.g. additional research?
Informal conversations with national workforce programmes within HEE.
17. How did you come to the decision that building an App was the solution for the problem you’re trying to solve?
There is a history of producing competence frameworks to provide guidance on the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed in the healthcare workforce to guide curricula design and professional development. We think there is potential for these to make a greater impact if they are digitised and can be used to perform skills gap analysis. The data captured when an individual assesses themselves against a framework will help guide their development and can be used by managers/leaders to help plan development at team, institution and regional level. The tool will enable the digitisation of frameworks and power the skills gap analysis.
18. Is it possible that the solution might be another type of online service other than an native app (e.g. a responsive website or PWA)?
Yes, it is envisaged that if there is a proven requirement for this, a responsive website may be the likely solution.
19. According to GDS principles, the outcome of a Discovery is a list of needs, a backlog of user stories, an understanding of who your users are and if there's a need for a service (there might not be one).
If the research indicates there is a requirement for the service then we require a prototype to be developed.
20. What metrics are available about the current frameworks and medium (pdf / dynamic pdf) this is shared by? E.g. Metrics around patient outcomes / customer satisfaction, staff completion and adherence to frameworks.
No metrics are built into the frameworks at the moment. They are usually in PDF format.
21. Are there clear links between locations with a high staff competency adherence and improved finances (e.g. high staff competency => higher rating from CQC / NHSI and improved funding from CCGs)?
The answer to this question is outside the scope of this tender.
22. There are a number of measures of what good outcomes would be for this work, but do you have these already clearly defined?
23. Do you have a clear idea in mind as to how you envisage staff using the framework e.g. daily (embedded in work), weekly/fortnightly/monthly reviews (retrospective reviews of work), quarterly reviews (reviewed in line with personal development plans or similar)?
No, Discovery may identify this. This will also create new tools for them to use and to develop habits around.
24. In reference to the 'Summary of work' section it says, 'This may lead to development of a competence assessment generator tool app.' Is the chosen supplier required to work with and feed into the build of the final app at a later date, or only conduct the research and create the prototypes?
We expect the supplier to deliver the Discovery and prototype (if there is a proven requirement). We will make a decision following this on how we might approach a Beta phase.