Awarded to PA Consulting Services Limited (UK)

Start date: Monday 3 June 2019
Value: £500,000
Company size: large
Public Health England

Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM) Tool

9 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 1 large

7 Completed applications

6 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Monday 18 February 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 25 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 4 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To undertake Discovery and potentially other phases of development in order to explore the needs of users if the proposed UK NPM 2019 is adopted. The NPM regulates the advertising of food and drinks products to children via either broadcast or non-broadcast media
Latest start date
Monday 15 April 2019
Expected contract length
24 months (Total duration of all phases of project). Discovery likely to be 8 weeks.
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Public Health England
Budget range
£37,250 excluding VAT for Discovery. Additional phases TBC depending on the outcomes of Discovery and budgetary approvals.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The UK Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM) 2004/5 was developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as a non-digital tool enabling the Office of Communications (Ofcom) to identify ‘less healthy’ foods and drinks so that restrictions could be placed on children’s television advertising. By 2016 this had been expanded to include all broadcast and non-broadcast media.
The UK NPM 2004/5 is now over 10 years old and doesn’t reflect current UK dietary recommendations. Discovery is required to assess the needs of users if the proposed UK NPM 2019 is adopted, which will involve more complex calculations and reassessment of product portfolios.
Problem to be solved
Food and drink manufacturers are required to calculate the NPM score for their portfolio of food/drink products to establish the eligibility for advertising to children.
This project intends to investigate how best a digital (or other) tool could support the scoring of food/drinks using the proposed UK NPM 2019 algorithm, ensuring accuracy/validity.
Additionally, if the tool/solution:
• should also support calculation of the 2004/5 UK NPM
• should support calculation of other government food-related guidelines, e.g. front-of-pack-labelling
• should provide certification of UK NPM 2019 score for submission to advertising regulators
• should commercialise aspects e.g. scoring multiple products simultaneously
Who the users are and what they need to do
The primary users are food and drink manufacturers who need to calculate the NPM score for their products to establish if they are eligible for advertising to children. Other users are likely to include healthcare professionals, NGOs, trade bodies, nutritionists (government & independent), retailers, fast food outlet & delivery owners, regulators, journalists, marketing agencies, parents, students and consumers, all of whom have varying needs when using the NPM tool.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Between 2016 and 2018, the UK NPM 2004/5 was reviewed. The review focused on updating the model to reflect changes to UK dietary recommendations since its development, in particular, that free sugars should contribute no more than 5% of total dietary energy and fibre intake should increase to 30g/day (AOAC) in adults. The review included the establishment of an expert group to provide advice and make recommendations to PHE. Following consultation and further modelling, the Expert Group recommended a revised UK NPM (UK NPM 2019) to PHE.
Existing team
The successful supplier will be working with the PHE Digital Team, the Diet, Obesity and Physical Activity Team (DOPA) and a range of internal and external stakeholders.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The work can be performed from any location but is likely to be co-ordinated by staff in PHE’s London Offices.
Working arrangements
Work may be carried out from multiple locations including the Supplier’s offices. Attendance at PHE Offices in London and in other locations around England may be required for meetings. Supplier staff are expected to be on-site at PHE locations sufficient to manage relationships with senior stakeholders; the project team and users; and, stakeholders and users in other organisations so that the outcomes of the project may be met.
Security clearance
Not required

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
  • E1) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience in conducting the discovery phase relating to the use of digital solutions/technology in similar projects, including a link to a case study.
  • E2) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of applying the principles of user centred design to the development of digital solutions for a wide range of users
  • E3) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of designing and working on projects relating to robust and testable implementation of mathematical models.
  • E4) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of digital systems that take input and subject this to both automated and manual validation
  • E5) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of designing systems to manage personally identifying information under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • N1) Recent (within 3 years) experience of working with public sector healthcare organisations in local or central government
  • N2) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of working with interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary project teams including clinical and research science project members
  • N3) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of delivery within an evidence-based policy environment including the development of a value proposition, KPIs and / or other metrics
  • N4) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of analysis and optimisation of e-commerce user journeys including pain points
  • N5) Recent (within 3 years) and demonstrable experience of developing systems to quality standards that must meet statutory or regulatory guidelines

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • P1) Proposed approach to conducting Discovery, Alpha and other phases to explore what digital/non-digital tools and/or technology (including e-commerce) can be used to meet the outcomes of this project (35)
  • P2) Proposed approach to applying the principles of user centred design/user insights to assess the needs of a wide range of users including those who come from scientific/non-scientific backgrounds (25)
  • P3) Proposed approach to exploring all aspects of commercial solution options such as batch data analysis including but not limited to risk / reward, pricing, potential market (8)
  • P4) Provide two relevant case studies with named references that may be contacted by PHE (2)
Cultural fit criteria
  • The shortlisted suppliers will be invited to demonstrate cultural fit in in the following:
  • C1) Working within the constraints of existing services and budgets (4 Marks)
  • C2) working with a range of stakeholders including ones that have little knowledge of agile or user-centred design (3 Marks)
  • C3) Flexible working arrangements and knowledge sharing. (3 Marks)
  • Cultural fit will solely be assessed at the presentations i.e. a written response will not be required
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Given the specialist nature of the work, the user research programme that will be needed to ensure the project succeeds, and the 8-week duration mentioned, the budget seems low. Please could you elaborate on the factors that led you to set this budget level, so we can understand areas of a normal Digital Service Standard style discovery that you've decided may be trimmed or not needed?
Further details of the project will be provided to shortlisted potential providers who, in their Request for Proposal (RfP) submissions, will be required to outline how they would approach Discovery given the constraints of the project including but not limited to any budgetary constraints
2. Is there an incumbent supplier associated with this project?
3. 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?
The Request for Proposal (RFP) is likely to be sent to shortlisted suppliers on 11th March 2019 in which case the deadline would be 25th March 2019 and presentations held on 26th & 27th March 2019. A full timetable will be included in the RFP.
4. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The PHE assessment team will be comprised of senior members from the Diet, Obesity & Physical Activity team and a senior member of the PHE Digital (Service Design and user experience) team.
5. Are you working with any existing suppliers in relation to this tender opportunity? If you are, who are they?
No. See the answer to question 2
6. Who built the 2004/5 and 2019 models for the FSA/PHE, and how was this done?
The 2004/05 Model was developed by the FSA. We do not have the information regarding who exactly developed it. For further information see The 2019 model was revised following the establishment of an expert group and a reference group. Further information regarding this can be found at
7. Is the proposed new 2019 algorithm fixed (and agreed), or is further tuning of model inputs/parameters (food categories, weights, criteria and thresholds etc.) required prior to implementation?
The current, proposed 2019 algorithm has been developed with extensive input from experts and stakeholders. We do not anticipate this algorithm being changed if and when it is adopted.
8. If the proposed new 2019 algorithm is not fixed and is open to being tuned, who will do this and when? Is this accepted as part of the iteration work through each of the phases (Discovery, Alpha, Beta)?
The current, proposed 2019 algorithm has been developed with extensive input from experts and stakeholders. We do not anticipate this algorithm being changed if and when it is adopted.
9. How often will the algorithm/scoring rules need to be changed after going live, and how will this happen?
This is unknown at the present time. But the 2004/5 NPM was unchanged for more than 10 years so regular revisions are unlikely.
10. What types of personal data are needed for this project? (Presumably stakeholder and user contact details – nothing that is fed through the model?)
This is to be determined through Discovery and dependent on the tool that is built. In addition, if the tool built has e-commerce functionality this will have an impact too.
11. 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.
As this question was only asked late on the 25th February (the last day questions can be asked), this will not be possible within the timeframe for the deadline for questions to be asked and answered nor the deadline for submissions on 4th March 2019. There will be a further written Q & A period for shortlisted suppliers with the RFP.
12. Will PHE be able to provide appropriate contacts within each stakeholder organisation?
PHE are likely be able to supply contacts within some but not all of the stakeholder organisations. The exact nature and format for user research and stakeholder engagement will be discussed with shortlisted suppliers and the winning supplier.