Start date: Monday 1 July 2019
Value: £500,000
Company size: SME
Dorset HealthCare (NHS)

Digital Therapy

2 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 1 large

1 Completed application

1 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Friday 8 March 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 15 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 22 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A digital service providing live, one-to-one, typed, NICE adherent CBT by BABCP accredited therapists for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate depression or anxiety disorders.
Therapeutic appointments to be available on weekdays/weekends including early and late appointments. This should be accessible via web browser.
Latest start date
Monday 1 July 2019
Expected contract length
2 years
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Dorset HealthCare (NHS)
Budget range
Contract of £250k per annum (excluding VAT). The scope to increase the contract value by up to 20% per annum at the buyers discretion.
The supplier will be expected to specify how many patients can be treated per year with £250k per annum, and there is an expectation that this figure would be a minimum of 450 treated patients in each year.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The service will support the provision of psychological therapies within a wider IAPT service with a digital text-based technology solution to deliver therapy. The supplier will need to provide a personalised digital solution to accompany the traditional face to face offer within the current service.
The work is being done to provide a greater choice and more mobile access to therapy for patients.
Problem to be solved
Patients need to be able to access a wider range of therapeutic interventions, outside of normal office hours. The current service does not have the capability to deliver therapy via a instant messaging medium.
Large volumes of patients access the IAPT service, and need to enter therapeutic treatment within short nationally and locally agreed time-frames. The digital provider will allow more patients to be seen and within target timescales and offer an alternative medium for therapy for patients who may have barriers to accessing treatment (e.g. location / time constraints / physical difficulties).
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a patient, I need to be able to access therapy outside of normal office hours without having to travel to an appointment so that i can have therapy without it interrupting my working live and/or childcare arrangements.
As a patient, I would like to access therapy but i am unable to attend face to face appointments in the day, therefore a solution where i can receive my therapy remotely would be ideal.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
Steps to Wellbeing is an IAPT service which delivers evidence-based, NICE approved, psychological interventions to patients suffering from common mental health difficulties, such as anxiety or depression. Steps to Wellbeing services the entire county of Dorset and the city of Southampton.
The service providers counselling, CBT, Low Intensity interventions, EMDR and a number of other non-CBT modalities. The service provides short-term interventions and manages a high volume of referrals. The service is currently expanding against nationally mandated trajectories.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Steps to Wellbeing operates from sites across Dorset and Southampton. The Dorset HealthCare headquarters is at Sentinel House in Poole (Dorset).
The supplier could work remotely using their digital solution if possible. Regular communication with the buyer will need to be possible.
Working arrangements
The supplier can work remotely to achieve the service delivery. The buyer will instigate monthly contract review meetings where key performance indicators and adherence with the contract will be monitored. This does not need to take place face to face, however the buyer would like the option to be available if necessary.
The interface between the buyer and the supplier will need to be regular to ensure patient care is seamless.
Security clearance
Not applicable

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Management information and KPIs to be provided regularly by supplier. Decisions on KPIs to be agreed with the successful supplier.
Any costs incurred for site visits (e.g. travel expenses) will not be chargeable to the buyer.

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
  • Be able to supply Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that is adherent to NICE and Roth & Pilling (2007) guidelines
  • Provide BABCP accredited practitioners to deliver the CBT
  • Be able to provide appointments for patients in the early mornings (from 6am) and evenings (up to 10pm) during week days and weekends.
  • Be able to provide evidence of fully secure data storage (ISO27001) and data portability mechanisms with full adherence to Data Protection Act 2018
  • Be willing and able to fully adhere to the mandatory data collection required of national IAPT services and a commitment to good data quality
  • Ensure that therapists providing the interventions have appropriate clinical supervision in place to ensure governance and quality standards are adhered to, in line with BABCP guidance.
  • Provide regular data on key performance indicators including waiting times and recovery rates for patients
  • Ensure that data collected by the supplier can be securely transferred to the buyer's patient management system (IAPTus) in a timely manner
  • Have registered with NHS Digital and adherent with DSP toolkit
  • Have access to NHS Mail or a commitment to obtain access before the contract start date
  • Therapy to be delivered by means of live typed conversation
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Offer appointments 24 hours per day
  • Offer a wider range of therapy interventions beyond CBT (e.g. IPT / DIT / CfD / EMDR)
  • Have Long Term Health Condition Top Up trained therapists offering an adaptive treatment model to suit the extra needs of this group.
  • A proposal of how the supplier will work with the IAPT service for patients that are also receiving support by the IAPT employment service.
  • Data storage in the UK
  • Evidence of a Data Protection Officer (name, details)
  • Evidence of User Guidance documents
  • An understanding of the future direction of company

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence of appropriate qualifications/training, skills and supervision of the clinical staff offering the interventions
  • The solution will need to be simple to access and use by patients
  • Evidence of full adherence to the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR regulations in terms of data storage and data portability
  • The digital platform needs to be fully functional before the contract start date, and in use for the entire period.
  • Assurance that the digital platform is managed and maintained effectively with clear protocols in place for disruption.
  • An understanding of suppliers role as Data Processor/Data Controller
  • Documents to show data flow from start to end of the service offered
  • Ability to access the digital solution from various different devices/browsers (if applicable)
  • Evidence of communication plan between supplier and buyer with regard to seamless patient care and risk management
  • Evidence of experience of, and a commitment to, acheiving the national waiting time and recovery rate targets for IAPT services nationally
  • Ability and commitment to treat a minumum of 450 patients per annum
Cultural fit criteria
  • be able to work with clients with low technical expertise
  • Be responsive to data trends and responsive to issues, and proactive in identifying problems and solutions.
  • Be open around communication issues
  • Be safe in their approach to managing risk including good communication with the service
  • Evidence of good internal supervision standards.
  • Provide a patient focused service
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. In the specification you state "there is an expectation that this figure would be a minimum of 450 treated patients in each year." Please define 'treated'.
The number of sessions offered to patients should be in line with NICE guidelines for CBT treatment. For this contract, the definition of treatment will be a minimum of two attended appointments however dropout rates and the average number of sessions will be monitored through the contract to ensure that these levels are within appropriate boundaries and that clinical quality is maintained.
2. Can you please confirm whether the tender is for Step 3 only?
Yes, step 3 CBT
3. Please could you define what is meant by User Guidance documents?
This would be any documentation that you would share with patients to help them to access and use the platform. These would be technological guides rather than therapeutic ones.
4. Can you clarify whether "An understanding of the future direction of company" is a request for information on the future direction of our company or a request for our understanding of the future direction of Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust?
Your company