Awarded to Zaizi Limited

Start date: Tuesday 21 May 2019
Value: £45,150
Company size: SME
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Discovery into how MHCLG manages public, parliamentary and other correspondence

4 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 1 large

30 Completed applications

24 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Wednesday 20 March 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 27 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 3 April 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Discovery into how MHCLG manages public, parliamentary and other correspondence
Latest start date
Monday 29 April 2019
Expected contract length
2 Months
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
Budget range
Budget range for this requirement is between £35,000 to £50,000

About the work

Why the work is being done
MHCLG receives around 40,000 pieces of correspondence each year.
The department must reply to the correspondence in a timely fashion to meet legal, political and service quality commitments.

MHCLG currently uses a case management system to handle correspondence and the contract will end on 5 January 2020. MHCLG needs to understand the user needs and challenges faced by users corresponding with us and staff who respond. The discovery findings will inform our future approach to handling correspondence.

Correspondence includes ministerial, inter-departmental and official correspondence; Freedom of Information requests (FOIs); Subject Access requests (SARs); complaints; and Parliamentary questions.
Problem to be solved
Increase staff effectiveness who use a system for handling correspondence by better meeting their needs.

Improve the efficiency of MHCLG’s process for handling correspondence.

Improve the public journey for those corresponding with MHCLG.
The current system is used by 2,000 MHCLG users, who vary in experience with the system. A handful of people use it daily to record, manage and allocate work to colleagues throughout the department. Most users access the system infrequently to contribute their expertise as part of a response.

For external requester/correspondent, I need assurance that I shall receive a cleared draft sent in an accessible format.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The hypotheses we would like to test are:

AS AN expert user who manages correspondence
I NEED to track, manage, monitor, assign, respond to correspondence
SO THAT I can get the information I need to provide a timely response.

AS THE correspondence team manager
I NEED detailed metrics on our performance and visibility of items close to the deadline
SO THAT I can manage the team’s workload ensuring we’re meeting our legal and political obligations.

AS A response contributor
I NEED to access, edit and collaborate with internal users on a response
SO THAT our response is accurate and timely.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
None to date.
Existing team
The successful supplier will work closely with an MHCLG project manager (as service owner) from the Department's Ministerial Group.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
We expect the successful supplier to work regularly with MHCLG in 2 Marsham Street, London. The supplier may work 1-2 days off site.

MHCLG will not fund travel within London, but will fund necessary travel outside of London.
Working arrangements
The supplier is expected to work onsite alongside existing teams for at least 3 days a week. We would prefer the team to be co-located in 2 Marsham Street but expect travel for user research and other activities.

We expect the supplier to work using agile methodology.

The supplier will also be expected to work openly.
Security clearance
CTC or above is desirable as staff won’t need escorting on site. There is no requirement for supplier personnel to be security cleared. BPSS clearance will be required to access MHCLG's ICT systems.

Please make it clear whether staff have CTC security clearance or not when submitting responses.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of MHCLG.

GDPR requirements shall be discussed and agreed with the preferred supplier at the appropriate time.

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
  • With examples, provide evidence of their experience of delivering discoveries in line within the Government Service Manual.
  • With examples, provide evidence of their experience of recruiting users for research.
  • With examples, provide evidence of their experience of delivering user-centred solutions to problems.
  • With examples, provide evidence of their experience of conducting business analysis on an existing service.
  • With examples, provide evidence of meeting skill requirements based on the anticipated composition of the team.
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding user needs
  • Approach and methodology
  • Team structure
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Technical solutions
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Care deeply about users
  • Share knowledge and experience with other organisations
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please can you advise the team makeup that you require the selected supplier to provide?
No – we want suppliers to submit a proposal and we will judge this on its merits
2. What is the existing case management system used?
The link to our current case management system is:

3. Can suppliers based outside of London propose less days on site with additional Skype meetings?
I think this would be acceptable. Again, it is up to suppliers to provide us with what is acceptable for this when they respond to our requirement.
4. Can the MHCLG link us with potential system users for research?
Yes – system users have been identified and will release time for the research
5. In the brief it states that the department handle 40,000 items of correspondence per annum, could you give an approximate breakdown of the different types of Correspondence – paper, electronic, voice etc.
We don’t have a breakdown as such but the vast majority is received via email. If a phone call is received then the teams write back via email to log the case. Paper is scanned in. Everything is logged on the system electronically.
6. Can the department share the identification of the software for Case Management system currently in use?
Please see our response to Question 2.
7. Should we get shortlisted, we would like to have a face-to-face meeting with the project team before submitting a full proposal – can you please confirm if this will be possible?
This is the first time we have been asked this question. To enable the tight timescale to be worked to, a face to face meeting with the MHCLG project team will not be offered. However, we are willing to have a call with shortlisted suppliers so that we can understand any concerns they have about the process.
8. ‘Discovery into how MHCLG manages public, parliamentary and other correspondence’ question and answer session details
A question and answer session shall take place for those suppliers interested in submitting a proposal for this requirement. The question and answer session shall take place on Tuesday 26 March from 1400 to 1500. Dialling-in details are as follows: Number to call: 0303 444 1400 Code: 0112331
Really sorry but due to an technical issue, this call did not take place at 1400 this afternoon as planned. We are really sorry about this. However, the conference call has been re-scheduled to take place on Wednesday 27 March from 1645 to 1715.

Dialling-in details are as follows:
Number to call: 0303 444 1400

Code: 0306391
9. I've just tried to participate in the supplier call (scheduled for 26th March 2pm-3pm) and the dial in details state the call is over (even though it is 2pm on 26th March). Can you confirm when this call will actually held?
Please see our response to Question 8.
10. Attempted to join the Q&A at the time and date listed – the message said the conference call had already ended.

Will new Q&A details be provided please?
Please see our response to Question 8.
11. How long has the current case management system been in operation for?
September 2014
12. How will the end users be identified that the research needs to cover? Are these MHCLG members of staff?
We think the main users are MHCLG staff but recognise other users are outside the department. We expect the supplier to identify user groups to research with and we help recruit users where we can.
13. Re. question 5 – 'With examples, provide evidence of meeting skill requirements based on the anticipated composition of the team.'
This appears unclear – what does MHCLG want to know here?
We would like you to:

a) propose a team to meet the requirements; and

b) provide evidence that your team has the skills needed to deliver the outcomes we’re seeking. Your evidence should include examples or case studies of previous work where the same skills were needed.
14. Re. question 5 – 'With examples, provide evidence of meeting skill requirements based on the anticipated composition of the team.' is MHCLG asking ' with examples, provide evidence of meeting the requirement based on the anticipated team you will supply'?
Please see our response to Question 13.
15. While the existing contract will end on 5 January 2020, is there an option, or indeed a preference to continue with the existing system?
We will use the findings of the discovery to inform what we do next. We do not have a preferred approach at the moment. Continuing with our current solution is an option we will consider.
16. Will the solution eventually need to be hosted as a gov.​uk website
We don’t expect to build anything in discovery. We expect the discovery to investigate whether this service requires a public facing service. If it does, the service will need to comply with government standards.
17. Will the solution need to implement the gov.​uk design system
We don’t expect to build anything in discovery. If discovery shows we need to build a public facing service it must comply with government standards.
18. You’ve worded the 100 word answers as ‘examples’- does that suggest you want more than 1 example/project for each point, or are you happy with a single example/project to meet each requirement?
1 single example for each project is sufficient for this.
19. Further to Question 18 - do you mean each response not each project?
Yes that's correct.
20. What are we expecting from this Discovery.
We expect the discovery to investigate the questions set out in the Government Service Manual -
21. What are we expecting from this Discovery.
We expect the discovery to investigate the questions set out in the Government Service Manual -
22. How mature digitally are MHCLG at present?
MHCLG Digital provide support to all digital projects, such as this one. However, many stakeholders are new to digital ways of working and concepts. The winning supplier may need to support stakeholders as they get to grips with new concepts and terminology.
23. What are the objectives of the Discovery phase.
The objective of the discovery is to understand user needs and the pain points/challenges users face. We will use this to inform how we deliver this service in the future, any improvement opportunities and priorities for the work.
24. We see the budget for this. Could you say a few words about this?
The budget is what's been allocated for this work. So, work within that at this moment of time.
25. Is there a need for a Content designer role within this requirement ?
Suppliers to tell us whether they think a content designer would be appropriate and cost this into their proposals.

For further details, The Government Service Manual provides advice on the skills needed for each phase -
26. You have another requirement advertised on the Digital Marketplace at present – are these two different set of Users.
Yes. The other requirement shall have its own users, so they are two different requirements.
27. What do you see as being the final solution for this Discovery? Will it be the Existing system or “As-Is”? or could it be a new service?
All options are on the table at present.These include a new service, or improvements to current solution,
28. Are most Users researched based in London?
Yes, most expert Users are based in London.
29. What is the number of expert users?
50 Expert Users
30. What is the role of Expert Users?
These include:

- Inputting data into the system. and
- Control and facilitate to Non-Expert Users.
31. Are there any Links to other third party systems.
Yes. Parliamentary Questions need a link to the House of Commons website.
32. Are there any links to any Document management system?
There are no links.
33. Re essential skills and experience question "provide evidence of their experience of recruiting users for research", are you looking to recruit any external users for research during this Discovery or should this focus on internal users?
It will be only internal users.