Awarded to People for Research

Start date: Monday 10 June 2019
Value: £750,000
Company size: SME
Office for National Statistics

PU-19-0367 - User Research Contract for the Office for National Statistics

3 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 0 large

5 Completed applications

5 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Tuesday 26 March 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 9 April 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The Office for National Statistics is currently undergoing a major digital transformation.
We need help:
• Identifying, contacting, scheduling, coordination of participants for user/qualitative research activities including (but not limited to) interviewing, focus groups, usability testing and cognitive interviewing.
• Managing and distributing incentives for participants
• Managing participant attendance
Research dates
Individual research will be confirmed on a call off basis throughout the period of the contract.
Organisation the work is for
Office for National Statistics
Budget range

About the work

Early market engagement

About the research

Description of your participants
User participants will be defined for each project and a specification of requirements will be sent generally with at least two to three weeks’ notice of a planned research session (although there may be times when shorter notice is given).

We will need participants that represent a varied demography of age, gender, ethnicity and digital capability and may focus on particular types of user for some rounds of research. Participants should be willing to be audio recorded or filmed so the research can be used to improve digital services. The need for recording in this manner will be specified in each round of research.

We are also researching wider topics like education and types of employment so participants representing different levels of education (e.g. school, apprenticeship etc) and types of employment (e.g. employed vs self-employed) will be needed.

They may also be a need for access to large panels of users for specific testing such as tree tests on website redesigns.
Assisted digital and accessibility requirements
We would like to the supplier to be able to find participants with a wide range of digital skill levels and accessibility requirements, including those that use screen readers and other specialist assistive equipment and software.

Due to the nature of participants with low digital skills, we would expect the winning bidder to be able to recruit these users in a non-digital format i.e. on street/face to face recruitment.
Research plan
This contract will be supplying participants to multiple projects across the Office
Research location
Various locations - Research locations will very to fit the requirement. Some research will take place in the ONS Lab located in the ONS Offices in Newport or the ONS Offices at Fareham & London. Other research may be on location in any part of the UK, including Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.
Access restrictions at location
Number of research rounds
We need multiple research rounds for several projects at varying stages of delivery
Number of participants per round
Participant numbers per round will vary depending on the stage of each project. Likely to be between 5 & 12. For some rounds of research the requirement could be as high as 25 - 30 participants.
How often research will happen
We do not have exact dates, but it is likely the research will take place every 2 - 6 weeks. There is a possibility that it could be more frequent than this or there could be a longer period in between the research as well.
Evening or weekend research
  • Weekday evenings
  • Weekends

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
  • Recruit participants who are representative of desired user groups and screen users based on specific criteria sometimes within short time frames (1-3 week window) using solid screening processes. (5)
  • Have experience recruiting participants from multiple regions across the UK (4)
  • Provide a single point of contact to reliably respond to communications by email or phone within 1 hour to 1 day (depending on the scenario) throughout the engagement (1)
  • Recruit participants at short notice with a short turnaround and ability to replace unsuitable participants (3)
  • Arrange and manage participants, ensuring their attendance at the research (2)
  • Recruit 'Assisted Digital' participants, people who are digitally excluded or have low digital skills including those with accessibility needs. (5)
  • Recruit participants for field (on site workplace) interviews and for in home depth research when required (2)
  • Recruit participants for remote usability testing (including briefing and checking) and phone interviews. (2)
  • Handle research incentives for participants (2)
  • Recruit users for face to face usability testing (2)
  • Recruit users for remote usability testing (including briefing and checking) (2)
  • Recruit users for depth and cognitive interviewing (2)
  • Identify risks you can see and how you propose mitigating against them (1)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Provide evidence of previous experience of working in the public sector (1)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach to managing and scheduling participants, identifying and managing risks and contingency plans to ensure sufficient recruitment (2)
  • Method for recruiting a representative sample of participants with the demography outlined above (4)
  • Demonstrate a method to identify and recruit participants with low digital literacy and difficult to reach participants (4)
  • Provide profiles and information for selected participants in each round (1)
  • Estimated timeframes for recruitment (2)
  • Breakdown of recruitment costs both in lab, at third party locations, remote testing and in-home inclusive of incentives (2)
  • How will you work with ONS to ensure we have visibility and confidence that we are getting representative participants (1)
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence






Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there a budget in mind?
The anticipated budget for the first year of the contract is £300,000. Subsequent years will be subject to budget approval.

However, there is no guarantee of this spend.