National Leadership Centre, Cabinet Office

National Leadership Centre Data Catalyst

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
10 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
27 SME, 8 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 12 July 2019
Deadline for asking questions Friday 19 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 26 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work A combined discovery-and-alpha phase for the National Leadership Centre to:
1. map available data about public service leadership, identify gaps, and deliver options for bringing it together as a service including how to access it, during discovery; and
2. develop multiple prototypes for visualising and analysing the data, during alpha.
Latest start date Monday 2 September 2019
Expected contract length Up to six months
Location No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for National Leadership Centre, Cabinet Office
Budget range Up to £150,000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done This is a combined data-discovery-and-alpha for the National Leadership Centre, which supports the most senior leaders across the public sector to work together to improve public services.

The discovery (six-to-eight weeks, complete by November 2019) will map available data about public service leadership, identify gaps, and set out ways to bring it together as a service that include data access options.

The alpha (three months, complete by end of March 2020) will develop multiple prototypes for a service using the data identified during discovery.

An independent panel will help assess which prototypes proceed to beta products, to be procured separately.
Problem to be solved We are seeking to understand the impact of public sector leaders on productivity and outcomes, but lack a comprehensive picture of data describing this. Whilst products such as the Institute for Government's Whitehall Monitor cover some aspects of civil service leadership, data about leadership across the wider public service landscape is not brought together in a similar way, making it hard to visualise, analyse or identify gaps in it. We want to test the assumption that bringing this data together using service design principles could help deliver actionable insights into the links between leadership and performance of public services.
Who the users are and what they need to do “As a research expert, I need to know what data exists about public service leadership, so that I can analyse the relationship between leadership and effective public services.”

“As an independent evaluation expert, I need to know what data exists about leadership of public services, so that I can design a robust evaluation of the National Leadership Centre.”

“As a data specialist in the National Leadership Centre, I need to identify the strengths and gaps in data about public service leadership, to inform our own research and evaluation activities, and help prioritise what additional data collection and research to commission.”
Early market engagement We know that data about public service leadership exists through channels such as:
Within central government:

People survey
360* feedback on SCS

Wider public sector

Independent sources
Whitehall Monitor
International Civil Service Effectiveness (InCiSE) Index
But this is an incomplete picture, with many public service organisations not represented, and gaps between and within these datasets. This discovery should build on and develop this landscape.

Further, experience from other data-driven products in and around the public sector suggests we should bring data together through automated pipelines, and use service design principles to inform both the front-end and data infrastructure. This discovery-and-alpha should test this assumption.
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team The supplier will work with the Research and Evaluation Team at the National Leadership Centre, comprising:

Head of Research and Evaluation
Senior Data Advisor
Research Associate

We expect the supplier to collaborate with our team, and with relevant data experts across the public sector and in research institutions, whether as sub-contractors or in partnership.
Current phase Discovery

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place The National Leadership Centre is based in London, with an office in Manchester. But we are keen to encourage suppliers from across the country so would welcome remote working.
Working arrangements We work in the open, using collaborative tools such as Google Docs and Trello - this helps ensure our work is visible to colleagues and partners. We are relatively flexible with the choice of tools but will expect suppliers to work openly and in collaboration with us, and with partners in academia and business.

We expect the supplier to break up the project into sprints of an appropriate length. We are flexible about the cadence of planning meetings and retrospectives, but would expect regular check-ins during each sprint.
Security clearance We may require members of the supplier's team - and any sub-contractors - that directly handle sensitive data to have or be able to obtain SC security clearance. This is only likely to be during alpha.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions All data, analysis and insight from the project must be made available for onward use in research and evaluation - using open standards and accessible repositories. Appropriate safeguards must be in place to protect sensitive data, to be agreed with the Buyer.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Have experience conducting agile discoveries
  • Have experience creating digital prototypes
  • Have experience of working with data and people from central and local government, and the wider public sector
  • Have an understanding of data infrastructure and data standards - and/or be able to collaborate with those who do
  • Have experience of creating interactive digital products such as maps and data visualisations
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Show evidence of collaborating with data experts in the public and academic sectors
  • Have experience of working with data about leadership and organisational productivity, especially in the public sector

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Technical approach
  • Methods
  • How you will define and meet user needs
  • How you will balance user needs with the goals of the National Leadership Centre
  • Estimated timeframes for delivering Discovery and Alpha phases, and approximate 'sprint' length in each
  • Approach to risk management and to escalating and resolving blockers
  • Team composition and structure
  • Value for money
  • Approach to ethics, sustainability, diversity and inclusion
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work in partnership with our team and with other collaborators
  • Work in the open - publicly where possible, or openly within our team
  • Be open to failure by learning from mistakes in a no-blame culture
  • Share knowledge, skills and experience with other team members, training others in new skills where appropriate
  • Challenge us when things don't look or feel right
  • Work with diverse stakeholders with a range of technical skills, risk appetite and working cultures
  • Be user-centred, and systems-oriented - understand how user needs fit with the wider system
  • Be innovative, offering new ways of working and novel approaches to problems
  • Co-create solutions, with our team and wider partners
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Have any third party organisations / suppliers been involved to date? If so, please could you confirm who those were? No third-party organisations or suppliers have been involved on this project to date, although the NLC is working closely with other suppliers and partners on separate projects.
2. Will there be an opportunity to ask further questions if shortlisted? Yes - if shortlisted, you will have the chance to ask questions directly and as part of the final evaluation of your proposal.
3. Has any work been done on the discovery stage yet? No. The information set out under 'early market engagement' in the requirements, and the user needs therein, are from pre-discovery work and our background domain knowledge.
4. If there are changes to the NLC team project sponsors, would this cause any project delay? We think not. The project has buy-in and support from the NLC CEO, and the day-to-day management of the project will be handled by our senior data advisor and research associate. The project is therefore resilient to personnel changes.
5. What are the top five organisations that NLC is interested in with regards to data about leadership? The data we are interested in discovering are likely to be distributed amongst the many strands of the public sector. The academies of public service leadership will be a useful starting point, including Civil Service Leadership Academy, Local Government Association, College of Policing, NHS Leadership Academy, Fire Service College and the Defence Academy.
6. What formats are data about leadership likely to be in? Will it be qualitative, financial, productivity data? We anticipate that the data will be in many formats, including but not restricted to:
qualitative feedback data about leaders; HR data on eg diversity characteristics and salary, possibly in proprietary formats; organisational performance data; free-text including career history.

Amongst the success factors for the discovery will be mapping these formats and any metadata standards commonly used.
7. Is the goal for any alpha products to be public-facing? We wouldn't rule this out as a potential outcome from the Discovery, as previous exercises on data about race disparity and gender pay gap revealed the need for a public-facing digital service.

However, a more likely need is for a service facing towards NLC's own users and stakeholders, in particular academic research experts who will want to access and analyse data about leadership.

We remain open-minded about what if any service emerges from Discovery
8. Does NLC consider defence and security as part of the public sector, and will leadership data from these areas be within scope for this project? We do consider defence and security as part of the public sector.

We anticipate that an early Discovery question will be whether data about these sectors can be accessed, and if so in what ways.
9. Will NLC act as facilitator during Discovery, making contacts across the public sector available to the Supplier, or do you expect the Supplier to bring their own connections? We envisage this project as being co-created with the Supplier, so are happy to share our network connections with the Supplier. We will provide contact details and introductions where appropriate, but would expect the logistics of interviews, surveys or meetings to be handled by the Supplier.

We also anticipate that the Supplier will work with intermediaries in our network who can make relevant introductions, in a collaborative partnership with NLC and the Supplier
10. What will the next steps be on evaluating shortlisted suppliers? Shortlisted suppliers will need to provide a written proposal. We will notify shortlisted suppliers of what we expect in this proposal when shortlisting.

We may also ask shortlisted suppliers to present their proposal to us, in the week commencing 12th August.