Home Office launches user-centred design drive for digital services

Department seeks partners to ‘avoid shortfall of essential skills’


Photo: PA

By Sam Trendall

03 Dec 2019

The Home Office is to launch a two-year project to implement user-centred design principles across its technology and digital services.

A contract notice – the first of it two that will be published – reveals that the department wants to work with external suppliers that can “help meet demand for user-centred design capability… on a range of internal and public-facing services, from discovery to live”.

The tender document adds that “a large proportion” of government services currently fail to meet to specifications of the 14-point Service Standard in a number of areas, including “understanding users and their needs, solving a whole problem for users, making the service simple to use, [and] making sure everyone can use the service”.


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The department said: “Growing demand for user-centred design capability means we need experts in content design, interaction design, user research, service design and accessibility to increase our capacity and support efforts to deliver user-centred services that meet Service Standard requirements. We need an alternative procurement route to avoid a shortfall of these essential skills, which would put delivery timelines and standards at risk.”

For this first procurement, the Home Office is seeking to appoint a supplier to a two-year contract of as-yet-unspecified value. Bids for the work are open until midnight on Friday 13 December, with a deal scheduled to come into effect on 10 February.

Employees from the winner will join a team “civil service-led” team composed of contractors and government employees. 

Most of the work will take place in the Greater London area, but bidders “must be capable of providing the service nationwide”. 

The second of the tenders for a “user-centred design partner” is set to be published on the government’s Digital Marketplace platform in due course.

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