Gemma Newell
Jan 21 · 5 min read

We are excited to announce that the opportunity to join our new BBC Digital Design Research Framework is now live. This will replace our existing roster this year.

We want to build strong and productive working relationships with agencies of all sizes, capabilities and research specialisms to support our user experience and design processes.

The new roster aims to help the BBC:

  • Improve the quality of our design research, and of the products and services we make.
  • Provide value for money.
  • Bring diversity to our research.
  • Drive the innovation and creativity of our design research.

We intend to select 5 to 10 agencies to join the roster with a life of 2 to 4 years, effective from July 2019. Over that time we expect to reward £2.4 to £3.6 million in contracts (approximately £600,000 to £900,000 per year).

If your agency is successful, you will have the opportunity to work across our digital products and services, including the BBC Homepage, News, Sport, Weather, CBeebies and CBBC, Bitesize, Sounds, iPlayer, Interactive TV, and the systems and services that power these products.

More than that though, the agencies will help inform our understanding of our users to help us create new products and innovations.

What kinds of agencies will we select?

We’re looking for a diversity of different types of research agency. To be selected you must be able to carry out excellent task-based user research, and then communicate your findings with clarity and creativity to inspire and galvanise our teams to take action. We want to see great research generalists and specialists on the roster — agencies that have pet passions, unique offerings and a strong focus on quality in their practice, agencies that can encourage us to try a broader range of methods and approaches to research.

We also care about your staff development, and contribution to strengthening the research industry in the UK. We hope to select agencies based in many different locations, since our projects will be based in Salford, London, Glasgow and Cardiff and we need to represent the needs of users from all over the country, and all over the globe.

What will it be like on our new roster?

We want to build strong and creative working relationships with our research agencies, and we want to be a great client.

Instead of commissioning each project separately, we’ll be creating longer-lasting Work Packages that are based either around a research methodology (e.g. contextual and ethnographic research) or around a particular theme (e.g. children and youth audiences, or Voice and XR), with input from both sides contributing to create the best research possible for our User Experience and Design teams.

We intend to award Work Packages to the successful agencies roughly once a year. In order to match agencies capabilities with the packages available we’ll be utilising the information submitted throughout the tender process, alongside other considerations such as pricing. More information can be found in the Framework Agreement (Section 2, available via Bravo Solutions).

What is the selection process?

Joining the roster is a two-stage process. Firstly there is the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), which assesses the technical capability and experience of each agency. Following this, successful suppliers will be invited to participate in the second stage; Invitation to Tender (ITT).

PQQ stage

First you’ll need to complete a few Pre-Qualification Questions. These are mandatory pass/fail questions about your company and questions relating to the minimum capabilities and experience suppliers are required to have.

We do the rest of the PQQ assessment with two A3-sized posters, which need to illustrate your capabilities and experience. One poster should showcase your qualitative research work, with the other showcasing a research specialism of your choosing.

These posters are the main way for you to shine — it’s your chance to differentiate your offering and skills, so please think carefully about what examples you use and how you communicate them to us.

We’ll then be using the Selection Criteria to shortlist a minimum of the 10 highest scoring agencies to participate in the Invitation to Tender.

ITT stage

The ITT gets into what you could do for us with practical exercises and a visit to your agency. It will consist of three assessed parts; written response, presentation/research challenge and facilitation exercise.

The BBC will be visiting supplier offices for this part of the process. The facilitation exercise will take place prior to the visit to your premises as part of the research challenge.

A week prior to visiting your agency, we will send you a research challenge brief. On the day, you will give a credentials presentation, answering a few pre-defined questions we have (e.g. how you approach projects with clients), and you will deliver your response to our brief. We will pay you a small fee in recognition of the work you’ve undertaken for the challenge. As part of this brief, we will also ask you to facilitate research with participants (that we will recruit for you), and to send us a video file of this facilitation.

We want to give you as much opportunity as possible to show what you can offer us, and we hope our process will do this, whilst keeping the amount of work you and we need to do to humane levels!

After evaluation of each ITT response, agencies will be advised of the outcome by late June 2019.

How to get started

Firstly, take a look through the document below for a more detailed overview of the process.

You’ll need to make sure that you’re registered on the BBC’s e-tendering portal Bravo Solutions, where you can find all the tender documentation. Please ensure you carefully review all of the published material. Please note that the ITT and Framework Agreement are provided for information only at this stage.

You can then throw your hat in the ring by submitting your response to the Design Research Roster PQQ by Monday 18th February 2019.

The BBC will be hosting a Webinar to discuss the procurement on 24th January 2019 at 2pm where you’ll be able to raise any questions regarding the BBC’s requirements, or the process itself. You can register here.

If you have any questions and are unable to make the Webinar then the PQQ document gives you guidance on how they can be raised, and the deadline to submit them. A recording of the webinar will also be made available after the event.

And if you want to find out about BBC UX&D more generally, head over to the BBC GEL website.

Good luck!

BBC Design + Engineering

BBC D+E. Building the best BBC products, platforms and services for audiences in the UK and around the world

Gemma Newell

Written by

Creative Director for Design Research | BBC

BBC Design + Engineering

BBC D+E. Building the best BBC products, platforms and services for audiences in the UK and around the world

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