Invitation to Tender

Title: Public Library Universal Information Offer

Supporting Digital Access to Information and Services: Geo-locator

Deadline for receipt of tender proposals: 10 March 2014 @ 5pm

  1. 1.    Introduction

The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) is a local government association made up of the chief librarian of each library authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  SCL takes a leading role in the development of public libraries through sharing best practice, advocating for continuous improvement on behalf of local people and leading the debate on the future of the public library service.

As part of its development programme, SCL has created a Single Digital Presence for Public Libraries which will be a single point of entry for customers and the workforce to the public library services and resources. This is continually evolving and developmental work.   Contemporary society faces significant challenges to health and wellbeing, and healthy living is at the top of everyone’s list these days: diet, exercise, mental and physical wellbeing are all areas in which the demand for information, advice and guidance continues to grow. Libraries are a significant deliverer of access to health information and services and the library workforce is a significant resource to help and support people to use that health information to meet their needs.

As part of the NHS Widening Digital Participation Programme, SCL is working with the Tinder Foundation in a Flagship Innovation Project.  The hub of this project is to create a geographically and postcode searchable database of health information held by local authorities and locally based providers, linking the national resources of information and services held on NHS Choices and other national health related websites as appropriate, to the locally generated information, advocacy and services provided by Local Authorities, the Voluntary Sector and independent organisations.

Local public libraries, in their key role as local information providers are trusted places with trusted people. Around 50% of public library users leave the library with health related information.   The library workforce is second only to GPs as trusted sources of health information

[1]. SCL wants to make the enquiry process more effective and efficient for the customer and the workforce, by making the access to health information simple, and efficient, whether searched through national websites or the local websites.

We wish now to appoint a supplier to work with us and our partners to design, develop and implement a tool to meet our objectives, to build the database and create the tool which will provide a postcode/geographical searchable database of local health information and services.

  1. 2.    Background

The Public Library Universal Information Offer is one of the four Universal Offers developed by SCL which cover the key areas of service which our customers and our stakeholders see as essential to a 21st century library service.

The focus of the Public Library Universal Information Offer is on libraries’ role in supporting people to access information and services online in life-critical areas such as careers and job seeking; health, personal financial information and benefits. Central to this offer is helping people to use vital government online information services.

The Public Library Universal Information Offer aims to:


  • Bring together government and non-government sources of information, which have been researched by information professionals in public libraries, give a level of quality assurance to the customer.


  • Ensure that our staff and volunteers are continually developing their skills to provide the help some people need to access information and services online.


  • Position public libraries as the venue within communities which supports citizens to access government information and services, and so result in the commissioning of public libraries by Government to deliver ‘Assisted Digital Services’.

The Public Library Universal Information Offer grew out of partnership work with Arts Council England and SCL. They jointly commissioned, with Arts Council funding, eight pilot projects, involving over 60 public library authorities in England, which informed the development of the Offer.

In 2013 we completed a specification for the required knowledge, skills and behaviours of the workforce of staff and volunteers to play their role competently and confidently as Digital Champions in supporting people to access and use electronic on line information, resources and transactions. We have appointed a contractor to develop that package, funded by the Arts Council England, for roll out across the country.   The Single Digital Presence is a key information resource which will underpin that competence and capability.


  1. Public Libraries Single Digital Presence

The Single Digital Presence is currently hosted by OCLC and the Bookmark Your Library website[2]. As part of the Universal Information Offer hosted on this website is a page containing information on and links to the most useful, quality assured national sources of health information that have been researched by library information professionals as part of the SCL Universal Information Offer project.  The health information page sits alongside similar pages for other life-essential information such as job seeking; personal financial management and benefits.  We have suggested a maximum of eight links for each subject area.

We now wish to commission the creation of a tool that will enable people to link to and from the health information page to one local page of locally hosted and locally collected health information and services for each local area as identified by the local public library authority.

We are developing guidance for Public Library Authorities (PLAs) on how to do this in a structured way. In some instances the local link might be just one generic local source, in others to a locally created page with more annotated links and this will be determined by each of the respective 151 (PLAs). This link will be maintained and updated by individual PLAs.

Post code data has already been collected as part of the Enquire service on the Bookmark Your Library website.  It might be possible to dovetail this work and this will need to be explored. However portability is a key concern for us, and what is built, and its functionality, will need to work independently of the current host website as part of the future proofing of the project.

As part of the Flagship Innovation Project we now want to develop the postcode/geographical search functionality and make the links between the national electronic sources and the local health information, identified by Public Library Authorities which are needed by the customer. The initial focus for this work is the Public Library Authorities in the West Midlands and Brighton and Hove.

Ownership of all data and the database will be retained by SCL and may not be reused without written permission.


  1. Vision and Principles

We have developed some principles which we think are an important element of our vision for this work:

Vision: Public Libraries helping people access quality assured online health information, services and support at the local level

Simplicity One link to a page from each authority. That page to link to key weblinks determined by and the responsibility of  the individual PLA in terms of relevance, quality and currency
Local knowledge and expertise Capitalise on local PLAs and their workforce expertise and community knowledge, recognising the significance of locally delivered library and information services
No duplication Should not just link back to part of the NHS choices site or other national sites
Practicality Balance simplicity and relevance
Updateable Currency in the hands of the PLA
Link to LAs Maximise the local connections as part of the local authority: public health, housing, adult learning etc
Customer focus Not what it is easy to provide but what is most important for the customer
Model/Best practice Test and develop our work through pilot projects.
Transferability Only develop things once and with an eye to delivery across the country
Future proof Anything we do at this concept stage must be flexible enough to expand and change



  1. 5.    Specification


A tool is required to enable people to find national and local information about health easily and efficiently. Health information, services and sources are both nationally and locally provided.  People need access to both when seeking health information and advice online.  This tool will allow people to enter their local postcode, town or county and be taken from the information pages on the Single Digital Presence to quality assured and appropriate local webpages with links to local sources of information, services and advice on health matters.  Local Public Library Authorities have already gathered many of the appropriate links and have committed to maintaining the currency of this information as part of the SCL Universal Public Library Information Offer.

The tool is being developed initially to support access to health information. It must be suitable to work with other life-critical areas such as careers and job seeking; personal financial information and benefits.  It is also essential that the tool/database is developed independently of the existing website currently hosting the Single Digital Presence, so should that host site shift in the future, it can be used on whatever site on which the Information Offer sits.

Considerations and requirements

  • Ability to search by postcode (full and partial), area/county, town, place name.
  • Search box on each “information offer” page on the Single Digital Presence with link to urls for each library authority for relevant subject link e.g. Health, Benefits





  • A robust solution is required with access for updating requirements to sustain and future proof the database with due consideration to future changes external to and beyond SCL control. E.G. the validity of the Postcode Address File.
    • Solution for administration of links – adding and amending. Preferred option would be something similar to Reading Groups for Everyone with the ability to create an authority account and login to administer changes.
    • Ability to be used across all standard browsers and devices and comply with  the requirements of the Government Service Design Manual [3]
    • Meet any  user accessibility standards and tested against GDS benchmarks [4]


The above can be seen as required, minimum output.  However, other considerations for future development have been identified and it would be useful if these were borne in mind in any response to this ITT:

  • Ability to search within 1-20 miles of a postcode
  • Flexibility to expand and rank URLs
  • Ability to annotate each URL so we can give guidance on usefulness


Example sites and software


  1. 6.    Requirements

The successful supplier should be able to demonstrate evidence of:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the context in which this project has been developed including managing content sources from a range of public authorities and voluntary and community sector bodies
  • A track record of developing IT innovation
  • A track record of building, testing and completing IT tools which comply with the needs of the purchaser
  • Skills and ability to create online tools that can be updated and managed by the client
  • Successful completion of projects to time, quality and budget
  • Negotiation and partnership working


  1. 7.    Scope of service

The successful supplier will need to work with and consult with key project stakeholders.  This includes Public Library Authorities; Society of Chief Librarians; OCLC; Tinder Foundation; Arts Council England; NHS England and potentially other sources of information.


  1. 8.    Indicative Project Timetable

(To be confirmed on appointment)

10 March Deadline for return of tenders
14 March Supplier appointed
17-21 March Project initiation
21 March – 17 April Product development and testing
22 April – 23 May Implementation
27 May – 10 June Training and awareness for staff
10-24 June Assessment in the field by Tinder


  1. 9.    Account Management

The supplier will report to Sally McMahon, Head of Libraries & Information Services, Brighton & Hove City Council who is the SCL Executive lead for this project and who will oversee and manage the contract on behalf of SCL.

Tel: 01273 296963

Mob: 07919 044951


10. Pricing/Budget

The budget allocated for this project is £10,000


11. Payment Structure and billing requirements

Payment will be made in three stages: on delivery of a working solution, completion of key deliverables, and following satisfactory assessment in the field.

  • Stage 1: At product test stage
  • Stage 2: Agreed final working solution product implemented and signed off by the Project Team
  • Stage 3: Following satisfactory assessment in the field


12. Tender Response Requirements

In responding to this tender, please include:

  • An understanding of the objectives of the Invitation to Tender
  • Overall design and methodology
  • Outputs
  • Provisional timetable
  • Personnel and responsibilities
  • Staff nominated to work on the project (including brief CVs and detailing their suitability/experience)
  • Any subcontracted work
  • Details of the lead contact
  • Costs (excluding VAT, with VAT shown separately and clearly)


In your tender response, clearly indicate the names, addresses and CVs of any sub-contractors you intend to use to provide the services and the scope of work you will employ them for.


  1. 13.  Evaluation Criteria

The Project Team will assess and shortlist tenders. Overall assessment will be concerned with relevant skills and experience, taking account of the quality and cost of tenderers’ proposals. The tender will be assessed according to the following criteria and weighting:


Criteria Weighting
  • Knowledge and understanding of the context in which this project has been developed including managing content sources from a range of public authorities and VCS
  • Negotiation and partnership working and an ability to clearly and completely find and articulate a way forward for information experts who are  not technical IT specialists





  • A track record of developing IT innovation
  • A track record of building, testing and completing IT tools which comply with  the needs of the purchaser

Skills and ability to create online tools that can be updated and managed by the client



  • Successful completion of projects to time, quality and budget


  • Value for money
  • Clarity of writing, including strength of narrative and avoidance of unnecessary jargon


It is anticipated that an interview and presentation may be required as part of the assessment process.  Appointment of the preferred tenderer will be one week after interview.

A Project Initiation Meeting will take place within one week following appointment.

Please submit your quotation in accordance with all of the instructions, requirements and specifications set out in the invitation to quote.

Section 2: Instructions to tenderers


Bids must be returned by 10 March @ 5pm

Please submit your quotation in accordance with all of the instructions, requirements and specifications set out in the Invitation to Tender.

You must treat this document and any further information provided by SCL as confidential at all times and only disclose them if necessary to prepare a compliant quotation.

Nothing in the enclosed documentation or appendices, or any other communication made between SCL and any other party, can be considered a contract or agreement at this stage.

All correspondence in relation to this quotation should be addressed to:

Sally McMahon,

Head of Libraries & Information Services, City Services,

Brighton & Hove City Council

Tel: 01273 296963

Mob: 07919 044951



SCL reserves the right to disqualify or reduce the evaluation score of any prospective supplier who do not fully comply with the requirements in the ITT in particular the closing time and date.

SCL reserves the right to evaluate proposals on a variety of criteria. The quotation with the lowest price will not automatically be accepted unless stated in our evaluation criteria section.


The approximate value of the proposed work will be up to £10,000 inclusive of VAT. Please note that, whilst not the only criteria, value for money is a key element of our evaluation criteria. Prices should be fixed and firm for the duration of the contract.

Validity of offer

You must offer your quotation for acceptance for 30 days from the deadline for receipt of quotations.

Please note that by submitting a quotation for consideration you are confirming that, as an officer for the company/organisation that you represent, you have read and understood the ITT document and that your offer to SCL is open for acceptance for 30 days from the quotation closing date.