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United Kingdom-Newport: Survey services
Prior information notice
This notice is for prior information only
Section I: Contracting authority
Section II: Object
Services Related to Covid-19
This PIN supersedes the PIN issued by the authority on 25 September 2020 – 452860-2020. ONS was commissioned in April 2020 to conduct the Covid-19 Infection Survey collecting the data which informs HMG’s policies and operational interventions regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. CIS is a repeated cross-sectional household survey with additional serial sampling and longitudinal follow-up which provides an estimate of the proportion and number of people living in private households who would have had Covid-19 in the last week based on trend modelling. The study is led by DHSC and ONS and draws on the world-leading scientific expertise of the University of Oxford. CIS is the flagship surveillance study and the key source of Covid-19 infection data, incidence and antibody prevalence in UK communities. We work with key stakeholder partners; PHE, PHS, PHW, the Joint Biosecurity Centre, Ministers, SAGE, and the wider UK Test and Trace programmes to inform required policy and operational interventions.
ONS will reserve the right to decide whether to aggregate the lots up to a turnkey solution, or award variations of the lots.
Supply and Integration of Survey and Field Force Management
The authority has a requirement for the delivery of all operational aspects of a UK field force for the ONS Covid-19 infection survey throughout the period May 2021-May 2022 (with the potential for this to be extended beyond this date). This will include overall responsibility for the integration of all services in lots 2 to 9, provision of underlying data infrastructure and data flows.
This lot shall include: full survey and field force management, including preparation of training material, management of the field force, provision of appointment scheduling, supply chain management, sample management system, end-to-end data flow management, quality assurance, collation of management information, managing and resolving complaints and incident resolution, information security and overall service integration. With the health and safety of participants and staff the highest priority, of particular note, is that this lot includes a key role leading a ‘health and safety first’ culture across the field operation.
The field force shall cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and be adaptive to survey sample requirements. Study health workers will follow NHS guidance regarding protective equipment. The study parameters are estimated, and these may change due to epidemiological requirements. All parameters and study design are subject to medical ethics approval.
The survey is a large scale operation and success depends on the ability to successfully align data collection resources to meet the participant testing requirement, completing the data collection to a high standard and ensuring both a high quality respondent experience and integrity in the data flows that occur. The study shall recruit on average approximately 35 000 participants per month throughout the period until May 2022. During this time, with a significant number of participants already enrolled on the study, the number of active participants will typically be approximately 450 000, although we will only be testing approximately 100 000 a week. All participants shall be swab tested and up to 20 % of participants shall also receive blood tests for antibodies. Participants receive testing on a weekly basis for the first 5 weeks they are on the study, before moving to monthly testing for a year. The number of health worker visits shall therefore scale accordingly based on an average household of approximately 2. The estimated number of health worker visits throughout the period is 2 900 000 based on an estimated 950 000 health worker days.
Online Registration and Data Collection
The authority has a requirement for provision of an online data collection service and supporting infrastructure to allow secure registration and survey data collection as part of a longitudinal household study. The study shall recruit on average approximately 35 000 participants per month throughout the period until May 2022. During this time, the number of active participants will typically be approximately 450 000, although we will only be testing at peak effort approximately 100 000 a week.
Provision of Labour for Field Force
The authority has a requirement for the provision of CIS field staff. This contract shall include recruitment, training and performance management of interviewers who support participant self-administration of swabs as part of the CIS field force, working alongside Lot 1. The geographical coverage of the field force shall cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and be adaptive to survey sample requirements. Study health workers will follow NHS guidance regarding protective equipment. The anticipated field force is between 4 000 — 7 000 people across the UK.
Provision of Medically Trained Staff
The authority has a requirement for the provision of CIS field staff. This contract shall include recruitment and performance management of medically qualified/certified staff (e.g. phlebotomists or nurses who can take blood) for the collection of swab and blood samples as part of the CIS field force, working alongside Lot 1. The geographical coverage of the field force shall cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and be adaptive to survey sample requirements. Study health workers will follow NHS guidance regarding protective equipment. The expected resource allocation is approximately 800 staff across the UK.
The authority has a requirement for a service provider to act as a respondent contact centre to assist registration, enrolment, data collection, complaints handling, queries and potential assisted digital completion support. Service is required 7 days a week. The current level of resource is around 150 full-time staff.
Courier and Logistics
The authority has a requirement for a service provider to arrange collection and safe movement of equipment from warehousing to field staff, and movement of biological material from around 100 UK-wide local collection points, up to twice daily, to the selected UK testing centres (Lighthouse labs currently at Glasgow, Milton Keynes and Oxford) within 24 hours of collection.
The authority has a requirement for a service provider to provide secure warehousing and picking and packing service for interviewer kits (estimated at 4000-7000 parcels a week) which will include swabs, PPE, testing equipment and other survey materials for supply through the duration of the study. The estimated storage space per month is between 250 and 350 pallets.
The authority has a requirement for a service provider to supply monetary incentives to the respondents for their participation during the study. There are anticipated to be over 1 million respondent interviews a year. The estimated value of incentives required is GBP 190 million.
Print and Post – Main Covid-19 Infection Survey
The authority has a requirement for a service provider to support the study by printing personalised letters containing name, address and a Unique Reference Number (URN) for each record/person in connection to CIS. Data provided by the ONS (currently via SFTP) is to be downloaded by the service provider and uploaded for print on the day of provision. As a base average, 400 000 letter packs a month will require printing. The estimated annual value is GBP 8 million excluding VAT.
Print and Post – Participant Recruitment
The authority has a requirement for a service provider to support the study by printing and posting letters containing address and a unique access code (UAC) for each household. Some mailings also contain an additional insert (leaflet/information sheet). Data provided by the ONS (currently transferred via SFTP) to be printed and posted over an agreed 3 week period to support a four letter engagement strategy. As a base average, 220 000 packs a month will require printing and posting. The estimated annual contract value is GBP 5.3 million excluding VAT.
Section IV: Procedure
Section VI: Complementary information
1) The Procurement
This procurement encompasses the key services essential to supporting ONS’s Covid-19 specific survey operations. Most importantly, this is the Covid-19 Infection Survey (CIS) — the overall purpose of this study is to understand how many people across the UK have already had Covid-19. The study conducts detailed analysis of Covid-19 infection rates by age, location, ethnicity, job etc. to help the government work out how to manage the pandemic better moving forwards. ONS is also exploring a number of further Covid-19 related survey opportunities.
This PIN supersedes the previous PIN issued by the authority on 25 September 2020 ID SERVICES 452860-2020. The authority will be using the accelerated open procedure for this requirement. Further details will follow in the contract notice, however, suppliers will need to register on the eTendering portal here: https://in-tendhost.co.uk/ ons/aspx/Home to participate in the procurement.
All suppliers will be permitted to submit a bid for subsequent tender exercises that may follow the market engagement event, regardless of attendance at the market engagement event.
This procurement is being conducted by ONS and may include other devolved authorities. This means the government of the United Kingdom (including the Northern Ireland Executive Committee and Northern Ireland Departments, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales), including, but not limited to, government ministers, government departments, government offices and government agencies and ‘Crown Body’. A comprehensive list of crown bodies can be found in the National Archives, which is updated from time to time.
The scope of this procurement is detailed in Section II.2. Regarding timescales, the Authority is currently planning to have the procurement run and be in a position to award a contract or a series of contracts by the 31 May 2021.
The estimated total value at section II.1.5) of GBP 618 000 000 is an estimated annual value.
2) Market engagement
The authority is planning to hold a market engagement event with potential suppliers to help determine whether our requirement is feasible based on market capacity and capability and to provide further information to potential suppliers on our requirement. The provisional date for this event is Monday 7 December 2020, or as otherwise advised. Further information will be provided to interested parties.
Suppliers who have already responded to the original PIN and registered with the authority for the original market engagement event do not need to re-register.
It is anticipated that the event will take place ‘virtually’ and will last about 2 hours. Please note that the date and arrangements for this event may be subject to change. If you have not already responded to the original PIN you will need to register your interest for this event. You must firstly register as a supplier on the authority’s e-tendering portal, In-Tend https://in-tendhost.co.uk/ons/aspx/Home. Following registration, all interested suppliers that did not respond to the original PIN are asked to email Covid19.Commercial@ons.gov.uk confirming their company name and their attendance at the event. Attendance will be limited to 3 delegates per company, please notify us who will be attending.
The Authority would welcome any feedback from the PIN directed to Covid19.Commercial@ons.gov.uk which the authority could cover in the Market Engagement event.