Invitation to tender: Explore design patterns for open APIs through prototyping and user research

04 August 2017

Call for tenders by the Open Data Institute

picture Image from: Flickr, tecestromberg technology-1

Contact: [email protected]

Tender reference: RDP6c-001

The objective of this work is to explore design patterns for open APIs that enable people, and the organisations they authorise, to access data about them. The work will look specifically at personal data held by telecoms and utilities (energy, water etc) and analyse similarities and differences between France and the UK.

The successful company will work in collaboration with the Open Data Institute (ODI), who will provide guidance, review and assistance throughout.

Summary and timeline


Terms payment

50% of the agreed value of the award will be paid in November 2017, and the remaining 50% will be paid upon completion of the work, including satisfactory responses to all feedback from the ODI.


The UK France data taskforce recommended developing "the use of API’s in the data economy, learning from the UK Open Banking experience". The ODI wishes to explore the architectural and design patterns that enable open APIs, with particular attention to the utilities sector and the concept of personal data stores, in the context of GDPR and the requirements for data access and portability that it brings.

Specifically, we aim to explore the forms of permissions that data holders should offer around subject access, portability and deletion requests, particularly those moderated through third-party services or applications, and how these should be described and displayed to those subjects.

This piece of work will support our exploration by looking at the contexts in which data subjects should be offered access to data about them, and how to do this in a way that increases understanding and trust about how data is used.

Through iterative research, prototyping and engagement with key groups in both France and the UK, the successful company will create a library of design patterns for data subject access, and will collate findings in a report which will aim in particular to highlight commonalities and differences between the French and UK contexts.

The telecoms sector must be included as focus, but candidates are encouraged to consider other utilities sectors (e.g. banking, energy, water) as either targets or exemplars.


By the end of the project the successful company will deliver:

  • Prototype code or other prototyping materials at the end of each prototyping iteration. The ODI will be the owner of Intellectual Property for all code and material created for the purpose of this project, and it will be published with an open licence for public scrutiny and reuse.
  • A design patterns library for data subject access - to be used by both the public and private sectors
  • A short, accessible report (in English) on the findings from the project, and introducing the design patterns library to its audience.
  • A presentation of the work in progress, possibly as a lightning talk, at the UK/France data summit to be held in Paris at a date to be confirmed between January and March 2018.

The ODI favours working in the open. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct this work in this manner through blogging and speaking about their work. In practice, the successful candidate will be expected to write at least one blogpost in the course of the project, as well as give a presentation of the final deliverables at an ODI Lunchtime Lecture or similar event - which may occur after the end of the project.


The successful candidate will be expected to create the deliverables above through a number of iterations of research, prototyping and testing to be conducted both in France and in the UK.

It is paramount that the successful company will either have capacity to run testing and workshops in France, or will be responsible for subcontracting part or all of those activities to a third-party company or individuals in France.

The activities will not necessarily take place in equal measure between the two countries, and the interested parties are invited to provide explanations in their bid about the expected balance.

The ODI will, where possible, provide space to work in our offices in London, when members of the successful contractor wish to work onsite. There is an expectation that the successful bidder will work closely with the ODI team, which includes regular face-to-face meetings and being available remotely (e.g. Skype, email, Slack). There will be:

  • A face-to-face kick off meeting, held in London
  • A wrap-up meeting, held in London
  • Fortnightly meetings to share progress on the project. The ODI will provide feedback and comments on draft deliverables during these. Short presentations of findings at regular interval will also be delivered by the successful candidate as part of the fortnightly status meeting with ODI.

Form of tender response

Interested parties should submit a costed proposal (in English) to [email protected] which includes:

  • the tender reference in the email subject line
  • a short (no more than 5 pages) explanation of your proposed approach (e.g. methodology, scope), including why you are well-placed to do the work
  • a description of the team who will do the work, including bios in addition
  • the costing should be at activity level, but feel free to provide more detail
  • a writing sample of a similar research report or impact study

If you have any questions about the tender, please contact [email protected] quoting the tender reference. The ODI reserves the right to make both anonymised questions and answers public or shared with other organisations having stated their interest.

Decision criteria

All proposals will be assessed as described in our public procurement policy. In addition, for this procurement we will be looking for:

  • Evidence of capacity to run activities in both France and the UK.
  • Evidence of experience conducting user research and prototyping and creating design patterns for reuse by others.
  • Ability to communicate well in written form; we ask that you include an example of your writing.