MOD Defence and Security

The MOD Defence and Security Accelerator sources innovative technologies that form the basis of new military capability.

With the Ministry of Defence's existing portal for managing competition submissions no longer fit-for-purpose, Reading Room were asked to create a new system that would meet the usability needs of end-users and stakeholders and reduce operating costs.



The existing system presented several problems that needed to be addressed. 

The process for submitting a proposal was too laborious, while users were required to complete an online form which was awkward to use lacking in user guidance. 

This process meant the quality of submissions was very varied and these submissions required much back office time and cost to process and assess. 

Finally, with funding for the existing licensed portal about to be pulled, the system was soon to be switched-off. We therefore needed to ensure continuity of service by launching the replacement portal quickly.



The new portal needed to simplify the process for both external bidders and internal assessors.

The original brief focused on creating a new and improved submission tool capable of producing PDF copies of proposals, similar to the existing service. But during our discovery phase, we identified that this approach would fail to meet user needs. Nor achieve two core objectives of reducing back office work and ensuring the quality of submissions.

We used an agile methodology to breakdown requirements into smaller user stories that met specific user needs. We applied Government Digital Services (GDS) principles to simplify the submission form and iterated the submission service after gaining feedback from end users.


The outcome is a user-friendly submission service that enables users to submit a proposal using a simple 5-step process.

The Accelerator’s internal administrators can quickly assign proposals to assessors who can evaluate proposals efficiently online. The portal has helped MOD to significantly cut transaction costs and has improved efficiencies for the in-house team. 

It has led to record-levels of submissions and received a phenomenal 96% positive user satisfaction score after the first year of use. User feedback included comments such as: 'Intuitive and reliable'; 'the best submission tool I’ve ever used' and 'This site is really awesome, it deserves a design award'.

After passing GDS assessments for the alpha and public beta phases, we are now continually improving the portal using feedback from users.

"Without doubt, in selecting Reading Room, we could not, in any way, have chosen a better partner to deliver this high-profile project against such a challenging timeline."
Jim Pennycook, Head of Operations MOD Defence and Security Accelerator
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