Information Services Division


Working with external suppliers of web services

This page contains guidance around working with external suppliers of web services to create and host a website.

Digital Presence can support UCL-branded websites on the UCL domain using the central web publishing platform in Drupal.  If you require a UCL-branded website please read the guidance on new website requests before requesting a new site. 

However, there are occasions when staff require a non-UCL branded site, for example for a project with external partners where UCL is not the lead partner or certain technical requirements that are not currently met by the Drupal CMS (such as member registration for non-UCL users.)

If you require a non-UCL branded site or need to engage an external web agency for an externally hosted and managed website, you will have to source your own suppliers. It is wise to obtain a quote from at least three suppliers.  

Guidance on managing your web project 

Planning your website

Before approaching suppliers, please visit our Digital Experience Sharepoint for extensive guidance covering: 

  • Understanding your users 
  • Planning your content
  • Writing a design brief 
  • Analytics and monitoring 

If you have a complex or high value contract (over £164k), contact Procurement Services who will be able to provide suitable tendering documentation. 

Important compliance information 

When obtaining quotes or issuing tenders for web related services, you must consider the following: 

  • Compliance with UCL Financial Regulationsdepending on the value of the estimated project spend you will need to obtain three quotes or issue tenders, depending on the value or complexity of your project. 
  • Data protection and GDPR: you will need to conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment on the proposed site and ensure the site is GDPR compliant. See the guidance from Legal Services for further information. 
  • Information security: all website developments especially those using external suppliers and/or cloud services must follow the guidance provided by the Information Security Group to ensure the information security risk has been addressed.
  • Intellectual property: UCL will expect to own the Intellectual Property Rights for all websites developed for UCL, however there may be circumstances, such as for collaborate research projects, when this may be different. Please contact Procurement Services for general advice or your Research Contracts Adviser/Joint Research Office for advice as relevant. 
  • Image copyright: do not include an image on your website unless you are sure you have permission to use it. Most images in print and on the internet are protected by copyright law and you must seek permissions from the copyright holder/rights owner (usually the photographer or an image library) before using them and credit as require. Library Services have compiled a useful set of copyright FAQs.
  • Web accessibility standards: see the guidance on creating accessible content. Public sector websites now need to meet accessibility standards as defined in The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. 
  • Licensing: you will need to check if there are any licensing requirements, e.g. if you use the supplier's software in the Cloud of if they are also providing hosting services 
  • Maintenance: you should consider if there are any ongoing maintenance requirements e.g. does the site need ongoing security patching, etc. 
  • Contract terms: a relevant set of contract terms needs to be signed for each piece of work and a purchase order must be raised in MyFinance before the supplier can proceed with delivering the service. Depending on how the supplier operates, the contract will be one of the four types of contract and this is indicated within the Web Development Approved Supplier List. Contact Procurement Services who can provide you with the relevant contract. 

Approaching suppliers 

Once you’re ready with your website brief, you can approach three suppliers and request a quote. Contact Procurement Services who can provide you with the relevant template.