One of the aims of the Digital Marketplace, as mentioned in our March strategy, is to make technology and digital frameworks available so that the public sector has one place to go to buy what it needs to build world-class digital services.In April, we added the Crown Hosting framework to the Digital Marketplace. This service provides an interim measure for buyers looking to keep older systems running while they transition to cloud. It’s also an option for services where a cloud solution is not possible due to security reasons.
G-Cloud 5 extension
The G-Cloud 5 (G5) framework was due to expire on 22 May. After speaking with Crown Commercial Service (CCS), we jointly agreed that it should be extended for six months. This is the maximum amount of time G5 can be extended, which means it will remain available on the Digital Marketplace until the end of November. The extension will give us sufficient time to review both the G-Cloud and the redesigned Digital Services frameworks to ensure they best meet customer needs.
Although we’re yet to finalise the timetable for G-Cloud 7 (G7), we anticipate the OJEU will be published in August. The discovery phase indicated that two key changes to the framework were necessary:
- Introduce the full set of filters that the broader G-Cloud 6 (G6) data set allows. Previously, this could not be fully implemented without disadvantaging G5 suppliers.
- Improve the supplier submission process. We made some considerable changes in 2014 when we introduced the new Supplier Submission Portal (SSP) and security questionnaire. However, we want to improve the experience for suppliers when applying to join the framework too. We’ll talk more about this in a later post.
We’ve made some improvements to the Digital Services area on the Digital Marketplace:
- Digital Services can be directly accessed from the Digital Marketplace homepage
- the upgrade of the Digital Services Store to use GOV.UK styling provides buyers with a more consistent experience across the Digital Marketplace
- clearer filters help buyers find relevant suppliers more easily
- the layout of supplier information and pricing helps buyers with their evaluation and selection of prospective suppliers
- streamlining the download of supplier contact details now makes it easier for buyers to begin their further competition procedure
Digital Services 2
We have further changes planned for when DS2 goes live:
- additional roles and consolidated capabilities
- new types of roles: junior, intermediate, senior levels plus a specialist category
- potential for developers to work from remote locations, and advice on how best to put this into practice
- warranties and acceptance criteria linked to the Digital by Default standard
- a further competition procedure which allows for practical demonstrations in addition to written Request for Proposals (RFPs)
- new keyword search functionality for technologies and capabilities
- an enhanced supplier overview page
There were a large number of responses to the OJEU for Digital Services 2 (DS2). As a result, the evaluation of the bids has taken longer than we had anticipated. CCS hope to be able to make the contract award shortly and Digital Services 2 will be available on the Digital Marketplace soon after. We will update you on the DS2 dates in a separate post. Digital Services 1 will remain in the Digital Marketplace until it is replaced by DS2. Please note that buyers will be able to complete any commissioning already underway. I can confirm that the reverse auction will no longer be part of the process.
Digital Services 3
I said in my February update that we would think out loud as we develop the new Digital Services framework. It has become clear from user research that Digital Services needs to be completely redesigned to the extent that it will essentially be a new framework. We're even considering giving it a new name that more accurately reflects its purpose. This new framework will potentially allow buyers to do one, or more, of the following:
Deliver an outcome by:
- a) Engaging a team (or agency) to deliver a discovery or scoped area of work, or,
b) Engaging a digital specialist.
- Having access to resources: eg hire user research labs; recruit user research participants.
We’ve had feedback from suppliers who want to be able to supply teams of people, focussed on addressing specific needs and outcomes, rather than body shopping. As a result, we’re designing the new framework to meet this need.
We did consider whether the redesigned Digital Services should be a new lot on G-Cloud but decided against it as G-Cloud is for commodity cloud services and is based on supplier terms and conditions. Digital Services takes an entirely new approach, addressing different user needs, different procurement processes and regulations, and very different user journeys. To include this in the G-Cloud framework would add considerably to the contract terms and conditions, increasing the burden on SMEs. Rather than do this, we’ve decided to build on the G-Cloud principles, ensuring the framework meets the GDS design principles and most importantly, user needs.
DS3 pre-market engagement
Before we publish the OJEU we want to know if buyers agree that it will meet their needs and that suppliers can provide the services required under the framework. We are therefore planning a period of pre-market engagement when we will publish and consult on the procurement approach and proposed contract terms and conditions, as well as elements of the Invitation to Tender (ITT). This is planned to take place over the summer with the aim being to publish the OJEU in August. We expect to make the new framework available on the Digital Marketplace by January 2016.
As with DS2, there will be no reverse auction, with the detailed evaluation likely to be carried out at the RFP stage, where the individual requirements will be known. There will still need to be an evaluation of suppliers' responses to the OJEU. We’re looking at how we can make this as straightforward as possible while ensuring that the framework is populated with good quality suppliers, with the right capabilities to deliver a high quality service.
We have a great deal of work to do over the coming months and we want to share this with you. We’ll keep you updated via our blog and, as always, we welcome your comments below. Alternatively, you can feed back to us by taking part in our user research.
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