Redesigning Digital Services: Tell us what you think

Before the pre-election period, we said that we’d be starting afresh with Digital Services. Tony Singleton also shared our current thinking in his June update.

Government Digital Service (GDS) and Crown Commercial Service (CCS) are building on our existing insights by holding user research sessions in the user lab every fortnight and analysing past customer experience. We’re also talking to public sector buyers at our regional events, as well as visiting suppliers at their offices.

Buyers’ and suppliers’ needs

From our research, we’ve identified broad buyer needs that could be met by distinct services under the new framework:

“I need to deliver an outcome for a digital project”

This could be a service manager who needs to deliver a new or redesigned service that's digital by default. They may need a stand-alone discovery, or any or all of the design and delivery phases.


“I need to deliver an outcome for a digital project, but require a specific specialism”

This could be a technical architect who is working towards a beta service assessment. They need to expand the web-ops and quality assurance specialisms in their team.

Both these needs are about outcomes. In meeting these buyer needs we also need to give suppliers freedom and flexibility to deliver the outcome. Suppliers want to be able to propose the specialisms and team size that they believe would best meet a buyer's need.

There's also a need for services that support the delivery of digital projects. So far we’ve identified these:

“I need facilities to host user research sessions”

Finding a place to run and observe user research to support delivery of a digital project

“I need to recruit relevant participants for research”

Finding digital service users to participate in sessions held at the research facilities

Compliant, open and digital by default contracting

We’re prototyping a new Request for Proposal (RFP) process in the Digital Marketplace, to improve the way people commission what they need. The RFP process will enable a dialogue to take place between buyers and suppliers. This is testing really well in the user research sessions with buyers and suppliers.

The RFP process will be simpler, clearer and faster in the Digital Marketplace. Help will be available for those who are either new to this, or in the process of building their capability. For buyers who have the capability to commission digital services, it will be self-service.

We're interested in contracting data that's open, structured and reusable. This will make it easier to access, so we’d also like to align our development of the Digital Marketplace with the Open Contracting Data Standard.

Let us know what you think

We want to gain a deeper understanding of buyer and supplier user needs. Please fill out this form if you're:

  • a government or wider public sector buyer
  • micro, small, medium or large supplier
  • completely new to supplying government
  • on the Digital Services framework and are already supplying your services
  • on the Digital Services framework but are not yet supplying your services

Please share this post with anyone who falls into the categories above.

Next steps

As always, we'll share our thinking regularly and in small chunks as it develops. Some of the other things we're going to be talking about include:

  • improving the way suppliers apply to be on the framework
  • evaluating quality at both framework stage and call-off stage
  • providing a level of help to buyers so they can become self-service users
  • applying user-centred design principles to the framework agreement and call-off contract

In the meantime, sign up to the Digital Marketplace blog for updates and follow us on Twitter @GOVUKdigimkt