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How to buy from Digital Services 2

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Digital Services 2 went live on 6 August 2015 and services are now available on the Digital Marketplace for public sector buyers.

All central government buyers use the Managed Service option. This means that the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) assists with the commercial aspects of a procurement on an individual basis. Technical support is provided by the Government Digital Service (GDS). Buyers discuss their requirements with a Managed Service lead at CCS who then helps them find an appropriate shortlist of suppliers. CCS can also provide guidance, support and templates to wider public sector (WPS) buyers, enabling them to run a further competition.
Before starting the procurement process, keep the following tips in mind.

Understand the market

Do your research and, whenever possible, carry out market engagement. Speaking to suppliers will help you understand if they can supply what you need. It also helps the market prepare for your requirement and offer you technical advice on options you might not have considered. Consider all possibilities.

Identify your requirements

Developing your needs in terms of deliverables and outcomes is the next step. The technical requirements are important so involve your technical team at an early stage.


Make sure you’ve got the relevant approvals, both internally from your team and externally. Please see the GDS digital spend approvals in the technology code of practice. If you’re unsure whether your spend is compliant, please email

Create your shortlist

Use the catalogue on the Digital Marketplace under ‘Find specialists to work on digital projects’, eg technical architects and user researchers. Next, select the filters that apply to your requirements, for example, digital capability. You can further apply filters such as digital role, seniority level, location, technology or language to further inform. We recommend you only apply necessary criteria to avoid restricting your pool of potential suppliers by over-enthusiastic filtering. The filters will help you identify capable suppliers to invite to further competition tender. You must invite all the suppliers that your chosen filter returns. This is your shortlist.

Further competition

Buyers can invite shortlisted suppliers to further competition. To help with this, CCS has developed a set of templates designed to capture all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Evaluation process

Evaluate the bid responses in line with your pre-defined criteria as per the award questionnaire.

Based on feedback from Digital Services 1 (DS1), we’ve added an additional step to allow buyers to test out a supplier’s written submission. You now have the opportunity to meet your shortlisted suppliers to talk about their proposed service and check for cultural fit. It also allows you to test technical ability or a prototype.

Award the contract

By this point, you’ll have already completed the further competition pack so you’ll have most of what you need to finalise the call-off contract. You can now issue your first Statement of Work (SoW) too. This must be sent out with the contract.

After the award

Once the supplier is in place, please inform CCS so we can support you in your project. CCS has developed a new balanced scorecard (on page 18 of the CCS buyer’s guide) to ensure supplier performance management is robust and auditable.

Find practical guidance in the Digital Marketplace’s buyers’ guide or under the documents tab on the CCS site. You can contact the team on

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