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Digital Outcomes and Specialists: An overview

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital Marketplace, Digital Services framework, Suppliers

The Digital Marketplace is transforming the way the public sector commissions digital and cloud services, by making it simpler, clearer and faster for them to buy what they need.

All public sector organisations, including agencies and arm’s length bodies, can use the Digital Marketplace to find and buy cloud-based services, specialists who can work on digital projects and physical data centre space.

New framework: Digital Outcomes and Specialists

In February 2016, the Government Digital Service (GDS) and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will replace Digital Services 2 (DS2) with Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS). All suppliers who are currently on the DS2 framework will need to apply to Digital Outcomes and Specialists. This new framework, which will sit alongside G-Cloud and Crown Hosting in the Digital Marketplace, will be broken down into 4 separate categories of service.

1. Digital outcomes

Suppliers who can provide teams to build and support a digital service can apply to this category. A digital outcome could be a discovery phase to create an information systems vision of an NHS department.

Digital outcomes suppliers must provide at least one of the following in relation to building digital services:

  • user experience and design
  • performance analysis and data
  • security
  • service delivery
  • service development
  • support and operations
  • testing and auditing
  • user research

2. Digital specialists

Suppliers who can provide individual specialists to work on a service, programme or project. A digital specialist’s work must have deliverables and a defined scope. A specialist in this category might be a delivery manager working on the transition of the replacement driving licence product from beta to live.

Digital specialists suppliers must provide at least one of the following roles:

  • agile coach
  • business analyst
  • content designer or copywriter
  • cyber security specialist
  • delivery manager or project manager
  • designer
  • developer
  • communications specialist
  • performance analyst
  • portfolio manager
  • product manager
  • programme delivery manager
  • security expert
  • service manager
  • technical architect
  • user researcher
  • web operations engineer

User research-related lots

All government digital services carry out user research to find out how their users are using, or will use, the service. Even after it’s live, each service undergoes usability testing so that the government body continuously receives feedback from its users and it can improve the service design. This is why the next 2 categories are aimed at suppliers who can offer user research-related services.

3. User research studios

User research studio suppliers must provide:

  • user research studio hire in the right location on specific dates
  • a comfortable, private and safe environment for participants, researchers and observers to work in
  • space to carry out interviews, usability tests and focus groups
  • facilities where it’s possible to watch and record people as they engage with designs, prototypes and live public sector services

4. User research participants

We also need suppliers who can recruit user research participants with a wide range of skills and experience. As the best user research is inclusive and representative, it should always consider diversity, people who are digitally excluded, as well as those who have low literacy or digital skills, and those who need assisted digital support.

User research participants suppliers should provide:

  • access to user research participants who best reflect the users of a service, eg a specific target user group such as people who have recently had a specific experience eg victims, witnesses or jurors

Suppliers who are able to supply any of the above services can apply to be on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework when applications open in December.

What evaluation looks like

The majority of supplier evaluation won’t be carried out at the application stage as it was with DS2. As each buyer has specific requirements, they’d prefer to evaluate suppliers themselves. As a result, under the new framework, most of the supplier evaluation will be done by buyers when suppliers respond to a brief for a specific piece of work. However, buyers may use the information that suppliers provide on their services in their application to help them evaluate.

There will not be a cap on the number of suppliers on the framework.

The benefits of being on Digital Outcomes and Specialists

The aim of the Digital Marketplace is to make the commissioning process simpler, clearer and faster. Buying and selling through the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework will:

  • reduce the time and cost traditionally associated with procurement
  • allow buyers and suppliers to talk to each other so they can decide whether there is a good fit
  • give more suppliers the opportunity to support digital transformation across the whole of the public sector

The ITT will be available before applications open

To help suppliers begin to prepare their application, we will publish the draft Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents this week. This will include the framework agreement, supplier declaration and the service description questions. Please note that both of these documents are subject to change. If anything does, we’ll communicate this when the application opens.

Application information and guidance

As with G-Cloud 7, suppliers will use a single system on the Digital Marketplace to apply. The Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework will be open for applications in December 2015. In the meantime, suppliers can create an account using the ‘create supplier account’ link in the main navigation on the Digital Marketplace homepage. Once you have an account, you’ll receive an email when Digital Outcomes and Specialists opens.

We’ll publish more details on how to apply in another blog post shortly, along with a timetable outlining expected dates.

Sign up to our blog for updates on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework and follow us on Twitter @GOVUKdigimkt


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  1. Comment by Matt posted on

    The blog says that ..."In the meantime, suppliers can create an account using the ‘create supplier account’ link in the main navigation on the Digital Marketplace homepage."...

    However, when you follow the link the "create supplier account" link is not available.

    Do we need to wait until the it opens?

  2. Comment by David Hunt posted on

    Caroline, you wrote that "To help suppliers begin to prepare their application, we will publish the draft Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents this week".

    I can't see anything on Digital Marketplace, is this my fault or if not please could you issue an update?


  3. Comment by Graham posted on

    We are a Software House that sells web-based systems to the NHS. We have only just heard about the G Cloud framework and wish to join it. There seems to be no option to do this. What is the process for applying to be part of the framework?

  4. Comment by Joe posted on

    Hello roughly when will the next Digital Outcomes and Specialists open? Is it every 6 Months

  5. Comment by Michael posted on


    I have been considering the use of the framework to resource a portfolio of work that is blended Waterfall and Agile, plus some traditional Programme office functions. Can the DoS framework support multi faceted work streams including Agile or purely Agile only?

  6. Comment by Matt posted on

    Could you please clarify if organisations are able to purchase proprietary cloud based software through this Framework?

    • Replies to Matt>

      Comment by nikivirdee posted on

      Hi Matt,

      You can purchase cloud based services from the G-Cloud framework. You can find these services under "Cloud technology and support" from the Digital Marketplace webpage.

  7. Comment by David posted on

    I'm told that the DOS portal is asking for privileged information with respect to security clearance / case reference numbers. It's my understanding that only 'X listed' suppliers are able to verify this information. However, I am aware that none 'X listed' suppliers are trying to solicit this information directly from candidates to complete the submission process and this may therefore pose a security risk. Please confirm the policy here and the rationale for allowing recruiters to submit candidates where they are not X listed. Also, can you confirm when the system will be complaint with NSV security policies with respect to the sharing of reference numbers (?)