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How to avoid bias when evaluating suppliers

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Buyers, Digital Marketplace, Digital Outcomes and Specialists

When you buy services through the Digital Marketplace, you must award contracts to the supplier who best meets your needs. To find the most appropriate supplier you need to avoid bias and make sure your decision-making process is fair, open and transparent.

Unconscious bias

It’s common to form a view on things before knowing much about them. Anything you learn about a supplier could put you at risk of having an unconscious bias towards them and this could mean that you don’t find the right supplier for your project.

A good way to avoid bias when evaluating suppliers is to be aware of the common ways that people can be unconsciously biased and encourage people to talk about them. Examples include:

    • familiarity bias, eg if you’ve heard a supplier’s name before
    • similarity bias, eg whether a supplier talks and behaves in the same way as you

Read more examples in our draft guide How to buy Digital Marketplace services fairly.

Making opportunities more fair

We’re following Civil Service best practice. Sir Jeremy Heywood’s post Social mobility in the Civil Service says that in the last year, 110,000 civil servants have had unconscious bias training. This encourages diversity and inclusion and ensures decisions are made in a fair way. Other organisations are doing this too. Here’s an example of Google’s unconscious bias at work training.

Sharing draft guidance

Digital Outcomes and Specialists services will be available on the Digital Marketplace later this month and we’ve been writing guidance to help people buy and sell services. We shared a draft of our guidance on Asking supplier questions last week in our post Digital Outcomes and Specialists guidance.

Sharing and comments

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1 comment

  1. Comment by canary posted on

    Interestingly enough, you can't take into consideration the fact that a supplier has not been able to deliver in the past (hint: Capita).