Digital Outcomes and Specialists: how we’re improving the shortlisting process

In the second part of our blog series on ‘Making Digital Outcomes and Specialists better for you’, we said that we’d talk more about how we’re improving the shortlisting process to make it simpler, clearer and faster.

We reviewed what users needed to be able to do based on feedback from buyers and suppliers.

We found that the main issues for buyers are:

  • asking suppliers for evidence of their skills and experience after the closing date for applications is making the process very long
  • the process of asking for evidence is manual and creates a large admin burden on the buying team
  • they want evidence up front so they can create a shortlist of suitable suppliers

The main issues for suppliers are:

  • wanting to provide more details at the application stage to differentiate themselves
  • they don’t want to provide lots of information in the early stages when the chances of them winning the work are low

Our current plan is to ask suppliers to provide evidence of their essential and nice-to-have skills and experience on the Digital Marketplace when they apply for an opportunity. This should:

  • ensure only serious suppliers apply
  • give buyers enough information to create a manageable shortlist up front
  • save buyers the effort of creating lots of spreadsheets to ask suppliers for evidence
  • reduce how long the buying journey takes by at least a week
  • ensure we’re not asking for too much information from suppliers

We’ve begun testing these changes with buyers and suppliers. Once we’ve found a usable first iteration, we’ll make these changes to the buying journey. We’ll continue to gather user feedback to help us improve the process.

Here's a demo of what we're testing with suppliers:

We’d love your feedback on these changes. Send us your comments.

Transcript of video

The supplier visits the Digital Marketplace homepage and clicks on the link to ‘view Digital Outcomes and Specialists opportunities’. They find an opportunity they’re interested in and click it to view more details. This opportunity is for a specialist role of Delivery Manager at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Then they scroll down the page to view the details of the opportunity. At the bottom of the page, the supplier decides to apply and clicks on the ‘Apply’ button.

The supplier is taken to a page showing an overview of what they need to do to apply for the opportunity. They click on the ‘copy skills and experience’ button and go to a spreadsheet where they paste the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience into a new document to write with their specialist.

Once the supplier is ready to apply for the opportunity, they return to the overview of the application page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘start application’ button.

On the next page, the supplier is asked to enter the earliest date the specialist can start work. They are told that the buyer needs someone to start by 1 October 2016. When they have entered a date, they click ‘continue’.

The supplier is then asked how much the specialist will cost per day. If the buyer has said what their maximum budget is, then the supplier is told this. For this role, the maximum budget is £300 per day. The supplier enters the day rate for the specialist and clicks ‘continue’.

On the next page the supplier is asked whether the specialist has all the essential skills and experience required for the role. They can choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The supplier clicks ‘yes’ and then ‘continue’.

The next page asks the supplier to give evidence of the essential skills and experience required for the role. Evidence for each skill or experience must be given in a separate box. They can write up to 100 words. Once the supplier has provided evidence for every essential skill and experience, they click on ‘continue’.

On the next page, the supplier is asked to say whether they have any of the nice-to-have skills or experience. They must answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ individually for each skill or experience. If they select ‘yes’, they are shown a box asking them to provide evidence that they have this skill or experience in no more than 100 words. Once the supplier has answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to every question and provided evidence for all the skills or experiences that they have, then they click on ‘continue’.

The next page asks the supplier to provide an email address for the buyer to use to contact them. The final step is to click on the ‘submit application’ button.

Once a supplier has submitted their application, they are shown a page which tells them:

  • their application has been submitted
  • what happens next
  • how they responded to each question




  1. Ian Van Eetvelt

    I followed the link to provide feedback but don't have permission to use the form even thought I've signed in to Google. Can you help resolve this please.

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    • nikivirdee

      Hi Ian,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention, the form can now be accessed.

      Link to this comment
  2. Stephen

    When approximately are these changes expected to go live?

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    • nikivirdee

      Hi Stephen,

      Thank you for your question. These changes are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

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      • Stephen

        Thanks, the sooner the better!

        Is there somewhere that explains what other improvements will be getting released and when?

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