Supporting local government and the wider public sector

There are over 36,000 public sector buying organisations that can use the Digital Marketplace, including local authorities, district councils, devolved administrations, agencies and arm's length bodies like the NHS, universities and the police and fire rescue services.

All public sector organisations can use the Digital Marketplace to find and buy cloud-based services, physical data centre space and teams and specialists (developers, designers, user researchers etc.) who can work on digital projects.

Who’s buying what from where

At the moment, local government and the wider public sector contribute around 23% of the spend that goes through the Digital Marketplace. This seems low, but the figure is not very meaningful without context.

GDS is creating links between authoritative, trusted lists or ‘registers’, which includes public sector organisations such as local authorities and schools in England, and companies who can supply the public sector. In addition to the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), this will be a major step towards improving the data quality of who’s buying what from where.

When we have this, we can map it against who’s using the Digital Marketplace to see where we need to offer more support. We want the benefits of using the Digital Marketplace to be felt as widely as possible over the public sector.

Access the right technology and innovation

Local government and wider public sector organisations are at the front-line of public service delivery. It’s important they have access to the right technology and digital capability to enable them to build great digital services for citizens.

Councils across the country are exploring ways to use technology and data, to create more efficient and effective ‘smart’ cities, that better meet the needs of the people who live there.

Organisations need to be able to quickly bring in the right technology and capability to build and integrate these new systems. We want to find out how the Digital Marketplace can better support councils who are buying, integrating and supporting these new technologies.

Grow local workforces

We’ve worked hard to increase the diversity of the supplier base on the Digital Marketplace. Buyers can now find suppliers of all sizes, available to work in a range of places. 91% of suppliers on the Digital Marketplace are SMEs and 72% are located outside of London.

Suppliers across the country have seen large increases in their turnover and workforce as new jobs have been created locally as a direct result of the sales they have made through the Digital Marketplace. Buying from suppliers on the Digital Marketplace creates new jobs and boosts the local economy.

Save time and money

Derby Council has recently used the Digital Marketplace to move IT services to the cloud which has significantly reduced their ICT spend.

Nick O’Reilly, Director of Digital Services, Derby City Council commented:

risual [a cloud services supplier based in Stafford] worked hard to deliver the migration with minimum impact on the day to day business activities and were committed to overcoming obstacles outside of their control. The results have helped achieve the targeted budget savings and are delivering the increased agility, scalability and flexibility required. A win-win result!

The Digital Marketplace is faster and easier to use, which results in a shorter procurement time. Buyers don’t need to carry out lengthy procurements as the frameworks on the Digital Marketplace are fully compliant with procurement regulations.

In the future, we’ll provide a full, end-to-end user journey that includes the ability to evaluate a shortlist, notify successful suppliers and generate and sign a contract digitally. This will significantly reduce the time it takes to commission services for all government buyers.

Collaborate and share services

Currently, there’s no real uniformity in the way digital services are delivered at a local level. Councils and other government organisations routinely buy the same products and services independently, to achieve the same outcomes.

The recent Local Government Digital Service Standard, ‘suggests a common approach for local authorities to deliver good quality, user-centred, value for money digital services.’

The Digital Marketplace is an open and transparent way to buy products and capability collectively and in line with this standard. We want to find out more about how buyers want to collaborate and buy better together or reuse and learn from one another.

One place to go to buy what you need

The Digital Marketplace gives government buyers access to over 3,300 suppliers across the UK. With every framework iteration, we’re expanding the range of digital and technology products and services available in the Digital Marketplace.

We’re continually improving the buying process for all public sector organisations, by applying user-centred principles to the design of procurements and contracts.

Our aim is to grow and improve the Digital Marketplace so it's the preferred buying route for all public sector organisations who want to design and build great user-focused services.

Over the next few months

We want to get a better understanding of how local government and the wider public sector are transforming so we can offer the right support, at the right time.

We want to understand the unique challenges they face when using the Digital Marketplace so we can work together to overcome these. We’ll be feeding these back into the design and development of the Digital Marketplace where we can. Over the next couple of months we want to:

  • Find out what technology and digital services local government and the wider public sector are buying and need
  • speak to organisations to identify and address the unique barriers to using the Digital Marketplace
  • create a plan to support local and wider public sector organisations across the UK

We want to work with local government and wider public sector organisations to build the marketplace they need. We’ll be blogging regularly about this work. Subscribe to the Digital Marketplace blog to keep updated.

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Mark Say posted on

    Wondering how you're going to reach out to local government and others. One-to-one contact? Workshops? Online surveys? Are you approaching other organisations already?

    • Replies to Mark Say>

      Comment by Gemma Phelan posted on

      Hi Mark,

      We're currently looking into the best ways to work with local government and the wider public sector. We'll update you on our progress here.