Digital Marketplace in 2021 and beyond
What next for the Digital Marketplace? We're expecting some big changes as we cross over into 2022.
This year has seen a raft of changes across the procurement landscape. From new PPNs that change buyer (and supplier) process, to Social Value demands for public services. Arguably we’re in a new era for public sector purchasing! One of the governments flagship routes to procurement, the Digital Marketplace, doesn’t escape these recent changes.
With 2021 now approaching its end, we wanted to take a look at proposed changes to the Digital Marketplace and what we see happening in 2021.
What is the Digital Marketplace like at the moment?
As we said, the online portal is one of the the UK governments main ways of purchasing digital and technology products and services. Holding marketplaces for Digital Outcomes & Specialists (DOS), G-Cloud, Research Studios and Participants, and Data Centre Space. So, public sector buyers flock to these frameworks to purchase these solutions.
And we’re not really exaggerating! In its lifetime, G-Cloud has amassed over £9.4bn in contracts, and Digital Outcomes and Specialists has also recently just passed the £3.3bn mark. That’s a lot of business.
G-Cloud is currently successful because of its catalogue style and fact that buyers can Direct Award. This means that if a single supplier appears in the search results (all done compliantly, of course) then they can be awarded the contract if they fit. Without the need for further evaluation.
Digital Outcomes & Specialists works a bit differently and follows a more structure bidding process for suppliers. This is because the projects tend to be longer and bigger services, rather than off-the-shelf products. HOWEVER, due to the recent Covid pandemic, the Uk government have noticed that procuring more quickly – whilst keeping compliance and finding the best supplier – is becoming more needed.
This has brought about some changes to the way the Digital Marketplace will work.
The Digital Marketplace and DOS
DOS takes prime position on the Digital Marketplace. Buyers can post opportunities for all four Lots (Digital Outcomes, Digital Specialists, Research Studios, Research Participants) for suppliers to see. With suppliers listed on the framework then being able to bid. It’s worked well so far, with 33% of the overall monetary value going to SMEs. This just about meets central government and Crown Commercial Service targets.
As mentioned before, since the pandemic started, the UK public sector has looked to procure faster. This is down to being able to adapt and change quicker and make sure public services are fit for purpose. Crown Commercial Service took the big decision to adjust the next iteration of Digital Outcomes & Specialists to meet this expectation.
Digital Specialists & Programmes will be a brand new framework, removed from the Digital Marketplace. This means, buyers will no longer post opportunities for Specialist roles via the portal, and suppliers wont be able to bid for these tenders from DOS6 (or DO6 as it will be known!).
That’s a big change, and leaves Digital Outcomes as the main focus, alongside G-Cloud.
Where will G-Cloud 13 sit?
We expect G-Cloud to stay put on the Digital Marketplace. It’s been an incredible success so far for CCS and for government. Now, that’s not to say we don’t expect to see a few changes pop up for this next iteration – introducing Social Value criteria, for a start – but we’ll still have our G-Cloud.
In fact, applications for G-Cloud 13 are due to arrive in February 2022, around a similar time when Digital Outcomes 6 and Digital Specialists & Programmes go Live. So, Crown Commercial Service may make a few changes to the way it works for supplier and buyers. We’ll have to wait and see. You can keep up-to-date with everything we know about G-Cloud 13 here.