All the updates on Technology Services 3
Recently, CCS held their latest update on the next big framework, Technology Services 3. Here's the details suppliers NEED to know.
Replacing its predecessor in Q2 of next year, TS3 aims to retain the scope and utility of TS2 but has seen somewhat of an overhaul, with new Lots, procedures, and quality thresholds. With this update, CCS have said that their mission was “the enrichment and simplification” of processes for public sector Buyers, and in turn to be the framework of choice for suppliers – all whilst continuing to represent the forefront of technological innovation in the public sector.
TS2 has run for 3 of its allotted 4 years now and is due to expire next September. It was launched as a way for government to procure ICT service design and delivery, with the lot structure designed around the IT service management lifecycle – from strategy, to implementation, to managed services.
It has been undoubtedly been a success for CCS, seeing £281.8m worth of business as of July 2020. Total orders currently amount to £401m. And this spend isn’t slowing down in the penultimate year of the framework. Year-to-date (July 2020), £89.4m has been spent, and £114.3 has been committed in orders. With SME’s representing just over half (52%) of the 145 suppliers on the framework, this is a significant potential revenue stream for smaller technology services teams and start-ups.
What’s new with Technology Services 3?
Nonetheless, CCS has been keen to improve on the framework in this latest iteration, building on TS2’s perceived strengths and responding to some concerns and suggestions raised by both buyers and suppliers. As such, in preparation for TS3, CCS have conducted extensive market outreach and engagement to gain feedback on what has worked well and what could do with a revamp.
Based on over 1,500 comments received from both Buyers and Suppliers in a series of forums and engagement sessions, the most significant changes the TS3 team have made can be grouped in to 2 categories: Lot structure and, perhaps most importantly for interested suppliers, quality control procedures
TS3 will have 5 lots, instead of the existing 4. These are:
- Lot 1 – Technology Strategy & Service Design
- Lot 2 – Transition and Transformation
- Lot 3 – Operational Services
- Lot 4 – Major Service Transformation Programmes
- Lot 5 – Service Integration and Management (SIAM)
- A new lot for SIAM, which emerged as a key element of market feedback.
- Lot 3 now facilitates the creation of new applications and supports ‘cradle to grave’ solutions
– This bypasses the previous need for 2 separate procurements from TS2 & DOS to cover certain solutions’ lifecycle.
- A slight re-organisation of Lot 4 and a removal of its ‘List X’ security credential requirements.
– This broadens the scope of potential Lot 4 procurements, allowing a wider range of opportunities to be made available.
– Security accreditation, where necessary, will now be dealt with at the call-off stage.
- Despite some misgivings about the lack of competition engendered, ‘Direct Award’ has been retained as a mode of buying for all lots bar Lot 4.
One of the most welcome (in terms of procurement quality) yet challenging (in terms of supplier success) changes TS3 will introduce is a raise in the quality score threshold from the current 55% to a whopping 75%.
An (optional) supplier shortlisting process has also been added, to aid buyers in evaluating tenders. This will utilise filtering categories to narrow down the field of interested suppliers, similar to the process used for DOS 4.
To top it all off, the weighting that a Buyer can put on price as a concern in evaluating bids has been capped at 25%.
TS3 looks to be a framework that is fundamentally about high-level services rather than the ‘cheapest-offer’ method we sometimes see in public procurement. We are likely to see more suppliers failing to get onto the framework, but hopefully it will result in more successful tenders and better services overall.
TS3 is set to go live on the 8th April 2021. But there’s work to do before then. The framework is due to open for applications on 26th October with the deadline set for 3rd December 2020. With the new quality threshold in place, combined with the amount of business the framework is expected to see, TS3 is likely to be a competitive environment, both initially and at the further competition stage.
Looking at the spend data from TS2 we can see that, whilst just over half of the suppliers on the framework are SME’s, just a quarter of the total spend is with SMEs.
This could indicate a number of things, but given the focus of TS3 on high quality, potentially costly and long-running service engagements, we would suggest that SME’s need to ensure they are presenting themselves as able to compete with the larger and more established companies and punch above their weight.
The first step is to make sure your initial submission is fully up to scratch!