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Digital Services Framework

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital strategy, GDS team, Technology

Now that the application process for our new Digital Services Framework has opened, we thought it would be useful to say a bit more about what it is.

What's a framework, you ask? It’s a list of suppliers who’ve been pre-approved to bid for government contracts. It means the public sector can reduce the time it would otherwise take to buy services under European Union procurement regulations.

This particular framework has been put together jointly by  Government Procurement Service (GPS) and the Government Digital Service (GDS) specifically to support the Government’s Digital Strategy.

We need this one because none of the existing frameworks specifically give us access to the deep pool of agile suppliers that we need to help us do what we need to digitally. We think it will attract a big range of suppliers, old and new. We’re looking for a wide geographical spread of expertise.

It’s also a good way to keep up quality. The Government Service Design Manual sets out our approach for how government will build services so good that people prefer to use them. Before joining the framework, we'll ask suppliers to ensure that they recognise and meet the expectations set in the manual, and ask them for evidence. They’ll also be expected to support departments in building and running services that meet the Digital by Default Service Standard.

We’ve taken inspiration from agile contracts used elsewhere, and designed our initial set of terms and conditions to be relatively lightweight. They’re also standardised as much as possible between projects, leaving some detail to be completed based on the specific needs of a project.

As ever, we’ll seek and act on user feedback on all aspects of the framework and iterate for the second version.

Next steps

Applications are now open and the next step for suppliers will depend on whether they’re already registered with GPS.

  • Suppliers not registered with GPS will need to register to access the GPS eSourcing Suite
  • Suppliers already registered with GPS should express their interest in this framework by e-mailing detailing their organisation’s name and interest in the Digital Services Framework Reference RM1043
  • Once GPS has registered your ‘expression of interest’ email, you will receive an email from GPS with instructions to log into the GPS eSourcing Suite.  Once logged in you will need to accept the ‘invitation to tender’ which will give you access to the documentation you need to proceed.

Applications for the framework are expected to close on 7th August 2013 with the framework up and running during September.  The full provisional timetable is:

9 July 2013: Publication of the OJEU contract notice and GPS eSourcing Suite open for supplier applications

25 July 2013: Clarification period closes

1 August 2013: Deadline for the publication of responses to Clarification questions

7 August 2013 at 15:00 hours: Deadline for submission of Tenders to the Authority (“Tender Submission Deadline”)

8 – 29 August 2013: Compliance checking and evaluation

2 September 2013 (PM): eAuction Training Sessions - Webinar

5 September 2013: eAuction for Pricing

12 September 2013: Intention to award notification issued to successful and unsuccessful Potential Providers.

13 - 23 September 2013: 10 day standstill (in accordance with Regulation 32)

24  September 2013: Expected “Commencement Date” for Framework Agreement(s)

You can also see the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice.

There has to be an element of price competition to be accepted as a supplier on the framework. The way we will do this is just a little bit too involved for this blog but interested suppliers will be able to read about the process in the OJEU notice.

We’ll continue to communicate with suppliers but please bear in mind that there are some regulatory obligations on how we do this, so questions about the framework or specific applications will need to go through the GPS eSourcing Suite.

We’ll write more about how we’ll be supporting departments to use the framework in a future blog.

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  1. Comment by James posted on

    Assuming that the boat has been missed for applications covered by this blog posting; can anyone indicate when the next refresh might occur for new companies to apply? Ie. does anyone know when the next Digital Services Framework refresh might be?

  2. Comment by Simon posted on

    It's now 16 October. The expected launch date was 24 September. Is this framework live yet? If so, where can I find details of it? Every search I do just returns articles like this, from July, saying that it is going to happen. Is there a delay, or have I just missed something? Please advise. Thanks.

    • Replies to Simon>

      Comment by Warren Smith posted on

      No, the Digital Services framework is not yet live. We had an excellent response to the OJEU contract notice, and received far more applications than we were anticipating. As a result, we had to extend the technical assessment phase. We will announce details of where to find the framework as soon as it goes live early November.

  3. Comment by Harriet Hungerford posted on

    Will there be another opportunity for suppliers to apply to join the Digital Services Framework? Many thanks.

    • Replies to Harriet Hungerford>

      Comment by Warren Smith posted on

      Yes, the Digital Services framework will be refreshed periodically (e.g. every 6-9 months). Prior to the formal procurement process commencing for each refresh, we'll aim to conduct a series of supply market engagement events to share our thinking and gather feedback regarding the current iteration, to inform our thinking for the up-coming iteration.

  4. Comment by G-Cloud 4 LaunchG-Cloud posted on

    […] provides access to commodity, cloud-based services. The Digital Services framework will allow government customers to commission bespoke digital services via Government Digital […]

  5. Comment by G-Cloud: ready for the next phase - G-CloudG-Cloud posted on

    […] clarity on the differences and overlaps of G-Cloud and the Digital Services Framework with clear guidance for buyers and suppliers, ensuring there’s no duplication of […]

  6. Comment by Exciting Opportunity for Microsoft Partners to respond to the UK Government’s Digital Service Framework and become a supplier of Agile Development Services - Microsoft UK Government Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs posted on

    […] would like to draw your attention to the announcement of the UK Government’s new Digital Services Framework which has been put together jointly by  Government Procurement Service (GPS) and the […]

  7. Comment by WhatUsersDo posted on

    Will part of your work be looking at the user experience on the GPS portal?

    • Replies to WhatUsersDo>

      Comment by louishyde posted on

      Thanks for the question. The scope of the Digital Services framework does not cover the user experience on the GPS portal but we are of course happy to take any feedback. Louis

  8. Comment by Julie Brett posted on

    Where might departments find a copy of the prospectus issued to the supplier market?

    • Replies to Julie Brett>

      Comment by louishyde posted on

      Thanks for the question Julie. The prospectus and indeed all of the documents relating to the Digital Services framework are available to download from the GPS web site. Please note, however, that the tender documents there may be superseded by updated versions following questions raised by suppliers. The latest versions of the documents can always be found in the GPS eSourcing Suite.

  9. Comment by Steve Cliff posted on

    Can you please explain why this framework is needed if G-Cloud can cover ?
    or please identify the gaps that G-Cloud doesn't cover.
    Thank you

    • Replies to Steve Cliff>

      Comment by louishyde posted on

      Hi Steve, thanks for the question. G-Cloud provides access to commodity, Cloud-based services. The Digital Services framework will provide capability to commission bespoke digital project build services.

      • Replies to louishyde>

        Comment by Benjamin Rusholme (@benrusholme) posted on

        Can you provide examples? I use cloud services everyday from the likes of Google so I think I have an idea of what G-Cloud offers. Is this framework for government departments that don't have the skills themselves to design websites or apps?

  10. Comment by Digital Services Framework – Government Digital Service | Public Sector Blogs posted on

    […] Original source – Government Digital Service […]