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Local Government Digital Service Standard - TeaCamp #3: Digital Marketplace

Graeme McCubbin, July 5, 2017

As a network for digital practitioners in local government, LocalGov Digital is on a mission to raise standards in web provision and the use of digital by councils across the country.

The London Peer Group is aiming to focus on raising awareness of the Service Standard across the individual 32 boroughs of London, through a series of TeaCamps. LoGov Platform is supporting the London Peer Group by providing support and sponsorship.

LGDSS TeaCamp 3-1

It’s 4pm and we’re downstairs in the Draft House. Looking around… There’s tea, there’s cake and there’s peers from local government. This can mean only one thing. It’s the next LocalGov Digital London Peer Group LGDSS TeaCamp. Hurrah!

With welcomes and introductions by Natalie Taylor of City Hall, we’re now heading into the main topic of this TeaCamp session (and why we’re all here today): the Digital Marketplace.

TeaCamp - Natalie Taylor

For this TeaCamp installment, we’re joined by Tobi Ogunsina, Product Manager at GDS, and her colleague, a User Experience Researcher at GDS. They’re (very kindly) here to guide us through all there is to know about the Digital Marketplace. And we’re all very excited.

TeaCamp - Tobi Ogunsina

So, to begin, what is the Digital Marketplace?

The Digital Marketplace is transforming the way in which the public sector are procuring and buying digital, helping them to be able to buy what they need to deliver great digital services, whether this is technology or people.

Before the introduction of the Digital Marketplace, there were an abundance of issues. The public sector were:

  • Spending a huge amount of money on big technology solutions
  • Being locked into long and lengthy contacts, with little-to-no flexibility around changing or adapting these along the way
  • Often awarding contracts to a tiny group of huge, well-known suppliers
  • Not always sure of what it was buying...

This was a problem. The public sector needed solutions which were:

  • Fast-paced and more flexible
  • Adaptable to change
  • Easier and faster to buy
  • Value for money

How do you make procurement work for you? You adapt it to your needs. Addressing these problems, the introduction of Digital Marketplace has:

  • Opened the door to a much broader range of supplies, making it easier for SMEs to apply to work with the public sector, encouraging much more competitive pricing for buyers
  • Cut down these long and lengthy contracts
  • Made it easier for subject experts to buy without needing a deep knowledge of procurement - the buying process is much simpler, where a supplier can submit what services they can provide and a buyer can then pick from a full list
  • Helped keep things fair and open by working towards preventing fraud, waste and corruption

2009 vs. today

Back in 2009, just a handful of suppliers dominated the market for digital government services. Today, thanks to close collaboration with Crown Commercial Service, over 91% of all suppliers on the Digital Marketplace are now SMEs, making up a total of 3,000+ suppliers.

The three frameworks

The Digital Marketplace frameworks are a shared set of terms and conditions between public sector buyers and private sector suppliers, defining:

  • What is being purchased
  • Who the seller is
  • How the buying process works

Each supplier applies to sell their services through a framework around every nine months. This allows for new suppliers to join the framework at regular intervals, not just securing one list of suppliers over a long period of time.

With a total of three framework on the Digital Marketplace, each has a different purpose:

Framework #1: Crown Hosting

This is for datacentre hosting services. If, for any reason, your service cannot go onto the cloud, this is where it goes.

Framework #2: G-Cloud

This is the most popular framework and is for cloud services: hosting, software and support. Buyers compare the services that are on offer from each supplier, then award a contract to the single supplier which provides the service that best meets their needs and requirements.

Digital Marketplace G-Cloud

G-Cloud buying process

Framework #3: Digital Outcomes and Specialists

This is the second most popular framework, allowing for buyers to find people, teams and specialists to work on digital services, programmes or projects with defined scopes and deliverables.

Presently, there are:

  • 608 unique organisations using the Digital Marketplace
  • 2,061 suppliers on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework
  • 2,848 suppliers on the G-Cloud framework
  • 1,119 Digital Outcomes and Specialists briefs/opportunities published

TeaCamp 3 - Speaker 1

The total current spend of Digital Marketplace sales is approximately £2billion, with 77% of total sales (by value) through Central Government and 23% through the wider public sector.

Sharing a full exploration into the Digital Marketplace, Tobi and her colleague conclude their session with an all-important demo of how this all works, from a buyer’s perspective. Wrapping up the session is a shared link to the Digital Marketplace blog, more about user research for the Digital Marketplace and an opportunity for questions and discussion across the room.

There’s a short break in the LGDSS TeaCamp series across the summer, with the next session taking place on Thursday 7th September (don’t forget to add it to your calendar). TeaCamp #4 will be focusing KPIs and metrics.

In the meantime, see more on the steps Newham Council are taking to improve residential access and support to their homelessness services, via our recent case study with the Local Government Association.