The Crown Commercial Service is creating a £50m procurement vehicle to allow the public sector to obtain support for citizens that have difficulty accessing digital services.
A newly published prior information notice reveals that the digital inclusion and support deal will focus on two types of service.
The first of these is “assisted digital” offerings. Such services will involve “providing support to anyone who cannot access government’s digital services independently, so that with assistance they can find helpful information and complete transactions for those services”.
The second area is “digital inclusion”, which relates to support services dedicated to helping “users to gain the basic digital skills so that they can access government’s digital services independently and go online to make the most of the internet”.
The framework – which will operate as a dynamic purchasing system – will allow buyers to filter providers by these two service areas, as well as by specific subject area, geographical location, and whether the firm in question has disclosure and barring service clearance.
The deal will run for a period of four years, and CCS expects to publish a contract notice in about three months’ time. The digital inclusion vehicle is intended to partially replace an existing commercial agreement – the digital training and support framework, which reaches the end of its four-year term on 23 April.
CCS said: “We want to design and deliver a dynamic purchasing system that… gives freedom and flexibility to service owners such as government bodies and local authorities to define their requirements as outcomes that meet their assisted digital and/or digital inclusion users’ needs, creates a competitive commercial environment in which all service providers have an equal opportunity to thrive, places the right value on service providers’ capabilities and remunerates them accordingly, supports and encourages innovation and continuous improvement in service delivery, supports and encourages strong collaboration across all sectors.”
As a dynamic purchasing system, the incoming deal – unlike its predecessor – allows for suppliers to be added over the lifespan of the contract, and for existing providers to add new services and products.