Crown Marketplace to provide central shop for public sector buyers

Online procurement portal will help small businesses tap into £44bn public sector market, government says.

By Suzannah.Brecknell

02 Dec 2015

Government is to create a new online platform allowing departments to buy common goods and services, building on the model of the Digital Marketplace.

Plans to launch a Crown Marketplace were included in a HM Treasury and BIS policy paper on boosting competition, and reducing bills.

The new service will “make it easier for businesses to supply government with goods and services,” according to the paper. It will follow the model of the Digital Marketplace – an online platform which allows public sector organisations to buy cloud products and services through a centrally managed procurement framework.

This model will now be extended to include “other goods and services” in the Crown Marketplace, and the government hopes this will allow more businesses to start supplying the public sector. The marketplace will be rolled out on a category by category basis, until it covers all common goods and services which are suitable to be bought online.

The paper also says government will “develop market feedback systems on the quality of services provided and the quality of commissioning itself, to signal and drive the growth of the best providers.”

The Digital Marketplace was formally launched last November, although its predecessor CloudStore had been running since 2012. Since 2012 public sector organisations have spent £836m through the platform, almost half of that in the last year. SMEs received 50% of total sales by value  - 60% by volume.

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