Government outlines plans for Digital Marketplace expansion

Cabinet Office's Warren Smith wants service to become the first port of call for procurement

By Colin Marrs

23 Mar 2016

The Cabinet Office has announced plans to make its Digital Marketplace easier for other public sector bodies to use.

The Digital Marketplace currently provides access to two frameworks – G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists – and it designed to provide a single place for the public sector to access and buy IT commodities.

In a blog post this week, Warren Smith, procurement lead for Digital Marketplace at the Cabinet Office said that the intention was now to make the service the first port of call for procurement.

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He said: “We’ll work to make the Digital Marketplace scalable, reusable and shareable, in line with other cross-government platforms.

“We want public sector contracting organisations to be able to open and award their own frameworks on the Digital Marketplace.

“Until then, we’ll continue to deliver framework iterations for G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists.”

Officials will help build capability to help public sector buyers “become self-sufficient” in their use of the platform, Smith said.

In addition, improvements will see the Digital Marketplace “provide a full, end-to-end user journey that includes the ability to evaluate a shortlist, notify successful suppliers and generate and sign a contract digitally”.

Officials are currently working with suppliers and users to ensure the right technologies are in place to enable this process. New features could include providing new tools to enable suppliers to be able to monitor their own performance working with government.

“Built-in analytics will enable us and our suppliers to design with data, to continue iterating services in response to real-time user behaviour and user needs,” Smith said.

A new Digital Marketplace strategy is currently being prepared and will be published at the same time as the forthcoming Government Digital Strategy, which minister Ed Vaizey told MPs this week was drafted and ready to go, but was likely to be published after the European Referendum in June.

The Digital Marketplace currently hosts 2,967 suppliers, of which 91% are small and medium enterprises.

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