Tender launched for Digital Services 2

The government has fired the starting pistol on the replacement Digital Services framework, after extending the original iteration for six months.

The Crown Commercial Service has released the tender for the second iteration of the framework more than a year after the initial version – intended to last just nine months – was awarded.

With the closing date set for 22 January, firms are unlikely to be appointed to the updated roster until shortly before April, when the extended current term expires.

There are currently 175 suppliers listed on the framework, which aims to help the public sector buy, design, build and deliver digital services using an agile approach.

Tender documents published on Saturday said: “This procurement will provide access to digital services – building digital services requires a range of capabilities and roles.”

Again, it will be expected to last for nine months, and will give public sector bodies the chance to access software engineering and support, agile product design and delivery, front-end design, content design, editorial services, system administration and web operations, user research and agile embedding.

It also defines 18 senior and junior digital roles which can be provided through the framework.

The replacement framework was delayed because the CCS decided to include it in the scope of work on the new Digital Marketplace, which finally replaced the CloudStore platform in October.

When the original Digital Services Framework tender was published in July 2013, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said that it was part of his drive to open up government business to smaller suppliers.

He said: “To deliver the efficient and responsive public services that users demand, we must ensure that government has access to the most innovative and cost-effective digital solutions.

“Often, these services will be provided by smaller firms that in the past have been locked out of public sector business by complex and expensive pre-qualification requirements.”

Colin Marrs

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