Government figures reveal that 48% of revenue has gone to smaller firms
Spending through the government’s Digital Marketplace has topped £3bn, with a greater percentage than ever going to SME suppliers.
According to newly published government figures, from its launch in 2014 up until the end of last year, the platform has facilitated £2.85bn of sales through the various iterations of the G-Cloud framework, as well as almost £205m from the Digital Outcomes and Specialists vehicles, and about £164m from their predecessors: Digital Services; and Digital Services 2.
A total of 48% of revenue – equating to £1.44 out of every £3 – has been handed to SMEs. When spending data was published in August, those figures were 46.3%, or £1.39 in each £3.
Digital Marketplace director Warren Smith said: “We’ve started to bring the tools, techniques, technologies, and culture of the internet to public procurement and contracting. What we’ve achieved so far is testament to an amazing team and the importance of user-centred, design-led, data-driven and open approaches, but we’ve only scratched the surface. The next three years, to 2020, will see a step-change where these approaches are mainstreamed across government.”
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It is understood that the Digital Marketplace is being used as the blueprint for the Crown Marketplace, an online platform currently being developed by the Crown Commercial Service and the Government Digital Service, that will allow the public sector to procure a comprehensive range of goods and services. Although there have been some mixed messages on whether both marketplaces will ultimately co-exist, Niall Quinn, director, technology strategic category director at CCS, recently told PublicTechnology that “I do not think two marketplaces is sensible – we need one marketplace for the future”. The Crown Marketplace is currently expected to launch in the early part of 2019.
In a statement accompanying the new spending figures, Quinn said: “In the three years since Digital Marketplace was launched, we have overhauled the public-sector procurement landscape, harnessing the expertise of innovative companies and giving thousands of SMEs the opportunity to supply to government for the first time. We’re now planning the next steps of our journey, making the platform and processes more commercial, more flexible and better tailored to the needs of users – both buyers and suppliers.”
The Digital Marketplace attracted in excess of a million visits in 2017 – equivalent to the cumulative total for both 2016 and 2017. In 2016/17 frameworks available through the platform contributed towards CCS delivering £725 million in savings including commercial benefits for taxpayers, the government claimed.