CCS starts building first Crown Marketplace portals

Supply-teaching and facilities-management frameworks will be among first to be hosted on new web store, as procurement agency also looks to refresh underlying e-sourcing technology

Crown Commercial Service has kicked off the process of moving two frameworks – for supply teachers and facilities management – onto the nascent Crown Marketplace digital platform

CCS has published two contract notices on the Digital Marketplace seeking suppliers to develop web stores through which the public sector can procure facilities management and supply teaching services, respectively. 

The procurement agency’s existing facilities-management (FM) framework expires next year, and a contract notice for its £12bn replacement was published in January. The new contract looks set to be one of the first to be migrated to the Crown Marketplace – an Amazon-style online store through which the public sector will be able to procure a comprehensive range of goods and services. 

CCS is seeking a supplier to undertake a 12-week project to develop a portal through which buyers can use the Crown Marketplace to procure services from suppliers on the new facilities management deal. 

CCS said: “The Crown Commercial Service’s Crown Marketplace programme requires a supplier to develop a web-based FM marketplace beta for the wider public sector, which will enable a broad range of users with small or large requirements to obtain best value FM pricing from a range of suppliers.”

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The chosen supplier will work with a team of internal CCS staff, who are already engaged in a discovery phase in which prototypes are being created and submitted to testing. 

Bids are open until 7 June, with the chosen provider scheduled to begin work on 29 June. No estimated value is provided for the project at this stage.

Last month CCS also published a contract notice for a newly created £1bn framework for supply-teaching services. A supplier is now being sought to build an online platform that will permit education institutions to search by postcode and other specifications and, ultimately, hire supply teachers from agencies on the framework.

The project will take about 10 weeks and will be worth about £200,000 to the chosen developer, CCS said. 

It added: “This work is being conducted to provide the wider public sector with access to a digital service to allow user groups to easily hire supply teachers from an agency in their region a shortlist of suppliers who meet the buyer’s selection criteria.”

As new frameworks are created or existing vehicles replaced, more and more portals will be built into the Crown Marketplace. CCS indicated that “a number of new and replacement frameworks are due to go live in the coming months”.

When it is fully operational sometime next year, the Crown Marketplace will build upon and, ultimately, supersede the existing Digital Marketplace. Initially known as the CloudStore, the incumbent platform was launched as in 2012 to allow government buyers to procure services provided through the G-Cloud framework. The Crown Marketplace will build on this model and expand it across a comprehensive range of goods and services.

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Separately, CCS is also looking to update the underlying “eSourcing platform” through which it manages all procurement activity, and is seeking suppliers to bid for a place on a framework to replace its incumbent technology.

CCS has published a prior information outlining its intent to appoint suppliers across four lots covering online sourcing tools, e-auctions services, dynamic purchasing systems, and a fourth lot for suppliers that can provide all three of these in one end-to-end package. A contract notice for the £4m framework is due to go out on 13 July.

The services and tools covered by the framework will enable CCS to “manage the end-to-end process cycle, covering all stages of the tendering process from notice creation to award of contract, including the automated publication of all notices, expressions of interest, requests for information and request for quotes, the secure exchange of all tender documents, a secure messaging system”. 

The new eSourcing platform will, ultimately, be used by CCS to manage all procurement conducted through the Crown Marketplace.


Sam Trendall

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