Procurement body cancels tender for development of existing broad test platform but reaffirms commitment to ‘original vision’ for Amazon-style online tool
The Crown Commercial Service has stressed that it remains committed to delivering the Crown Marketplace in line with its “original vision” – despite having withdrawn a tender related to the development of the existing test platform.
A report last week from publication Spend Matters revealed that CCS has cancelled a tender exercise related “to the Crown Marketplace development phase”.
It is understood that this tender, issued through the G-Cloud 9 framework, related to replacing the overarching test platform on which CCS has been building the Crown Marketplace for the last year. The tender was designed to provide CCS with a similarly broad replacement platform, with some additional functionality and features compared with the test version.
But this approach has been now been ditched, in favour of a model in which purchasing platforms for specific frameworks or sectors will, effectively, be built as individual marketplaces. Two such examples are the supply-teaching and facilities-management purchasing portals for which CCS recently issued contract notices seeking suppliers that could build the two marketplaces.
- CCS tech chief: ‘We need one marketplace for the future’
- No longer a ‘framework factory’ – inside CCS tech chief’s plans to progress the procurement paradigm
- CCS chief executive Harrison to leave Whitehall
A total of 10 such specialist platforms will be developed over the coming weeks, as part of the next phase of the Crown Marketplace programme. These will include online procurement services in the travel and utilities sectors.
In bidding for the facilities management marketplace project, CCS instructed suppliers that “this is an independent development, which will integrate with Crown Marketplace at a later stage”.
Despite the change of tack, CCS said its initial vision of what the programme should ultimately deliver remains the same.
A spokesperson said: “With the test phase of our Crown Marketplace programme now complete, we have taken some important decisions to clarify the scope and focus of the programme. We are sure that the original vision set out for Crown Marketplace is the right one, and this financial year we will be investing more than ever before. We will now be focusing on a travel solution, utilities switching service, and a facilities management service – just a few of around ten digital services designed to deliver excellent user experiences for our customers.”
The Crown Marketplace was conceived of as an “Amazonesque” online platform through which government buyers could shop for a comprehensive range of goods and services. It builds upon the existing Digital Marketplace, through which the public sector can buy IT goods and services from suppliers on the G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists frameworks.
In tendering for the creation of the supply teaching portal, CCS told suppliers that the construction process would “reuse Digital Marketplace code so far as is possible”.