The Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) framework launched in April 2016, replacing the Digital Services Framework (DSF). Both are attempts to make it easier to pay people to make new digital services for the public sector. The DSF was not very successful. DOS’s design is much better aligned with the way projects are delivered, and easier for buyers and suppliers to use. But, like any framework, it has its problems.
One that we have been frustrated by for a long time is the standard of the opportunities that are published on the Marketplace. Some are very clear, but many are not. Some are essentially incomprehensible to all but a handful of incumbent suppliers.
I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time, but I’ve been put off by the feeling that a lot of this is subjective; that some of these issues may be ones of style, rather than substance; that I might find some of them hard to understand because I lack domain-specific knowledge. So we’ve built a tool that we hope will provide some more objective answers.
Questions we hope to answer
Are the opportunities on the marketplace clearly described? Are their needs explained? Do they provide information about budgets and end users? Is there something to learn about how opportunities could be improved by looking at some statistics capturing the opinions of the people evaluating them?
To answer these questions, we’ve gathered the opportunities published in the last month, so we can present some information for users to vote on:
- text provided by buyers in opportunities on the marketplace
- a question to keep in mind
- some guidance from the framework.
The tool gathers people’s votes and uses it to generate some statistics about opportunities, which we’ll share as soon as we have enough data.
Hopefully, by making this information open and making it available to suppliers, CCS and GDS, we can make a useful contribution to the ongoing process of improving procurement for digital services. We hope it will give some clarity about what the common problems with opportunities are, and set the scene for a discussion on ways to solve them.
Ultimately, clearer opportunities will ensure there is a wider, more diverse pool of suppliers, which will provide greater value for money for the public sector, a better choice of suppliers and better services for users.
Have your say
If you’re involved in reading or writing bids for digital marketplace opportunities, we’d love you to get involved with the voting! Or, if you have any questions, please leave a comment here or pop us an email.
And finally, a plea: this will only work if enough people interested in making the Marketplace better spend some time voting. So, if you think this seems like a good idea, please do spend 10 minutes voting and share this post around so others can get involved.