Now that the application process for our new Digital Services Framework has opened, we thought it would be useful to say a bit more about what it is.
What’s a framework, you ask? It’s a list of suppliers who’ve been pre-approved to bid for government contracts. It means the public sector can reduce the time it would otherwise take to buy services under European Union procurement regulations.
We need this one because none of the existing frameworks specifically give us access to the deep pool of agile suppliers that we need to help us do what we need to digitally. We think it will attract a big range of suppliers, old and new. We’re looking for a wide geographical spread of expertise.
It’s also a good way to keep up quality. The Government Service Design Manual sets out our approach for how government will build services so good that people prefer to use them. Before joining the framework, we’ll ask suppliers to ensure that they recognise and meet the expectations set in the manual, and ask them for evidence. They’ll also be expected to support departments in building and running services that meet the Digital by Default Service Standard.
We’ve taken inspiration from agile contracts used elsewhere, and designed our initial set of terms and conditions to be relatively lightweight. They’re also standardised as much as possible between projects, leaving some detail to be completed based on the specific needs of a project.
As ever, we’ll seek and act on user feedback on all aspects of the framework and iterate for the second version.
Applications are now open and the next step for suppliers will depend on whether they’re already registered with GPS.
- Suppliers not registered with GPS will need to register to access the GPS eSourcing Suite
- Suppliers already registered with GPS should express their interest in this framework by e-mailing ExpressionOfInterest@gps.gsi.gov.uk detailing their organisation’s name and interest in the Digital Services Framework Reference RM1043
- Once GPS has registered your ‘expression of interest’ email, you will receive an email from GPS with instructions to log into the GPS eSourcing Suite. Once logged in you will need to accept the ‘invitation to tender’ which will give you access to the documentation you need to proceed.
Applications for the framework are expected to close on 7th August 2013 with the framework up and running during September. The full provisional timetable is:
9 July 2013: Publication of the OJEU contract notice and GPS eSourcing Suite open for supplier applications
25 July 2013: Clarification period closes
1 August 2013: Deadline for the publication of responses to Clarification questions
7 August 2013 at 15:00 hours: Deadline for submission of Tenders to the Authority (“Tender Submission Deadline”)
8 – 29 August 2013: Compliance checking and evaluation
2 September 2013 (PM): eAuction Training Sessions – Webinar
5 September 2013: eAuction for Pricing
12 September 2013: Intention to award notification issued to successful and unsuccessful Potential Providers.
13 – 23 September 2013: 10 day standstill (in accordance with Regulation 32)
24 September 2013: Expected “Commencement Date” for Framework Agreement(s)
You can also see the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice.
There has to be an element of price competition to be accepted as a supplier on the framework. The way we will do this is just a little bit too involved for this blog but interested suppliers will be able to read about the process in the OJEU notice.
We’ll continue to communicate with suppliers but please bear in mind that there are some regulatory obligations on how we do this, so questions about the framework or specific applications will need to go through the GPS eSourcing Suite.
We’ll write more about how we’ll be supporting departments to use the framework in a future blog.