Ministers have said that that new Digital Services Framework is open to businesses of all sizes that can offer innovative digital services to the public sector. Small companies have been urged to bid for up to £40m worth of business designed to help the government shift public services online under its digital by default agenda.   This Framework will work alongside the G-Cloud framework and has been introduced to support the  government’s digital by default agenda, which aims to save £1.7 billion a year  after 2015.      

The framework is for a wide range of services such as software engineering and support, product development, service design, agile delivery management, web operations and front-end design. Roles that are to be supplied to the public sector through the framework will include developers, database specialists, security specialists, business analysts, web operations, agile coaches, network specialists and more. Suppliers will be expected to put the user at the centre of development, iterate against user feedback, produce working software and release it often in 2-3 week sprints, to work quickly, and the have all members of the team located in the same place.

Both the G-Cloud and the new Digital Services Framework represent efforts from the government to move away from a reliance on a small number of large suppliers for IT.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “To deliver the efficient and responsive public services that users demand, we must ensure that government has access to the most innovative and cost-effective digital solutions. Often, these services will be provided by smaller firms that in the past have been locked out of public sector business by complex and expensive pre-qualification requirements. The Digital Services Framework is an example of government procurement that is faster, simpler and easier to do business with”.

The Digital Services Framework  will work alongside the G-Cloud
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Given the recent announcement by the OFT that it intends to investigate the ICT market, this initiative to provide more access to opportunities under this Framework, is welcome news.

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