Comment

01.03.17

Digital Marketplace: reaching far and wide in the public sector

Source: PSE Feb/Mar 17

Over the next few months, the Government Digital Service (GDS) wants to get a better understanding of how local government and the wider public sector are transforming their services in order to provide the right support at the right time. PSE’s Luana Salles reports.

More than 36,000 public sector organisations currently use the GDS Digital Marketplace to procure cloud-based services, physical data centre space and specialists to work in digital projects. These organisations – which include councils, devolved administrations, NHS bodies, universities, police and fire and rescue services – currently contribute around 23% of the spend that goes through the Digital Marketplace. 

While this may seem low, Gemma Phelan,  local and wider public sector engagement lead at GDS, argues context is important. “GDS is creating links between authoritative, trusted lists or ‘registers’, which includes public sector organisations such as local authorities and schools in England, and companies who can supply the public sector,” she wrote for the GDS blog. “In addition to the Open Contracting Data Standard, this will be a major step towards improving the data quality of who’s buying what from where. 

“When we have this, we can map it against who’s using the Digital Marketplace to see where we need to offer more support. We want the benefits of using the Digital Marketplace to be felt as widely as possible over the public sector.” 

Although much work has been put into expanding the diversity of the Marketplace’s 3,300-strong supplier base – more than 90% are SMEs and 72% are based outside the capital – the GDS said progress is still ongoing to improve the buying process for public organisations. 

“Currently, there’s no real uniformity in the way digital services are delivered at a local level. Councils and other government organisations routinely buy the same products and services independently, to achieve the same outcomes,” explained Phelan. 

“The recent Local Government Digital Service Standard suggests a ‘common approach for local authorities to deliver good quality, user-centred, value-for-money digital services’. The Digital Marketplace is an open and transparent way to buy products and capability collectively and in line with this standard. We want to find out more about how buyers want to collaborate and buy better together or reuse and learn from one another.” 

While methods are being implemented, such as applying user-centred principles to the design of procurement and contracts, the ultimate aim is to “grow and improve” the Digital Marketplace so that it becomes the preferred buying route for all public sector organisations. 

In order to do this, GDS wants to understand the “unique challenges” local government faces when using the Marketplace so that these barriers can be overcome. Lessons will be fed back into the design and development of the service wherever possible. 

In the next few months, the organisation will seek to find out what technology and digital services local authorities and the rest of the sector are buying or need; speak to organisations directly to identify and address barriers to using the service; and then create a plan catered to local and national public bodies across the UK. 

Asked how it will reach out to these organisations – whether it will be one-to-one, in workshops or even through online surveys – Phelan said the GDS is still “currently looking into the best ways” to work with the sector. 

But the ambition is already clear: by engaging directly with public procurement bosses, the government intends to strengthen collaborative working to keep spurring jobs and boosting local economies. It cited, for example, Derby City Council’s decision last year to use the Marketplace in order to move IT services to the cloud, which has significantly reduced its ICT spend.

For more information

W: www.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Authority slapped with £70,000 fine for data protection mishap

18/08/2017Authority slapped with £70,000 fine for data protection mishap

A London council has been slapped with a £70,000 fine after it failed to keep up to 89,000 people’s information secure on its parking... more >
Councils call for ‘lighter touch’ to public procurement after Brexit

18/08/2017Councils call for ‘lighter touch’ to public procurement after Brexit

Councils have called for a more efficient “lighter touch” system for procurement after the UK leaves the European Union. In a st... more >
Union ‘hails victory’ as Birmingham bin strike called off

17/08/2017Union ‘hails victory’ as Birmingham bin strike called off

Unite has “hailed victory” in its dispute with Birmingham City Council over refuse worker jobs being cut, and has suspended its curre... more >
149x260 PSE Subscribe button

the raven's daily blog

Delivering social value in public sector procurement

07/08/2017Delivering social value in public sector procurement

Theresa Grant, CEO of Trafford Council, explains how local authorities in the Greater Manchester area are making every penny of public spend provide that little bit more value for money. ‘Prisoners in Forest Bank Prison in Salford are being given the opportunity to gain an NVQ qualification thanks to a local government contract.’&... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Business, tells PSE’s Luana Salles that health and social care orga... more >
HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital’s project, the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and what b... more >
Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides ... read more >

public sector focus

Open the doors of this Powerhouse and let the people in

16/08/2017Open the doors of this Powerhouse and let the people in

PSE’s Luana Salles reports from the fir... more >
Breaking down silos at Health+Care

16/08/2017Breaking down silos at Health+Care

PSE’s Luana Salles and Josh Mines repor... more >