Government promises to reform digital framework after it fails to reach sales target

The government is planning to make changes to the Digital Services framework (DSf) after it failed to hit sales targets with the first version.

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The government is planning to make changes to the Digital Services framework (DSf) after it failed to hit sales targets with the first version.

A team from the Government Digital Service (GDS) and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is currently reviewing how to improve DSf ahead of plans to tender for ‘DSf 2’ in November, GDS digital commercial director Tony Singleton said in a blog post on GOV.UK.

DSf launched in November 2013 with a goal of helping the public sector design, build and deliver digital services more easily by buying expertise such as service designers, delivery managers or agile software developers, through a single procurement framework.

However sales through DSf so far have been disappointing. Sales reached £11 million by August 2014, less than a third of the government’s target to have spent £40 million through DSf by then, as reported exclusively by ComputerworldUK last month.

Sales have increased by just £2.6 million since then, according to Singleton.

He said: “So far, 30 contracts have been awarded under DSf totalling £13.6 million (to date £2.3 million has been spent), of which 18 contracts were awarded to SMEs.”

Singleton admitted: “We know that there are areas which have needed more support and work.”

A second procurement round for DSf was due to start in May but has been delayed, partly as a result of the ‘difficult ongoing negotiations’ between GDS and CCS over its terms and conditions, according to a supplier listed on the framework.

Singleton said he wants the process of bringing in external digital expertise via DSf to be “as easy as buying from the G-Cloud framework”, which he praised as “a resounding success”.

G-Cloud has achieved sales of £314 million so far, 53 percent of which went to SMEs, he added.

GDS recently launched the ‘Digital Marketplace’ an online tech catalogue for the public sector initially comprising G-Cloud and DSf.

The website recently replaced the CloudStore as the place to buy G-Cloud services and the DSf catalogue is due to be added by the end of this year.

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