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UK.gov delays Digital Services and Outcomes framework

Suppliers have been told they are on the list, but left to twiddle thumbs for two months

The government's replacement for the widely-criticised digital services framework, which SMEs have blamed for merely "body shopping" their services, has been delayed by two months.

In a letter sent to suppliers yesterday and seen by The Register, the Cabinet Office admitted the timescale has slipped for the newly-named Digital Services Outcomes framework.

"When the framework opened for applications, we estimated that users would be able to buy and sell Digital Outcomes and Specialists services on the Digital Marketplace at the end of February. We now expect this to be mid April," it said.

Applicants received an 'intention to award' notification last week, but have now entered a standstill period before the buying process can commence.

No explanation has been given in the letter or in the blog post by the Digital Marketplace today.

However, one supplier who asked not be named blamed the Digital Framework buying portal not being ready.

He said: "It seems to me the framework is ready from the Crown Commerical Services and they have met all their responsibilities – but now it's gone into standstill for two months." He added: "It's a platform issue."

Andy Budd, CEO at digital design firm Clearleft, previously complained that GDS was using the framework to weed out "the most experienced staff in favour of low-cost resources they can use to pad out their team."

Harry Metcalfe, MD at public sector focused web project biz DXW, has said of the framework's forthcoming refresh: “The change of name is not just cosmetic, they [GDS] are going about it in a different way, we are not just providing developers but trying to solve a problem [the government has].” ®

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