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The Digital Marketplace vision: part 4

In my last blog post about the Digital Marketplace vision, I wrote about how we’re enabling end-to-end buying that’s as frictionless for users as possible.

This time, I’m going to talk about the importance of cooperation and collaboration for the people who are transforming government services and the departments from which they’re delivered. And, I’ll explain how we’re extending this ethos to include government’s digital and technology suppliers.

Transforming the relationship between suppliers and the state

From the start, cooperation and collaboration have been at the heart of everything we do at the Government Digital Service (GDS). These aren't just values we aspire to - we do them instinctively.

These two principles are critical for the structural transformation needed to deliver better public services. It's something that leaders from across government are well aware of, and are helping to foster.

Here’s what we’re doing to help make successful government-wide collaboration a reality.

A new standard for digital and technology suppliers

In September, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Ben Gummer, launched the new Supplier Standard. It's a set of six principles outlining how the government and suppliers should work together. The Standard is open forpublic consultation until December.

As part of the consultation, we’re asking for views on how the government and suppliers can work together to provide user-centred digital services. Please do get involved by providing feedback while this consultation is open.

This is just the starting point though. We want more open relationships with digital and technology suppliers to government, where we’re encouraging and supporting:

  • collaborative and constructive behaviours
  • more flexible, digital, agile and transparent interactions
  • a focus on joint delivery

Openness builds trust, confidence and markets

In a recent blog post, Mike Pitts, Head of Urban Systems at Innovate UK, writes about the importance of trust for innovation. I found his ideas very inspiring. As Pitts explains, trust is vital for the adoption of new ideas, and openness and transparency are vital for trust to develop. This all helps build confidence, which in turn helps to stimulate markets.

Part 2 of this series also talks about the importance of openness. Specifically, some of the ways that the Digital Marketplace team is applying open approaches to make things better.

Cooperation and collaboration need to be at the core of successful delivery of digital services and technology projects across the public sector. We need to work towards shared goals, with a focus on joint delivery that meets users’ needs.

Creating innovative and diverse supply markets

The Digital Marketplace is reducing barriers to entry into the public sector market. This makes it easier for suppliers to sell to government, supporting local economies and creating new jobs. It  also helps us  to build inclusive and more diverse supply chains of large and small suppliers.

By being more open and engaging, the public sector now has access to a greater number of new and innovative suppliers. For many of them, this is the first opportunity they have had to work with government.

Digital and technology suppliers play a crucial role as part of the delivery teams across central and local government, and the wider public sector.

GDS, departments, existing and new suppliers, all have something unique to offer. We want to make it easy for them all to participate equally.

Commissioning: beyond procurement

During 2014 and 2015, I represented the Digital Marketplace in ‘Wave 4’ of the Commissioning Academy programme. This programme is designed and delivered by the Cabinet Office and a mix of delivery partners.

Commissioning is much broader than traditional procurement approaches. And, the areas covered are very relevant to transforming public service delivery. These include:

  • defining and measuring outcome­-based commissioning, meaning the long-term changes that services and related activities can achieve
  • developing the market to work with a broader range of more diverse service providers, including those from the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors
  • joint commissioning across organisational boundaries
  • behavioural insight and change
  • new service delivery models, which adopt a whole systems approach

My time with the Commissioning Academy was covered in the Public Service Transformation Academy case study: ‘Digital Marketplace: placing users at the centre of commissioning design’.

When I talked about improving and opening up procurement and contract data, I said I believed that, through its procurement and contracting practices, the public sector can deliver better services for citizens at a lower cost to the taxpayer.

I’d like to see more cooperation and collaboration with suppliers, through successful project delivery. We need to see more delivery based on these commissioning approaches. And, we need to see better practice of open, user-centred, design-led approaches to public sector procurements and contracts.

More in this series

This is the fourth in a series of 6 blog posts in which I’m talking about the Digital Marketplace vision.

As always, we’ll be thinking out loud by blogging here regularly. Sign up to follow the Digital Marketplace blog to track our progress.

Previous Blogs below:

The Digital Marketplace vision: part 1

The Digital Marketplace vision: part 2

The Digital Marketplace vision: part 3


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