UK SME Claims Digital Services Framework 'Victory'

Feb 19, 2015

UK tech firm Dxw says it's managed to push back controversial changes proposed in the just published Digital Services Framework.

The firm, which specialises in public sector website development and which claims the Home Office and Thames Valley Housing as clients, has been very active on social media since Christmas raising supplier objections to the suggested changes, key to the latest version of the G-Cloud/Digital Marketplace.

According to a new blog from Harry Metcalfe, Managing Director of the organisation, which sums up the 'impromtu campaign,' concerns had been raised that Agile development services were going to have a lesser status in the new Framework than previous versions.

When issues had been flagged to the Government Digital Service (GDS), he writes, there was an impression given that the body "would consider substantive change in Digital Services 3 and would run a discovery phase to gather ideas and understand user needs better."

This was "welcomed by everyone," says Metcalfe - until, at the beginning of this week, after GDS had confirmed that it was "going to fix all of this stuff,"something odd happened: the Crown Commercial Service started sending people letters, saying that agile development services would be "removed from G-Cloud."

Not surprisingly, he goes on, "Cue much panic all around... [the] episode led me to seriously question what on earth is going on with GDS and CCS, and whether CCS are actually in a position to be able to adopt a new approach."

There's good news now, though - as GDS has now confirmed that, according to Dxw's understanding of the situation, that (among other measures):

  • agile development will remain available through the G-Cloud framework ("for the time being")
  • after jointly reviewing this decision and listening to the resounding feedback, Crown Commercial Service and GDS have decided not remove agile development services available under G-Cloud 5 from the Digital Marketplace
  • Digital Services 3’s discovery phase starts now, GDS is empowered to make it substantially different and will launch it ASAP, meaning it will be for the discovery phase to explore the framework vehicle and come up with the answers.

"All of these developments are fantastic news, and for my part, are very reassuring: acknowledging the problems and setting out what’s going to be done is a clear demonstration that GDS does live by its values," exults Metcalfe in response.

But, he warns, this is no time for compalcency; "Nothing is ever finished, and until a half-decent framework for procuring agile services is actually live, we haven’t even really started... It won’t be easy; not everyone wants Digital Services 3 to adopt the mantle of G-Cloud [and] not everyone is really invested in changing the current model and some of the changes that are needed will be hard to make.

"But, as G-Cloud 1 showed us, change is possible... as suppliers (and buyers!) we need to be vigilant, we need to be involved, and we need to be resolute: 2015 should be the year that rubbish IT procurement is shown the door.

Metclafe concludes, "G-Cloud is proof that things can be better. It’s a runaway success, and a shining example of how good things could be. Many, many people agree that it’s a good model to build on. Let’s get out there and do it."

(c) 24n.biz

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