Digital Outcomes and Specialists to supplant Digital Services

gds blog post

The redesigned Digital Services framework (DSf) is changing its name to Digital Outcomes and Specialists, according to a Digital Marketplace blog post.

The post – written by Gemma Phelan, head of digital engagement at the GDS – lists the reasons for the modification.

The new name is not only considered to be better for both buyers and suppliers, but also reflects the framework’s “entirely new approach”.


A new name, a new approach

Phelan references the fact that, in February this year, GDS G-Cloud and digital commercial programme director, Tony Singleton, spoke about the “online and offline negativity towards the first iteration of the Digital Services Framework (DS1)”.  Since this time, the GDS team have been working on improving and changing it.

Consequently, this new framework is not a “third iteration of Digital Services 1 and 2”, but instead it is a complete redesign.


A better name for buyers

The GDS have discovered through user research and feedback from regional events that many public sector buyers find framework names “confusing”. Therefore, the team are trying to stop “using frameworks as brand names”.

The frameworks should sit behind and inform the Digital Marketplace service rather than being an integral part of it.

“Buyers will simply need to know there’s a single place, the Digital Marketplace, that they can go to buy what they need,” Phelan wrote.


… and suppliers?

Despite this, the GDS also acknowledged the importance of a clear name from a supplier’s point of view.

That said, we realise it’s important for suppliers to know which framework they need to apply to based on the services they want to offer to government,” the post said. It added that, as a result of this, the name should link to what the supplier can sell via the framework.

The post points out that, in the case of the DSf, the name was based on what was being built – ‘digital services’ – opposed to what was being supplied: a “digital outcome or digital specialist”.


Tackling ‘body shopping’ concerns

The fact that suppliers have said the DSf has been too focused on ‘body shopping’ has been another reason for the redesign.

Feedback revealed that they would prefer more opportunities to provide entire digital outcomes, instead of just being given the chance to supply individuals to “fill the gaps in government teams”.

The framework is now focussed on supplying these digital outcomes and the new name reflects that,” said Phelan.


What happens in the interim?

The post states that Digital Services 2 will remain the same until Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) replaces it.

As with the Digital Services framework, Digital Outcomes and Specialists will be available for both central government and the wider public sector to use when it goes live in the Digital Marketplace in early 2016,” it said.

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