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GDS joins work on ‘model contracts’



Government Digital Service teams up with Crown Commercial Service and Government Legal Department to simplify procurement documents

Teams from three central government bodies are joining up to work on model contracts, with the aim of making them suitable for digital access and simplifying the whole procurement process.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS), Government Digital Service (GDS) and Government Legal Department (GLD) have formed a multidisciplinary team to provide a template for contracts that are written in simple language and would be easily accessible online.

The move comes a year after CCS and GDS began to work on making contracts for digital services shorter and more readable to non-lawyers. It also aligns with the efforts by the Digital Marketplace team in GDS to move towards an open standard for public procurement and contracting data.

joint blogpost by Jason Waterman from CCS and Warren Smith, head of strategy for the Digital Marketplace, says they are also aiming to create a network of “contract champions” to contribute to the initiative.

“We want to help encourage better practices of user-centred design in public sector procurement and contracts, but also by sharing what we’re doing outside of government,” it says.

The plan is to follow the GDS Design Principles and use agile delivery methods, with an emphasis on making the language of the contracts as simple as possible, providing more consistency and using open standards for sharing government documents.

The post also says that the model terms and conditions will not be finished once used throughout CCS, but will be subject to continual improvements based on user feedback and analytics.

“We feel that shortening and simplifying contracts and hosting them somewhere accessible online will encourage a more diverse range of suppliers to apply to supply their services to government,” it says. “It will also ensure CCS can provide buyers with the best possible commercial deals for common goods and services.”

Image: Gunnar Wrobel - Contract. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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