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GDS retains agile services on Digital Marketplace



Singleton blog indicates Cabinet Office backtrack on change after complaints from suppliers

The Cabinet Office has reversed a decision to drop the lot on agile services development from the Digital Marketplace, following protests that it was inappropriate to confine it to the Digital Services framework.

Writing in a Government Digital Service (GDS) blog, Tony Singleton, director of the Digital Commercial Programme, said the move had come after opposition from suppliers had become clear.

"We know that letters have already been sent to suppliers stating that agile services will be removed from the Digital Marketplace," he said. "After jointly reviewing this decision and listening to the resounding feedback, Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and GDS have decided not to remove agile development services available under G-Cloud 5 from the Digital Marketplace, while we focus on improving the Digital Services framework."

Last week there were complaints from some suppliers about the decision to make agile services available only on the DSF, under the control of the CCS, claiming the arrangement was not workable for them.

In response to some of the complaints, Singleton said buyers will still be able to contract with single suppliers for whole phases of projects, and that it will be up to the buyer whether the supplier's team will be required to work at its location throughout the project.

One of the suppliers who had been highly critical of the initial move has provided a generally positive response. Harry Metcalfe of DXW wrote in a blog: "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.

"But we can't be complacent. Nothing is ever finished, and until a half-decent framework for procuring agile services is actually live, we haven't even really started."

Singleton said the government is still committed to the second iteration of the framework, DS2, claiming that it supports buyers in finding people with the right skills for specific projects. He said more than 280 suppliers had bid for places on the framework and that it will stand until DS3 is ready later in the year.

He added that "a great deal needs to be done to the Digital Services framework right", but that he could not say yet what form DS3 might take.

Pictured: Tony Singleton

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