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Global Digital Marketplace plans pilots


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The head of the Digital Marketplace programme has outlined priorities for the creation of its global equivalent and the five principles on which it will be built.

Programme director Warren Smith (pictured) has provided the details in a blogpost that updates progress on the effort to develop versions of the UK’s Digital Marketplace for other countries, notably in the developing world in an effort to reduce corruption.


This follows an announcement over Christmas from the Cabinet Office that said £11 million had been made available to the programme and that early work is focused on countries including South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Smith says the discovery process is still taking place, but when this is complete there are plans for local delivery pilots in a number of cities and municipalities in the countries which could begin to use the procurement channel.

Much of the initial focus is likely to be on spending on digital, data and technology services, which are central to digital transformation strategies.

The partners in prioritised countries will be British embassies and high commissions, national government ministries responsible for reform in the relevant areas, and governments at state or provincial and city or municipality levels.

Alongside this, talks are taking place with non-government and not-for-profit organisations that could act as partners in delivering the marketplace to individual countries.

Five pillars

All this will be underlined by five ‘pillars’ of the programme that draw on the lessons of creating the Digital Marketplace for the UK public sector.

They include assuring plans before the money is spent, drawing on the Technology Code of Practice and GDS spend controls; and using the Digital Marketplace and Crown Commercial Service Technology Strategic Category agreements in designing procurements and contracts.

The others are: assuring service delivery by drawing on the Digital Service Standard and GDS service assessments; publishing open contracting data; and building institutional capabilities and capacities.

But these will be balanced with local requirements. Smith has previously made clear in an interview with UKAuthority that the programme would be tailored to what individual countries need.

The Digital Marketplace was set up in 2014 as an online procurement channel for digital services for the public sector, partly with the aim of giving SMEs a greater opportunity in the market. Its most recent sales figures, up to the end of December 2018, show total sales in its G-Cloud framework at £4.07 billion (of which 45% of the value has gone to SMEs), in Digital Outcomes and Specialists £780 million (31% to SMEs) and in Digital Services £184 million (44% to SMEs).

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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