Digital Marketplace buyers' guide

How to use the Digital Marketplace to find cloud technology and specialist services for digital projects.

Digital Marketplace overview

The Digital Marketplace helps you find cloud technology and specialist services for digital projects.

It uses 3 frameworks (agreements between government and suppliers).

You can find:

Buying services through frameworks means you can save on the time and cost of entering into individual procurement contracts.

All public sector organisations, including agencies and arm’s length bodies, can use the Digital Marketplace. Check the customer unique reference number (URN) list to see if you’re eligible.

Digital Marketplace services

Cloud services

There are around 20,000 cloud services on the Digital Marketplace, split into 3 categories:

  • cloud hosting, for example content delivery networks or load balancing services
  • cloud software, for example accounting tools or customer service management software
  • cloud support, for example migration services or ongoing support

Digital specialist services

More than 1,000 suppliers provide digital specialist services, including:

  • digital outcomes, for example a booking system or an accessibility audit
  • digital specialists, for example product managers or developers
  • user research studios
  • user research participants

Datacentre hosting services

One supplier provides datacentre hosting to government. It offers:

  • mission-critical datacentres
  • a flexible, pay-for-what-you-use model
  • secure facilities
  • power uptime availability that exceeds Tier III+
  • leading environmental performance

The government’s Cloud First policy means you need to consider a cloud solution before you can choose datacentre hosting from the Crown Hosting Data Centres framework. You’ll also have to explain why moving to the cloud is not right for your project as part of the digital and IT spend controls process.

Preparing your requirements

Working with both procurement and technical professionals can help you decide on the high-level requirements and how long your project will take.

You should consider:

  • the funds you have available to buy the service
  • the technical and procurement requirements of the project
  • the selection criteria on which your choice will be based

Identify what the ‘must-have’ requirements are and what the ‘wants’ are. Read the government’s Service Design Manual to help you describe your needs.

GDS manages the government’s digital and IT spend controls. This means that all funding requests for new or redesigned digital services need formal approval by GDS before they can go ahead. You’ll also need to have approval from within your organisation.

You must make your decision-making process auditable when you buy services on the Digital Marketplace.

Buying Digital Marketplace services

The buying process is different depending on whether you’re buying cloud services from the G-Cloud framework, digital specialist services from the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework or physical datacentre space from the Crown Hosting Data Centres framework.

Read the G-Cloud buyers’ guide to learn more about finding cloud hosting, software and support.

Read the Digital Outcomes and Specialists buyers’ guide to learn more about finding specialists to work on digital projects.

Read the Crown Hosting Data Centres framework guide to learn more about finding datacentre space.

If you have any questions about the Digital Marketplace or the buying process, email

Published 1 May 2015
Last updated 22 May 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect new G-Cloud 9 'lot' structure.
  2. First published.