Guidance

Applying to the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework

How to apply to sell digital outcomes, specialists and user research services to government on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework.

The public sector uses the Digital Marketplace to buy digital services.

You apply on the Digital Marketplace to sell digital services through the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework.

A framework is an agreement between suppliers and government - all suppliers agree to the same terms when they apply.

The application process is different if you want to sell cloud services on the G-Cloud framework.

Crown Commercial Service (CCS) manages the framework, for example the terms and conditions, supplier evaluations and compliance. Government Digital Service (GDS) manages the Digital Marketplace service.

When you can apply

You cannot currently apply to join the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework. Applications are usually available every 9 to 18 months.

Sign up to get email notifications when applications are open.

Types of digital services you can sell

Services on the Digital Outcomes and Specialist framework are categorised into ‘lots’:

  • digital outcomes lot - you’ll provide teams to work on a digital service
  • digital specialists lot, like product managers or developers - you’ll provide specialists to work on a service, programme or project
  • user research labs lot - you’ll provide facilities to carry out interviews and usability tests
  • user research participants lot - you’ll find people to take part in research interviews and usability tests

Eligibility

The Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework is open to suppliers of all sizes. You do not need to be based in the UK.

You can arrange for third parties to do some of the work (‘subcontracting’) or provide the service through a group of suppliers (‘consortia’). A buyer must agree to subcontracting or a consortium arrangement before they buy.

The full legal rules and eligibility are published in documents called the ‘Call-Off Contract’ and ‘Framework Agreement’. The most up-to-date documents will be available on your Digital Marketplace account when you apply.

You’ll also need to agree to certain obligations as a CCS supplier, such as submitting management information (MI) returns.

There are also different rules depending on what category (‘lots’) the services are in.

Rules for digital outcomes services

As a digital outcomes supplier, you must:

You must provide services within at least one of the following capabilities:

  • design
  • performance analysis and data
  • security
  • service delivery
  • software development
  • support and operations
  • testing and auditing
  • user research
  • user experience and design

Rules for digital specialists

As a digital specialists supplier, you must:

  • offer evidence of competence in each role if requested by the buyer
  • ensure all roles support the government service design manual’s description of what you need to build a successful service
  • provide specialists who are employed or contracted by you - you have responsibility and liability for the work they do

You must provide at least one of the following roles:

  • agile coach
  • business analyst
  • communications specialist
  • content designer or copywriter
  • cyber security specialist
  • data architect
  • data engineer
  • data scientist
  • delivery manager or project manager
  • designer
  • developer
  • performance analyst
  • portfolio manager
  • product manager
  • programme delivery manager
  • quality assurance analyst
  • service manager
  • technical architect
  • user researcher
  • web operations engineer

Rules for user research labs

As a user research lab supplier, you must provide:

  • user research lab hire in the right location on specific dates
  • a comfortable, private and safe environment for participants, researchers and observers to work in
  • space to conduct interviews, usability tests or focus groups
  • facilities where it’s possible to watch and record people as they engage with designs, prototypes and live public sector services

Rules for user research participants

As a user research participants supplier, you must be able to:

  • recruit participants with a range of experience, for example you should consider diversity, people who are digitally excluded, as well as those who have low literacy or digital skills, and those who need assisted digital support
  • recruit user research participants who best reflect the users of a service, for example a specific target user group such as victims, witnesses or jurors

How to apply

Follow these steps to apply.

  1. Create an account or log into your existing account. You’ll need a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS number) if you’re creating an account.

  2. Click ‘Start application’ to begin the Digital Outcomes and Specialists application process.

  3. Make the supplier declaration.

  4. Provide information about your services.

Each step in this process is mandatory.

You can add extra contributors to your account to help you add services more quickly.

Making the supplier declaration on the Digital Marketplace

You must make the supplier declaration. If you don’t complete it you will not be able to provide services on the Digital Marketplace.

The parts of the supplier declaration are:

  • providing suitable services
  • what it means to be on Digital Outcomes and Specialists
  • grounds for mandatory exclusion
  • working with government
  • how you apply
  • application accuracy
  • how you’ll deliver your services
  • contact details

You’ll need to agree to certain obligations on the framework, such as submitting monthly information (MI) management returns.

Adding service information on the Digital Marketplace

You need to provide your service details on the Digital Marketplace. You’ll be asked to include information like where you can provide services and pricing details.

Each service you want to include needs to fit into one of these categories (called ‘lots)’:

  • digital outcomes
  • digital specialists
  • user research studios
  • user research participants

You can look at past and present opportunities to see the kind of services buyers need.

You can apply to provide services in as many categories as you want. If you’re accepted on to the framework, you cannot supply services in a category you didn’t sign up for.

Each service you add must be marked as ‘complete’ on the Digital Marketplace.

Your application will be automatically submitted for Digital Outcomes and Specialists on the deadline day if you’ve also made your supplier declaration.

Asking ‘clarification’ questions during the application process

You can ask ‘clarification’ questions during the application process. All questions about this procurement must be submitted through the Digital Marketplace on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists updates page.

You will not get an individual response to your question.

All questions and answers will be posted regularly in a PDF on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists updates page. Anyone who has started an application will be notified when new clarification questions and answers are available.

Contact Crown Commercial Service if you have any technical issues with the Digital Marketplace.

Crown Commercial Service
cloud_digital@crowncommercial.gov.uk

Commercially sensitive clarification questions

You may not want the answer to your question to be published. In this situation, you should explain when you submit the question why you believe that making the question and response public would put you at a disadvantage.

If there is not sufficient justification for withholding the question and answer, you’ll be asked to decide if:

  • the question and the response should in fact be published
  • you want to withdraw the question

Submitting your application

Your application will be submitted automatically if you have completed your supplier declaration and details for at least one service. You do not need to manually submit your application.

After you apply

Once it’s submitted, CCS will evaluate the information you provide in your application against the criteria published in the Invitation to Tender (ITT), Call-Off Contract and Framework Agreement.

These documents are provided in your Digital Marketplace account.

It takes around 8 weeks.

You’ll be told if you’re successful through your Digital Marketplace account.

If you’re successful

You’ll enter into an agreement with CCS. Your framework agreement will be available in your account on the Digital Marketplace. You’ll need to sign your framework agreement and upload it to your account within 10 working days of getting it.

You will not be able to provide services on the framework if you do not sign and return the framework agreement.

Your services will be made available on the Digital Marketplace as soon as the framework goes live.

The maximum length of a contract is 24 months with an optional 6 months extension.

How to respond to buyers and apply for opportunities

You’ll use the Digital Marketplace to find and respond to buyer requirements. Find out how to sell your services and apply for opportunities on the Digital Marketplace.

Changing details after you’ve applied

You can change some information, like your company’s details, on your Digital Marketplace account.

You can change these service details:

  • team capabilities
  • locations where your team or specialist is available to work
  • specialist roles you offer
  • maximum and minimum price you charge
  • user research studio details
  • recruitment approach and participant location

You cannot add services to new categories (‘lots’):

  • after applications close
  • when you’ve been accepted onto the framework

Contact CCS to update these service details.

Crown Commercial Service
cloud_digital@crowncommercial.gov.uk

Buyers can request evidence of any changes you make.

Published 4 December 2015
Last updated 21 August 2019 + show all updates
  1. The Digital Marketplace support email address has changed to cloud_digital@crowncommercial.gov.uk.

  2. Applications to join the Digital Specialists and Outcomes 4 framework have now closed.

  3. The Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 framework is now open for applications until 5pm on 15 August 2019.

  4. This guide has been restructured for clarity. The title has changed to 'Applying to the Digital Specialists and Outcomes framework'. The application opening date (8 July) has been added. The maximum length of a contract has been changed from '24 months' to '24 months with an optional 6 months extension'. Added information about supplier responsibilities on the framework in the 'Eligibility' section. Removed information about service standards and applying for opportunities, how to find that information is under the 'How to respond to buyers and apply for opportunities' heading.

  5. The Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 framework will open for applications on 8 July 2019.

  6. Updated to reflect new specialist roles available through Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3.

  7. The Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 framework is closed for applications

  8. Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 is open for applications until 5pm BST, 22 August 2018.

  9. Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 opens for applications on 18 July

  10. Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 open for applications in July 2018

  11. Revised Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 opening date

  12. Updated to show that Digital Outcomes and Specialists is closed for applications.

  13. Added links to new suppliers' guides on applying to opportunities

  14. Added links to new Digital Outcomes and Specialists guides and new supplier logins

  15. First published.