How to buy Digital Marketplace services fairly
- Government Digital Service
- Part of:
- Digital Marketplace buyers and suppliers information and Central government efficiency
- First published:
- 19 April 2016
How to avoid bias when buying services.
When you buy services through the Digital Marketplace, you have to be fair, open and transparent. You can only award contracts to suppliers who meet your needs. To find the most appropriate supplier for your project, you need to:
- write clear requirements
- set the criteria that you’re going to evaluate suppliers against
- publish your requirements and criteria so suppliers can decide whether to apply for the work (for digital outcomes, specialists and user research participants services only)
- search for your requirements on the Digital Marketplace (for G-Cloud services only)
- only evaluate suppliers on the evidence they provide
There are many types of bias you must avoid when you buy services.
Types of bias
You can’t make a decision on suppliers based on:
- experience, eg if you or a colleague has worked with a supplier before
- familiarity, eg if you’ve heard a supplier’s name before
- recommendation, eg if someone tells you a particular supplier is good or bad
- solution, eg a desire to buy a specific product
- availability, eg if you know before you publish your requirements that a particular supplier is free from a certain date
- recent awareness, eg whether you worked with a supplier recently
- similarity, eg whether they talk and behave in the same way as you
- prior knowledge of the price, eg if you know how much a supplier’s service costs before you evaluate
Evaluating suppliers against specific criteria
When you evaluate Digital Outcomes and Specialists suppliers, you must use the scoring scheme. This outlines how you will score suppliers and what they have to do to achieve each score. It leaves no room for unintended bias. Read more about how to evaluate.
At least 3 members of your organisation must score suppliers. You must:
- give individual scores for each criteria
- only use the evidence the supplier provides
You can take context into account, eg if they did a good job in an easy situation or a bad job in a hard situation, but you can’t:
- take an average of the evaluation team’s scores
- ignore the scoring scheme or apply any bias
Use the scoring template when marking suppliers.
You must keep a record of every stage of the buying process, including scoring suppliers.
Go to the Digital Marketplace.
Published: 19 April 2016