Guidance

How to sell your Digital Outcomes and Specialists services

How to apply for opportunities if you are a Digital Outcomes and Specialists supplier

About the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework

This guidance is for suppliers who have been accepted onto the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework (an agreement between the government and suppliers). Digital Outcomes and Specialists services include:

  • digital outcomes, for example a beta of an NHS appointment booking system
  • digital specialists, for example a product manager or a developer
  • user research labs
  • user research participants

If you want to sell these services on the Digital Marketplace, you need to apply to the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework and provide your service details. You can only do this when the framework is open for applications. Read about when you can apply.

Follow the Digital Marketplace on Twitter to stay up to date with important dates.

If your framework application is successful, you’ll be able to sell your services on the Digital Marketplace.

Apply for an outcomes, specialists or user research participants opportunity

1. View opportunities

You can view all published opportunities on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists opportunities page on the Digital Marketplace. You’ll also receive notifications when new opportunities are posted.

Each opportunity includes the buyer’s requirements for the work and the criteria and assessment methods they’ll use to evaluate suppliers.

2. Ask questions about an opportunity

If you need to clarify something in the opportunity, you can ask the buyer a question, also known as a ‘clarification’ question.

Go to the opportunity on the Digital Marketplace to:

  • ask a question
  • view questions from other suppliers

Each opportunity shows the last date you can ask questions. The buyer must publish all questions and answers at least one working day before the application deadline.

The buyer may use the questions and answers section on the opportunity page to make small changes to their requirements, for example they may correct an error or communicate an update like a webinar date change. You should check this section regularly.

Read how buyers answer supplier questions.

3. Apply for an opportunity

Choose the opportunity you want to apply for. To be eligible for an opportunity, it has to be in a category you chose when you applied to the framework, for example you can’t apply for a digital specialists opportunity if you only applied to provide digital outcomes services.

If you’re a digital specialists supplier, you can only apply for roles that you chose when you applied to the framework, for example you can’t apply for a delivery manager role if you only selected ‘agile coach’ when you applied to the framework.

You can only:

  • apply once for each opportunity
  • put forward 1 specialist for each specialist opportunity

You’ll need to:

  • say whether you have the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience needed for the opportunity
  • provide evidence of the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience
  • provide a contact email address
  • provide a start date
  • provide your day rate (specialists only)

If you don’t say you have all the essential skills and experience listed, you won’t be eligible for this opportunity and you’ll be excluded from the application process.

Writing evidence

Buyers find it easier to understand how your skills and experience match their needs if you provide evidence that includes specific examples of work you’ve done or skills you’ve used in the past.

Be specific about:

  • what the situation was
  • the work you did
  • what the results were

You should only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement (unless the buyer specifies otherwise). Use up to 100 words for each bit of evidence.

You can reuse examples across different essential or nice-to-have requirements if you need to.

Here’s an example of well-written evidence that clearly describes the situation, the work done and the results.

Buyer requirement Bad evidence Good evidence
The delivery manager must have experience of working in an NHS hospital. The candidate has extensive experience of working in an NHS environment. The admin and IT teams in a county hospital were suffering with an old Windows 7 booking system that was frustrating to use and difficult to maintain. I was employed to create a new system that properly met users’ needs and was easy to manage. Over 4 months, I analysed user needs, involved stakeholders, created a plan and implemented a new web-based system. Before releasing it, I conducted user acceptance tests, documented the system and trained staff on it. Now, bookings are easier and quicker to manage and the IT team hardly needs to be involved.

4. The buyer shortlists suppliers

Buyers say how many suppliers they’ll take through to the evaluation stage in their requirements.

The buyer will score supplier applications to reduce the number of applications to the number they’ve said they’ll evaluate. They’ll do this based on:

  • whether the day rate is within their budget (specialists only)
  • whether the supplier can start by the latest start date in their requirements
  • the number of nice-to-have requirements suppliers say they have
  • the evidence the suppliers provide of their skills and experience
  • how well the supplier meets any other shortlisting criteria

The suppliers who provide the highest-scoring evidence and have the most nice-to-have skills and experience will be taken through to the evaluation stage.

Read more about how buyers shortlist suppliers.

5. The buyer evaluates suppliers

At the evaluation stage, the buyer will assess your application using some or all of the assessment methods they included in the opportunity, for example a work history or a written proposal.

Read more about:

The buyer will contact you and invite you to the evaluation stage and tell you what information you need to provide and when.

The buyer will score your application based on the criteria and weightings they published in the opportunity. Read more about how buyers score.

The winning supplier is the one with the highest overall score.

If 2 suppliers have the same score, the buyer may ask you for your best and final price.

6. The buyer awards a contract and gives feedback to unsuccessful suppliers

The buyer will award a contract (or ‘call-off’) to the supplier with the highest score. Read:

The buyer will provide unsuccessful and successful suppliers with feedback.

The buyer doesn’t have to award a contract if they can’t find a suitable supplier. They may choose to review what they need and then post a new opportunity on the Digital Marketplace.

The buyer should tell you if:

  • they haven’t found a supplier that meets their needs
  • they’re not going to award a contract

Read more about the digital outcome, specialist and user research participant services buying process.

Apply for a user research labs opportunity

Applying for a user research labs opportunity is different from applying to digital outcomes, specialists and participant recruitment opportunities. Buyers will contact you directly if they think your lab could meet their needs.

1. The buyer decides what they need

The buyer decides what their requirements are. They should think about what they need, and when and where they need it.

2. The buyer downloads the list of user research labs from the Digital Marketplace

The list of user research labs includes information you provided when you applied to the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework.

3. The buyer shortlists suppliers

The buyer creates a shortlist by using their requirements to filter the list of labs.

4. The buyer contacts all the labs on their shortlist

The buyer will contact you if they think you could meet their needs. They’ll tell you:

  • what facilities they need, for example size of viewing room or eye tracking software
  • any assisted digital or accessibility needs of their research participants
  • where they want the research to take place
  • when and how often they want the research to take place
  • which requirements are essential and which are nice-to-have
  • how they’ll evaluate your user research lab on technical competence and price
  • how they’ll weight your availability, location, facilities, accessibility and price
  • when you need to respond by

5. Ask questions about the opportunity

If you need to clarify something in the opportunity, you can ask the buyer a question. The buyer must answer all supplier questions at least one working day before the application deadline. They will share all questions and answers with all shortlisted suppliers.

6. Apply to the opportunity

Email the buyer to tell them:

  • if the lab is available when they need it
  • if you meet their essential requirements
  • which nice-to-have requirements you meet
  • how much the lab will cost to hire

7. The buyer evaluates supplier responses

After the closing date, the buyer will review all supplier responses. The buyer can exclude you if:

  • you don’t have a lab available when they need it
  • you don’t meet their essential requirements
  • the cost of your lab exceeds their budget

The buyer will evaluate the remaining applications based on the criteria and weightings they told you about in step 4. They will evaluate and score your:

  • availability
  • technical competence, which is based on lab location, facilities and accessibility
  • price

The buyer may visit your lab before they award a contract or before the lab is used.

If 2 suppliers have the same score, the buyer may ask you for your best and final price.

8. The buyer awards a contract and gives feedback to unsuccessful suppliers

The buyer will award a contract to the supplier with the highest score. Read:

The buyer will provide unsuccessful and successful suppliers with feedback.

The buyer doesn’t have to award a contract if they can’t find a suitable supplier. They may choose to review what they need and then post a new opportunity on the Digital Marketplace.

The buyer should tell you if:

  • they haven’t found a supplier that meets their needs
  • they’re not going to award a contract

Read more about the user research labs buying process.

Published 1 June 2016
Last updated 14 July 2016 + show all updates
  1. You can only put forward one specialist per role.
  2. First published.