How to write requirements for services on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework
What you can buy
Digital Outcomes and Specialists services you can buy include:
- digital outcomes: to find a team to deliver a digital outcome, such as a new integrated website, strategic delivery programme or an accessibility audit
- digital specialists: to find an individual to deliver a digital outcome, such as a data scientist or developer
- user research studios: to find a physical space in which to conduct user research
- user research participants: to find users with the appropriate characteristics to test your service
For each of these you need to write and publish requirements. Requirements tell suppliers about your situation and suppliers can then propose a solution that meets your needs.
See the G-Cloud buyers’ guide if you need to buy cloud services, for example web hosting or accounting software.
Telling suppliers about your requirements
When you buy Digital Outcomes and Specialists services, the information you provide in your requirements will help suppliers:
- decide if they’ll apply
- provide evidence to show how well they can meet your needs
- suggest solutions that best solve your problem
You need to say:
- what you’re trying to achieve and why
- who your users are and what they need to do
All requirements are published on the Digital Marketplace where anyone can see them.
Writing clear requirements
Well written requirements help a supplier understand what you need and to propose a solution for your needs.
Long detailed briefs can be hard to understand and respond to.
Help suppliers decide whether to apply by:
- providing a clear and specific summary of the work
- explaining the problem you want to solve
- describing who the users are and what they need to do
- detailing any work that’s already been done
- focusing on the outcome
- describing the budget
- telling suppliers about any pre-tender market engagement
Describe ‘essential’ and ‘nice-to-have’ skills and experience to help you shortlist applicants with the right skills. Try to keep it below 6 essential skills.
Set question and answer session details.
If you want to share links in your requirements, always include the full web address. You shouldn’t shorten URLs. Only link to your organisation’s website.
Use plain English
Keep your language clear and concise. You should:
- keep your average sentence length between 15 and 20 words
- make sentences active, rather than passive
- spell out acronyms the first time you use them
- avoid jargon and in-house terminology, if you have to use it, explain it
- put any internal project codes you want to include at the end of your requirements title so suppliers can quickly see what you need
Essential elements of your requirements
When you write your requirements on the Digital Marketplace, you need to provide clear information about the service you want to buy.
If you need a digital outcome, you’ll need to tell suppliers about the situation or problem. They’ll propose a solution that meets your needs.
If you need a digital specialist, you’ll have to ask suppliers to provide a specialist for a specific piece of work. The specialist cannot work outside the scope of your written requirements.
You can only post requirements for 1 specialist role at a time. For example if you want to find 3 developers, you must post 3 separate requirements – 1 for each developer.
User research participants
If you need to find user research participants, you’ll have to tell suppliers about the types of participants you want to test your service with. They’ll then tell you if they can meet your needs and how much it will cost.
User research studios
If you need a user research studio, you’ll be asked to tell suppliers what facilities you need and when. They’ll then tell you what they can do and how much it will cost.
Getting help with writing requirements
Before you start, consider talking to:
- your colleagues
- Crown Commercial Service (CCS)
You should do user research to help you learn what users need and why.
Talking to potential suppliers can help you write clearer requirements. This is sometimes called early market engagement or pre-tender market engagement (PTME). You can see a list of suppliers on the Digital Marketplace.
Read about talking to suppliers before you buy.
People who can help you write your requirements include:
- your procurement team, who can help decide on timescales
- your technical team, who can help if things such as security levels or existing technical platforms are important
- your service or product manager, who can help identify user needs
CCS can also advise on the best way to buy services. They can show you relevant examples of requirements you can use to help write yours. CCS can also review your draft requirements. You can phone 0345 410 2222 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email email@example.com for help.
Answering questions from suppliers
After you’ve published your requirements, suppliers may ask questions about them.
You should make sure that:
- you answer all questions from suppliers on the Digital Marketplace
- all suppliers can see all the questions that have been asked, and the answers
- you remove any supplier information from the questions and answers you publish
- you reply within the time you specified when you wrote your requirements
Read about how to answer supplier questions.
If your requirements can’t be public
If there are parts of your requirements that contain confidential or sensitive information which can’t be shared publicly, then you should:
- write a high level summary of your requirements that can be published
- provide an email address in your requirements so suppliers can contact you for more information
- share the same information with all suppliers
- how to buy Digital Outcomes and Specialists services
- how to set your evaluation criteria
- team capabilities for digital outcomes and digital specialist roles