Set up a commercial or digital and technology spend controls pipeline

Follow this guidance to create forward-looking pipelines for version 5 of the commercial and digital and technology spend controls processes.

You can read the definition of pipelines and the qualifying criteria in the spend controls policy summary.

Purpose of pipelines

Your organisation must create and maintain pipelines showing future activity to join version 5 of the commercial and digital and technology spend controls process. Pipelines help your organisation to:

  • see all commercial, digital and technology spend activity
  • plan resourcing and capability requirements
  • improve spend planning and transparency for your management team
  • focus expertise on spend activities that require more oversight, allowing you to spot patterns or duplicated spend within your organisation
  • reduce retrospective spend requests
  • plan for extensions, renewals, and new requirements earlier
  • promote assurance activity that is sensible and proportionate

Overlap between pipelines

You can overlap commercial pipelines with digital and technology pipelines. For example, when digital and technology activity totals £10 million or over, you must feature this activity on both pipelines during the triaging process. You should work jointly with the Government Digital Service (GDS) and the Cabinet Office Central Commercial Teams to ask for approval.

You must include any ongoing activity that could incur future spend in both pipelines, even if you have not secured funding. This includes Independent Shared Service Centres activity, for example, current or new back office/administrative systems a website or service such as hosting, data centres, voice and video, security expenditure related to PSN.

Template for your pipeline

Your organisation must record activities on your pipelines, and you should add new spend to your pipeline as soon as possible.

You must make sure planned spend is included in your pipeline and within scope of the respective controls. You do not need to include existing contracts that you are not replacing in the pipeline.

The Cabinet Office has developed a template of what you should include in commercial and digital and technology pipelines, at a minimum. Please note that not all fields apply to all activities:

Minimum Viable Product

Field What to include (if applicable)  
Reference number Enter the unique organisation reference number, if applicable.  
Business area Enter the business area/organisation owner for this contract.  
Short description A short contextual entry about the activity. This should reference how the activity delivers your organisation’s strategy and what is being purchased. Please reference the overarching programme when relevant.  
Contract title The planned or published activity name  
Commercial strategy The commercial strategy or approach for the commercial activity. Potential options include:
1. New requirement
2. Re-procurement (same scope)
3. Re-procurement (different scope)
4. Extension
Existing contract end date Enter the end date of the existing contract, for example, the first date that the contract needs replacing. If this is a new requirement, please enter N/A.  
Next Business Case Stage You should include your business case, either in its strategic outline, rough draft, or full outline.  
Planned date for next business case stage Enter a valid date for your next business case.  
Procurement start date Enter your procurement procedure start date. For example, the release of OJEU or commencement of a further competition under a framework agreement.  
Contract start date Enter a valid start date for your new contract.  
New contract end date (excluding options) Enter a valid end date of the new contract. This excludes options, for example, options for extension.  
Value of new contract (excluding options) Enter the £ value of the new contract. This excludes any value associated with options for extension.  
Procurement sourcing route The procurement vehicle being used to source the contract. Options include Framework, OJEU, below OJEU and Dynamic Purchasing Systems.  
Level of competition How did you award your supplier contract? For example, was there a competitive tender, a mini-competition, a single source or a direct award?  
Spend category You should classify the type of work you’re doing with the spend. This can be from any system your organisation uses as a standard practice, including CAS, CPV, UNSPSC.  
Contract tiering You should include the contract tier classification as per your organisation preference and outline the level of risk, for example, Tier 1,2,3 / Gold, Silver, Bronze.  
Existing Supplier Enter the name of your current supplier of the service, if applicable.  
Which functional standards apply Enter the type of Cabinet Office spend controls that apply. For example, digital and technology, commercial or property.  
Assessment against functional standards (triage) Your spend will have been assessed by your organisation. It will either be assured, monitor, control, or pending.  
Senior Responsible Owner Enter the Senior Responsible Owner for each contract or spend activity.  
Main Contact Enter the name and contact details of the single point of contact.  

Help creating pipelines

You should note that it may take time for you to create your pipelines, and maintaining them is an ongoing process.

If you need help developing a commercial pipeline you can work with the GCF Central Commercial Team. Email to find out which Commercial Business Partner is assigned to your organisation.

If you need help developing a digital and technology pipeline you can work with a GDS senior technology adviser. Email to find out which senior technology adviser is assigned to your organisation.

Published 30 April 2018