Working with contractors or third parties
You need to have a range of specific service delivery team roles in place to design, build and run your digital service.
If you don’t have these in your team (or available to it), you may need to hire third parties or contractors.
You should only work with contractors or suppliers who are prepared to pass on their expertise.
Identify the skills you need
When you have an idea of the service you’re going to create, talk to your team about the skills you need.
Before you recruit anyone from outside the Civil Service, see if you have any team members who can develop these skills.
Choosing contractors or third parties
It’s important to only buy the skills you need and not to lock your service into a long contract with a fixed cost.
When you’re considering a person or company to work with, look for evidence of:
- a proven track record of using agile methods to design, build and deliver projects
- their commitment to work on-site with civil servants
- the ability to share knowledge with permanent staff in the delivery team
- how they’ll deliver in an agile way, even if your department traditionally uses waterfall or PRINCE2 delivery methods
- how they define, measure and maintain good quality products and services
You can use the Digital Marketplace to buy a service or find a skill. The Digital Marketplace buyers’ guide explains how to do this.
You can also use the Digital Training and Support buyers’ guide if you need to buy a service or find a skill to help you provide assisted digital support.
After you recruit contractors
You should treat contractors and permanent team members equally.
Contractors should work in your office for most of their time and sit with permanent staff. It’s important for a delivery team to share a space because:
- there are fewer communication overheads, for example phone bills
- there’s more informal communication and learning
- it’s easier to establish a shared agile culture
You must make sure you have a plan to pass knowledge from contractors to the rest of your team. This is particularly important when you move from one phase to another, or if you change supplier.
To make sure knowledge transfer happens, you could do things like:
- encourage pairing - you might need to adjust people’s workloads so they’ve got time to do this
- organise sessions for contractors to share their knowledge or experiences
- make sure any documentation is in a good state
You may also find the following guides useful: