Digital Marketplace team leads project to ‘radically’ simplify government contracts

Written by Sam Trendall on 2 November 2017 in News

New set of much shorter terms being developed by team of digital, legal, commercial, and policy heads

The government is bringing together professionals from the legal, digital, commercial, and policy disciplines in a programme to “radically” simplify government contracts.

Representatives from the Government Digital Service’s Digital Marketplace platform are central to the project, which started in July. These digital experts are working alongside commercial and policy professionals from the Crown Commercial Service, and lawyers from both the Government Legal Department and law firm DLA Piper.

The goal is to greatly simplify government supply contracts, making them easier to use for both buyers and suppliers. 

“We’re putting user-centred design at the heart of government contracts, testing and iterating at every stage,” said GDS. “We want buyers and suppliers to be able to focus on what really matters – sustainable relationships and the quality of the products and services delivered. The new, radically shorter and simpler set of contract terms is the biggest improvement in government contracting for decades.”

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It added: “The aim – of leading a step-change in procurement to ensure that user-centred, design-led, data-driven approaches are commonplace in contracting by 2020 – is part of the vision for the Government Transformation Strategy.”

The contracting overhaul will be of particular benefit to SMEs, GDS said, who will find it “easier and cheaper to sell to government”. The new set of terms will be “gradually rolled out for new frameworks” over the coming months.

The contracts will be given their first test with the next iteration of CCS’s Facilities Management Services framework, which is due to issue a contract notice inviting bids from suppliers in December, with a plan to award contracts in April.

GDS said: “We’re working closely with the CCS Facilities Management Services team to support them as they prepare the new contracts and supporting documents for their procurement. Together we’ll be engaging early with suppliers to understand how they’ll use the new simplified contracts.”

The project’s focus remains on working with CCS employees who create and manage contracts but, as work progresses, it will look to foster “a growing community of ‘good contract champions’” across government, according to GDS. 


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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