Government buyers have been hit with a delay to a landmark framework which means they will be unable to procure from it until the middle of April.
The Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) framework was due to go live on Monday, but in a blog post, the government said this has been delayed until "mid-April".
The launch of DOS is eagerly anticipated by some government suppliers because it acts as a replacement to the divisive Digital Services Framework. The latter project was killed off at the end of last year after some suppliers joined forces to complain about the framework last February.
Suppliers claimed that the Digital Services framework procured IT in a way which only considered a provider's individual staff skills, not what the company as a whole could offer. The dispute partly led to the framework's demise and the consequent creation of DOS.
The government did not give an explicit reason for the delay, but in its blog it mentioned it wants to "make sure we meet the user needs".
"Working on the buying journey and building the minimum viable product has been our priority since the framework opened," it said.
"We've been testing prototypes in our weekly user research sessions and iterating in response to the feedback."
Harry Metcalfe, managing director of Digital Services framework supplier dxw – one of the suppliers which complained about the project last year – said that a delay is not necessarily a problem.
"It's unfortunate, but it is absolutely better they have the time to get it right," he said. "I think [DOS] looks very good. The process looks much better, getting on it was much better and it gives buyers the freedom to access bids however they want, which is nice. It's very promising and I can't wait to see how it goes."
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