Public sector suppliers have praised the Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) framework, with one admitting things are going so well that he has had to "eat a fair amount of humble pie".
DOS was launched earlier this year as a replacement to the Digital Services framework, which was widely criticised for "bodyshopping".
Suppliers have reflected on the framework, giving it the thumbs up overall ahead of the next version of DOS, which is due next month.
In a post on LinkedIn entitled 'Why we love the DOS framework', Chris Farthing, managing director of AdviceCloud - which helps suppliers get on government frameworks - said the latest version is much improved compared with its predecessor.
"It's relatively straightforward to get on - although we had contact from someone who did fail to get on," he said. "Contrast that with its predecessor Digital Services 2 and you will understand the smiles. The contract terms are in plain English and are not onerous [which is] wonderful for an SME. Opportunities are posted in the open. That's right - in the open. Not behind closed doors or in dusty Whitehall backrooms.
"There is a real sense of participation in this - feedback is acted upon and while not all the suggested improvements are immediate, they do seem to be being enacted. The focus on user needs is very evident here for us.
"So a very big well done to the Digital Marketplace and Crown Commercial Services teams for yet again introducing a truly ground-breaking piece of procurement and delivering a product that really does keep everything ppen, fair and transparent. Please keep it up. When things are this promising I'm happy to chew on some humble pie."
"It is much, much, much better than the Digital Services framework, and it's a step in the right direction"
At the start of last year, suppliers on the now-defunct Digital Services framework spoke out, branding it "failed" and "flawed". One of the framework's biggest critics was Harry Metcalfe, managing director of supplier DXW.
He told CRN that the DOS framework is a big improvement.
"It is much, much, much better than the Digital Services framework, and it's a step in the right direction," he said.
"One thing which is particularly good for us is the public listing of opportunities. It is very straightforward to watch that and to express interest in things. The information we're getting about opportunities is much better. It's much better when the buying team enter into the spirit of what the questions mean.
"There is still room for improvement in what happens after that - there is a pretty gnarly spreadsheet used for providing evidence you can do the things you've said you can do. This idea that you can say in one place that you can do something, then if you write some more words [elsewhere] it proves it, doesn't really stack up. But I am sure it will get better.
"We've done a bit of work through it and once you're doing things, the framework fades into the background.
"Digital Services was dreadful and it was focused around bodyshopping a team into an organisation. There was no context about the desired outcomes. This one is focused on achieving something.
"If someone wants to spring an expert into their team, they list it as a requirement for a specialist, and if they want a team they list it as a requirement for an outcome. That distinction is totally clear and we don't have that lack of clarity anymore. The format for explaining the job is quite carefully thought out and they are good. Not every buyer does a good job of answering, but when they do, you do have a lot more to go on."
When contacted by CRN for comment, the government provided information from a blog which is set to be published this week. In the note, it said in the first five months, 310 opportunities have been posted through the DOS framework, giving government buyers access to more than 1,200 suppliers.
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