Public Services > Central Government

News in Brief - June 23

Neil Merrett Published 23 June 2016

GDS seeks a director for the Digital Marketplace as efforts get underway to support a "radical redesign" of its Digital Service Standard, Angus Council becomes latest authority to join SWAN


Digital Marketplace director recruitment underway

Whitehall hopes to appoint a director to oversee its Digital Marketplace platform along with the wider developments of frameworks such as G-Cloud as it moves to try and streamline technology procurement in the public sector.

The role has an anticipated annual salary of around £90,000.

"The postholder will be helping the public sector buy what it needs to deliver great digital services through frameworks like G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) and other routes to market that are designed to meet the digital and technology needs of buyers and suppliers," said the job advertisement.

Key aims of the role are expected to include ensuring further development of the platform to better tackle user needs, while ensuring the market provides departments and other organisations with access to "quality suppliers".

Other requirements include:
- Ensuring a fast, legally complaint system for end-to-end buying of digital and technology services
- Championing open standards and improved data use in procurement and contracting
- Back broader government reforms, such as Common Technology Services work

Once appointed, the Digital Marketplace director is expected to work alongside the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the Government Legal Department to consolidate further relevant frameworks onto the platform.

"The Digital Marketplace director will report to the chief technology officer and lead a team of 38 staff consisting of a mixture of civil servants and interims responsible for putting in place and iterating procurement frameworks to meet specific GDS needs," said the advertisement.

"This includes but is not limited to, GOV.UK Verify and Digital Training and Support frameworks. The team also provides digital and technology commissioning support for all GDS."

Interested candidates have until midday on July 4 to submit their applications.

Argus Council signs up to Scottish Wide Area Network

Angus Council has announced it has become part of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN).

SWAN, which has been devised a single network and common ICT infrastructure that can be used by organisations providing public services across the country, is delivered via a framework contract with Capita IT Enterprise Services.

Council strategic resource director Mark Armstrong argued that joining the network would support improved collaboration with other authorities and help meet its ambition of being a digital authority by the end of the decade.

An estimated 4,600 sites that includes school, hospitals, pharmacies and local authorities are expected to be linked with SWAN.

Discovery work commences for Digital Service Standard assessment redesign

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has expressed need for "radical redesign" of its Digital Service Standard assessment process to account for changing development needs across Whitehall and the wider technology industry as it runs a discovery phase

Writing in a blog post, GDS said it was now looking to bring together a team to consider how best to test and iterate new assessment standards as part of a pilot project that can be potentially scaled up for use by different departments.

The blog noted that when digital service assessments were launched in Whitehall, the concept of GDS and the exemplar service programme were very new, with a number of operational changes having taken place since then - requiring discovery work to look at possible areas to adapt the current strategy.

"Capability across government has grown at a staggering rate over the last two years. We want to make sure the assessments reflect this, while continuing to support excellent digital teams who are using the Digital Service Standards as their guide," said GDS.

"We want to ensure that how we assess services meets the needs of those who are developing them, as well as our needs. And started by working out what those needs are."

The government now wants to appoint a delivery manager for the service standards as it looks to implement shorter-term, smaller changes to tackle perceived issues with the assessment process.

The finalised service standards will also be required to function alongside other changes across Whitehall, including a refreshed service manual and Performance Platform, as well as a wider overhaul of the government digital strategy.

GDS said an open mind has been kept with the discovery work, including whether the assessment process should continue going forward.

"Fortunately, almost everyone we interviewed felt that assessments are vital to ensure high quality and consistency between services produced by different departments," said the blog.

"However, those who have been involved in more than one service assessment mentioned the difference in the mood. Some assessments felt like they were conducted in a collaborative and engaging way while some seemed more like an interrogation.

Initial findings from the discovery phase also noted that the current assessment process was found to work well with more sell-contained digital government services, but was seen as being more difficult to apply to platforms and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

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