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By | Paul Kunert 10th July 2013 07:42

Government dials 999. What service do you require? DIGITAL

Open door policy to closed source. And SMEs, of course!

Government Procurement Services (GPS) has issued a cross public sector framework tender worth up to £40m over nine months for tech firms that can design, build and run digital services.

The framework organiser is looking for a maximum of 999 participants to provide software engineering and ongoing support, system administration and web operations, content design and development, and user research under the Digital Services agreement.

A number of roles will be embedded in government departments including technical architects, business analysts, network and security specialists and software developers.

The tender appeared in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and in keeping with the G-Cloud framework, suppliers can bid for shorter contracted work.

Unlike G-Cloud, the Digital Services framework is for bespoke digital services that answer specific needs of particular users rather than commodity off-the-shelf services, said the Cabinet Office

According to the OJEU notice, GPS wants "agile" suppliers who meet the Digital by Default Service Standards, which include putting the user at the centre; providing working software that is built and tested in "two to three week sprints"; iterate against user feedback; deliver improvements to a service promptly; and keeping a team in one location.

The framework will also favour open source developers for their "inherent flexibility…where there is no significant overall cost difference between open and non-open source products that fulfil minimum and essential capabilities".

Suppliers of all sizes can apply for a place on the framework, though it is de rigueur for Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude to talk up the involvement of SMEs in government business - 83 per cent of the suppliers on G-Cloud are small firms.

"We want to have a highly competitive market, access to innovation, and to drive growth by working with businesses of all sizes," said Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude in a canned statement.

Suppliers can apply for the framework until 7 August. ®

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