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By | Kat Hall 14th March 2016 12:14

UK.gov says it's letting 1,000 SMEs push digital wares at civil servants

Except it's all, er, not quite ready yet. Come back later

The government has awarded 1,261 suppliers a place on its 'Digital Outcomes and Specialists' framework – intended to help mandarins better use SMEs in their efforts to become more digital.

According to the Cabinet Office, 92 per cent of the suppliers on the framework are SMEs, with 52 per cent new to the Digital Marketplace – the online buying portal for the public sector.

A number of usual the suspects appear on the framework, such as Accenture, Fujitsu and Capgemini, as well as smaller suppliers – including the unusually named user experience agency 'your mum'.

The Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework is a replacement for the widely-criticised digital services framework, which SMEs have blamed for merely "body shopping" their services.

However, suppliers itching to flog their wares to government will have to wait until mid April as the Digital Marketplace is not quite ready yet.

In a letter to suppliers last month, seen by the The Register, the Cabinet Office said: "When the framework opened for applications, we estimated that users would be able to buy and sell Digital Outcomes and Specialists services on the Digital Marketplace at the end of February. We now expect this to be mid April," it said.

Mark Craddock, former Cloud Store lead, questioned why the Digital Marketplace is not ready for the new framework.

"There is some irony in the fact that this is supposed to be a framework for agile services, yet the portal which was built using agile methods is not ready yet.

"It also means small businesses will miss out on millions of pounds, as departments typically spend a lot of money on projects at the end of the financial year." ®

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