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CCS cancels Crown Marketplace tender, but says programme continues

The Crown Commercial Service has cancelled a tender for an element of the Crown Marketplace, but insists the programme continues as the organisation has made “important decisions” to clarify scope and focus

The future of the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) Crown Marketplace programme has come into question as the organisation cancelled a tender for the next stage of development of the project.

The Crown Marketplace programme aims to transform the way public sector organisations procure common goods and services through an Amazon-style platform.

However, CCS has cancelled a tender for parts of the programme. According to Spend Matters, the organisation cancelled a G-Cloud call-off competition, and told suppliers that had bid for the tender this was due to a change in focus.  

“Further to our recent communications regarding the G-Cloud call-off for the Crown Marketplace development phase, we have made some important decisions about the future of the programme,” CCS told suppliers, according to Spend Matters.

“This includes reviewing our scope and focus for the immediate future and, crucially, how we ensure that this work is fully integrated across our Crown Commercial Service teams to ensure successful delivery. Consequently, a decision has been made to focus – at least in the short term – on successfully delivering digital projects which are already under way ... reluctantly we have no alternative but to cancel the G-Cloud call-off competition in which you have been engaged.”

A CCS spokesperson told Computer Weekly the cancelled tender was only part of the Crown Marketplace, and that the programme was continuing full steam ahead.

“With the test phase of our Crown Marketplace programme now complete, we have taken some important decisions to clarify the scope and focus of the programme. We are sure that the original vision set out for Crown Marketplace is the right one, and this financial year we will be investing more than ever before,” the CCS spokesperson said. 

“We will now be focusing on a travel solution, a utilities switching service and a facilities management service – just a few of around 10 digital services designed to deliver excellent user experiences for our customers.”

The travel solution will include an online self-booking tool and an offline contact centre facility, according to the prior information notice.

Last year, CCS went live with an online purchasing platform, which currently covers office suppliers and the Technology Products 2 framework.

CCS came under fire recently, for delays to its 10th iteration of the G-Cloud Framework after it announced that the framework could be delayed by up to a year for “functionality improvements” to be made to The Digital Marketplace, where G-Cloud services get listed, putting the launch date back to March 2019.

However, in March 2018, procurement chiefs announced that the framework would launch in June 2018, and it has now gone live.  

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