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Revealed: Details of new gov't IT buying framework "TS3"

TS3 features 253 suppliers, 161 SMEs, 5 lots, 3 call-off options

The UK's Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has revealed the latest version of a key framework for public sector ICT buyers -- with additional services and improved call-off terms in the Technology Services 3 framework, which launches in July 2021 and runs for four years.

A total of 253 suppliers -- an impressive 161 of which are SMEs -- made the cut for the framework, which lets prospective public sector ICT buyers post opportunities to TS3's five lots, meaning that all suppliers within that category can bid for the opportunity.

(Buyers can then evaluate, typically using "Most Economically Advantageous Tendering", and award the contract to the the supplier that best meets their requirements and costs.)

As with TS2, contract terms can stretch from two to seven years, but there are now three different versions of call-off terms baked into the framework.

These have been designed, a CCS spokesperson told The Stack, "to reflect different requirements and market needs across the TS3 lots and services. They also reflect additional government policies introduced since TS2 including the Outsourcing Playbook.

Technology Services 3 framework

Technology Services 3 framework is the result of considerable feedback both from the vendor and buyer community. CCS described it as "easier and more efficient" to use than TS2 and  "designed to help public sector buyers procure ICT services across the entire lifecycle; from strategy through to transition and operational deployment".

Philip Orumwense, Commercial Director and Chief Technology Procurement Officer, CCS said: "Technology Services 3 has been designed and developed using an extensive discovery and consultative process with many of our customers, suppliers, and partners.

"This framework truly reflects and represents their expectations and provides the platform for the country to build back better with the right mix of quality and innovative suppliers."

TS3: What's new?

Lot 4, covering major service transformations, has been simplified. Market feedback was that the previous security-focused sub-lots were confusing and restrictive, the CCS said.

These have been removed. Customers will now be able to specify these classifications across all lots in the TS3 framework instead. A new "Service Integration and Management (SIAM)" lot has also been introduced to "support customers looking to disaggregate the delivery of their technology services.

"By using SIAM, customers can manage multiple suppliers of services and integrate them to provide a single, business-facing IT organisation," the CCS emphasised.

The Lots will comprise:

Lot 1 – Technology Strategy and Service Design
Lot 2 – Transition and Transformation
Lot 3a – End User Services
Lot 3b – Operational Management
Lot 3c – Technical Management
Lot 3d – Application and Data Management
Lot 4 – Major Service Transformation Programmes
Lot 5 – Service Integration and Management

Many public sector buyers may continue to favour larger, more traditional systems integrators, but there is no shortage of forward-thinking CIOs and CDIOs across government looking to break a cycle of being locked into major contracts with the usual suspects that offer little flexibility, little control and too often seem to result in staggering levels of lock-in.