We held Digital Training and Support Framework Industry Engagement events, here is an overview of the themes and supplier responses.
What we did:
We held two Industry Supplier events in London on 26th August 2015 and in Edinburgh on 7th September 2015. Each event included a presentation, with an opportunity for suppliers (list of suppliers who attended, opens a PDF link) to have discussions and ask questions.
What we learnt:
Current market capabilities
We asked suppliers who are currently delivering assisted digital or digital inclusion services about how they currently operate.
Some suppliers operate nationally, but many only operate in one region or a smaller area within a region. Users tend to be older, or drawn from more vulnerable groups (or both) - on low incomes, with a disability, or with low skills.
There are a range of ways in which users access assisted digital services: at booked appointments in person, at drop-in centres, by phone, or by being visited in their home. Suppliers generally help anyone who gets in touch with them, but some assess the needs of their users to offer the most appropriate support. Many suppliers offer some form of general guidance about government services, along with help filling in forms (whether online or on paper).
Suppliers delivering digital inclusion service range from “training the trainers”, to designing and/or delivering bespoke training courses for users, to offering advice on broader behavioural change campaigns.
How can we make it easier for suppliers to bid?
Generally, suppliers felt that 6 to 8 weeks was sufficient time to respond to the invitation to tender. Nearly all would also consider bidding as part of a consortium.
Suppliers wanted all application forms which are easy to understand and easy to edit, with clear word limits. They would welcome clarification meetings once the tender documents have been published, particularly if this was an open dialogue.
Commercial aspects - payment and reporting
Currently, suppliers tended to receive fixed payments, but the nature of the payments varied considerably. There was typically an upfront payment and then further staged payments following the completion of certain milestones.
On reporting and feedback, services report on the number of users supported and how they have been helped. Most carry out satisfaction surveys, and user feedback is used as a measurement of effectiveness. Some suppliers have live dashboards which they push data to.
We will continue to provide updates through our blogs and will shortly be posting answers to commonly asked questions by suppliers.