Procurement Essentials is a series of articles to help you overcome common hurdles, understand key concepts, and make your life as a buyer of everyday goods and services easier.

Published 5 August 2022

Last updated 10 July 2023

How to purchase through a CCS agreement: What is a DPS?

As explained in a previous article in this series, ​frameworks – otherwise known as agreements – help public and third sector buyers to procure goods and services from a list of pre-approved suppliers, with agreed terms and conditions and legal protections.

Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) are 1 of 4 types of agreements available through Crown Commercial Service (CCS). They are designed to offer customers a quick, easy and flexible route to market.  

Customers can then use a DPS to filter suitable suppliers, who have passed pre-arranged checks, based on a range of criteria and create a shortlist to invite to their further competition.

Visit our website to take a look at the DPSs we currently offer. 

Why do we create them and what are the benefits to public sector customers? 

A DPS functions in a similar way to traditional CCS frameworks in that it offers a range of services that are searchable, allowing buyers to filter and engage with the suppliers that offer the relevant goods and services they are looking for. It also offers those services on largely preset contract terms making the procurement process more efficient. 

However, it is the ‘Dynamic’ in the DPS that sets it apart from our other agreements. A DPS allows suppliers to join at any time, increasing competition and choice and meaning that it is open to new businesses, innovations and emerging technologies throughout the life of the DPS. In short, it is a marketplace that can continuously keep up with the evolving technology, offering the potential for the public sector to be able to rapidly access new capabilities much sooner than more traditional procurement approaches would do.

DPSs are easy to use and can reduce procurement times – a simple procurement can be initiated in just 10 days, significantly shorter than more traditional procurements which can often take months.  

DPSs are best for public sector organisations who are looking for standard goods and services or as innovative solutions in new and emerging markets. For example, local and central government bodies have seen a significant growth in cyber attacks in recent years, due to the increase in home working on unsecure networks. Using a DPS such as our Cyber Security 3 agreement helps them to access a dynamic pool of suppliers who are growing and evolving with the market and therefore more likely to have innovative solutions to emerging cyber threats. 

DPSs don’t work for anyone looking to make a direct award or order a specific product or service from a catalogue, where there is no need for further competition. 

Our DPSs are designed to support businesses of all disciplines, sizes and regional location. For example, some have a specific location filter which enables suppliers to indicate which regions they can provide services in so that they can be included in the filtered search of customers in a particular area. This enables local specialist suppliers to offer goods and services to public sector buyers, helping to level the playing field for small and medium sized enterprises.

How to access the DPS Marketplace as a buyer

The DPS Marketplace provides access to all CCS DPS agreements. It can be used to shortlist suppliers to invite to tender and to request evidence from the winning supplier. To use it you must first be authorised as a public or third sector buyer or supplier so that you can register to access the DPS.

Firstly, scroll down the home page to see a list of the various DPSs currently on offer, click ‘access as a buyer’ and follow the instructions. You’re now ready to start shortlisting suppliers for your procurement by selecting the filters that best meet your requirements. The more filters you choose the fewer suppliers will appear. Suitable suppliers will then appear in alphabetical order and you can now download these as a spreadsheet. You are then ready to invite suppliers to your competition.

A YouTube video on how to use the DPS Marketplace is also available.   

Top Tip 1: Always read the customer guidance document for the DPS that you are using before commencing your further competition. 

Top Tip 2: it’s best practice to conduct compliance checks on the winning supplier before you award your contract. As part of this you can ask the winning supplier for the evidence they submitted in order to join the DPS.

This may include:

  • Customer references
  • Contract examples
  • Insurance certificates

Find out more

Download our latest digital brochure for the latest information on our agreements and how we can help you add power to your procurement.

More: You can now find all of our Procurement Essentials articles in one place on our website