DTA gives itself 'fail' mark for digital marketplace

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DTA gives itself 'fail' mark for digital marketplace

But only just.

The Digital Transformation Agency has given itself a "not pass" assessment for its own digital marketplace after it failed by one point to meet the criteria outlined in the standard it has set for digital government services.

The digital service standard lists 13 best practice criteria governments should meet with new or redesigned public-facing information and transactional services. It kicked in from May last year.

On Friday the DTA published the first "not pass" assessment report for the digital service standard, for its own digital marketplace.

The digital marketplace is a new approach to government buying for digital services, which offers a two-way portal in which agencies can post briefs on what they need for registered suppliers to bid on.

In February this year the DTA started expanding the portal from just digital service professionals to a full digital marketplace covering everything from recruitment services to software.

But the agency says the digital marketplace has failed its first beta assessment after missing one of the 13 criteria.

The review found "accessibility issues" meant the marketplace had failed to meet the ninth criterion, which requires all digital services to be accessible to all users "regardless of their ability and environment".

"The team are struggling to find digital marketplace procurement users with accessibility issues to help test the service," the review states.

"They are working hard to find creative solutions to the problem. Internal knowledge and expertise is a good start but it isn’t enough."

The digital services standard team's Jacqui van Teulingen said not passing the assessment should not be considered a failure.

"It’s a first attempt in our learning. Assessment enables us to have rapid expert feedback on how we are going against the standard and where the gaps might be," she said in a blog post.

The review recommended the DTA broaden its search for users with disabilities and test the service with real people to "to ensure [it] is actually accessible and usable, not just meeting formal requirements".

Once the ninth point in the standard is met, the digital marketplace will earn a pass mark, van Teulingen said.

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