The challenge: reducing non-staff spending across the education sector by £1bn through a new innovative digital marketplace.

The project was a challenge where previous approaches had failed as they were too technology-led, resulting in expensive technology platforms with low uptake and poor outcomes. The key risk was thus creating another solution which would not meet user needs. Our approach was fundamentally different – we focused on engaging and co-creating with schools, harnessing innovative proven technologies and new business models and creating a modular, low-risk approach to the technology strategy.

“It has been an extremely rewarding experience where we have been able to learn from cutting-edge innovation from the private sector, which has had a real tangible benefit on public sector delivery”, DfE Policy Lead

We recruited a co-creation group of school users to explore needs through workshops and interviews and test and iterate the requirements and design. We iterated prototypes based on user feedback and re-tested the iterated website, resulting in a plan for the marketplace build, detailed personas, sitemaps and prioritised requirements.

Our detailed user engagement demonstrated that releasing these savings was only possible through addressing the key needs of both schools and suppliers, through driving mass uptake and engagement within the education sector and ultimately through creating a more effective, better functioning marketplace.