G-Cloud moved across to GDS at the beginning of June. This ground-breaking way for the public sector to buy IT services as commodities was set up by Chris Chant, and then later implemented more fully by Denise McDonagh and her team. Since taking it on we've been reviewing G-Cloud, and I want to share our thoughts on where we want to take the programme.
So what have we been up to?
The Major Projects Authority annual report highlighted some concerns about how the G-Cloud programme was resourced. I'm pleased to say that we now have the budget we need to make sure this programme of work continues; and we've appointed a team that's nearly double in size.
The team will focus on working with the Government Procurement Service (GPS) to help and advise suppliers already on G-Cloud, as well as potential suppliers in the future. It will also continue to work with government and the wider public sector to raise awareness of the programme and its benefits; and it will help government departments understand and use G-Cloud so that they meet their commitments under the public Cloud First policy.
The next iteration of the supplier framework - G-Cloud 4 - will be issued as planned, with the OJEU notice published by the end of July, and services being available on the CloudStore by the end of October.
And what’s next?
In her final blog post, when Denise said that G-Cloud had moved to ‘business as usual' she was both right and wrong. Certainly, our ambition is for the use of G-Cloud to become routine – the default route for public sector purchases of commodity IT services. But that doesn’t mean we're being complacent. We are not going to let G-Cloud stand still. Like everything else that GDS does, the G-Cloud team is driven by user needs. Just as technology moves relentlessly on, the needs of buyers and suppliers won’t stand still.
We'll carry out a full product review, which will:
- identify the user need - both in terms of public sector buyers and their suppliers
- look at what government departments are buying that should be on the G-Cloud but aren't yet
- provide clarity on the differences and overlaps of G-Cloud and the Digital Services Framework with clear guidance for buyers and suppliers, ensuring there's no duplication of services
- define a robust and auditable set of measures for both savings and spend
- using feedback from suppliers and buyers, identify how we continue to improve CloudStore functionality and usability in both the short and longer term
I'll keep you posted.