Government: More must be done to promote G-Cloud

Cloud SaaS

by Joe Curtis| 05 June 2014

Cabinet Office says awareness must improve after county councils spend less than 1% of IT budgets on G-Cloud.

The Government has admitted that "more needs to be done" to promote G-Cloud after county councils spent less than a tenth of a percent of their collective budget through the framework.

G-Cloud was launched in 2012 to make public sector IT contracts more competitive by opening them up to SMBs, but 26 county councils collectively spent just £385,000 of a possible £440m via the framework in 2012/13.

And the data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by IT security group Bull Information Systems, prompted the Government to concede that it must do more to persuade public organisations to use G-Cloud.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office told CBR: "We know more needs to be done to raise awareness of its potential and encourage use. Only then can organisations benefit from access to the most innovative, cost-effective solutions by a wide range of suppliers and pass these savings on to the taxpayer.

"For our part, we will continue improving G-Cloud, making it easier for suppliers and buyers to use." He added that more councils than ever are procuring IT services via G-Cloud, but CBR is awaiting a specific number.

Oxfordshire boasted the largest G-Cloud spend, with services via the framework costing £154,911.

But Hampshire County Council had the biggest IT budget, at £38m, with 398 IT staff, yet spent nothing via G-Cloud.

However, the council's CIO, Jos Creese, responded to the figures in CBR's sister publication, Government Computing, on Tuesday.

He wrote: "The report ignores year on year spend. Hampshire, for example, had one of the highest G-Cloud spends in 2012 (on capital), but we are now not buying so much as a result of public service cut-backs.

"Yet Hampshire has made and will continue to make significant use of the G-Cloud, supporting its development from the outset and working directly with suppliers and the Cabinet Office.

"We expect to see its use increase as it offers new and more flexible ways of contracting for IT goods and services."

He also said the service had room to improve, however, calling for greater flexibility over the duration of contracts.

Bull Information Systems CEO, Andrew Carr, claimed the figures demonstrated G-Cloud was flawed.

"There are too many barriers to uptake," he said, adding long-term contracts with large suppliers were tying councils' hands, while public sector staff lacked experience in procurement.

The news comes after CBR reported on claims that public sector buyers have taken to searching Google for service providers after finding G-Cloud's search function to be lacking. Improvements are expected in autumn.

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