Suppliers criticise UK government cloud service

Cloud SaaS

by Claire Vanner| 22 January 2014

G-Cloud needs to adapt to stay relevant

An open letter has been submitted to the Government Digital Service (GDS) by its 15 suppliers criticising its G-Cloud framework.

The letter outlines challenges facing suppliers on the G-Cloud framework, including the short length of contracts, the transparency of the CloudStore, the definition of cloud services, as well as education around the framework and security accreditation.

Mark Webber, Partner at law firm Osborne Clark, commented, "In order for G-Cloud to continue in the right direction, clear guidance around interpretation of contract terms to enable safe contracting is essential to ensure that all purchasers and providers are able to make the most of the opportunities available."

Signees of the letter, including CTO of Skyscape, MD of Datatank Ltd, head of public sector at Huddle and IT category manager at Westminster City Council, expressed concern about the general literacy of G-Cloud users.

The suppliers expressed the need for GDS to engage with buyers to establish what the G-Cloud Framework covers to increase understanding and promote safer contracting.

One of the more urgent matters to address was that of security classification. "Clear guidance is needed very soon: this will benefit the buyer, who may opt for an unnecessarily high (and costly) security wrap, and also the suppliers who have either invested or are investing heavily in PGA accreditation," the later stated.

It continued to state that CloudStore needed transparency to show the relationships between solutions, technologies and systems working together.

There were also concerns about the current length of the contract term, and recommended that GDS increase the maximum term to three years.

"We believe this would encourage the immediate take up of cloud services, allowing buyers to get maximum benefit from the market, without locking them into any given supplier or technology," the letter stated.

Simon Hansford, CTO of Skyscape Cloud Services, concluded, "We think that the topics we have considered are common to many, and that the improvements we have recommended as a group will facilitate the changes needed to streamline processes and reduce costs to support the UK public sector and, ultimately, UK citizens and taxpayers."

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