Version 7 opens on Digital Marketplace after supplier group complains about limits on scaling up from a procurement
The latest iteration of the G-Cloud procurement framework for cloud services has been opened for business amid concerns over rule changes possibly limiting public sector take-up.
The Cabinet Office confirmed that G7 has gone live on the government’s Digital Marketplace with the supplier list. It follows the closure of G5 – with the official website suggesting the latter is still live – and will run alongside G6 until the next version becomes available.
Cloud industry organisation Eurocloud UK has previously warned that some elements of the latest iteration of the G-Cloud are incompatible with the pay-as-you-go subscription model, and that these could discriminate against similar suppliers. Most notably, public sector buyers can only expand their requirement by up to 20% from the original before going back to retender.
At the time of the complaint, the Cabinet Office responded that the framework had been successful in giving small and medium enterprises a larger stake in supplying IT services to government, and that it would consider any feedback in trying to improve the framework. It has issued no further statement today.
But G7 has won approval from some suppliers. Deborah Saunby, sales and marketing director of Software Europe, said the framework has been simplified since the company’s previous successful submission in 2011.
“The online multiple choice questions made for a speedier completion, although there was still a couple of security questions that didn't seem to fit with the type of service we were applying for and were too ‘black or white’,” she said. “As a company with several cloud products, the new ability to copy products and services between sections also greatly aided in the overall submission process.
"We have returned to the framework now because we believe in the government’s commitment to helping SMEs deliver savings to the public sector through cloud technology.”
The main change compared with G6 has been that suppliers have been able to make submissions through one system rather than two, and the Digital Marketplace team has previously indicated that it was aiming to simplify the language used in the framework.
G6 is currently scheduled to end in February 2016, but there have been indications that its life could be extended to give suppliers more time to apply for G8.
Image by Wing-Chi Poon, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons