News article

Posted by PublicTechnology PM | on Wed, 06/03/2013 - 16:40  3192

G-Cloud team set to win Cloud First mandate for central government

The UK government is set to introduce a Public Cloud First policy across Whitehall departments in what appears to be a major victory for the G-Cloud programme team in the Cabinet Office. 

While the G-Cloud programme has just celebrated the first anniversary of its first framework arrangements, the UK government has not to date replicated the Cloud First mandate adopted by its US counterpart which requires Federal CIOs to give primary consideration to using Cloud solutions as a default. The mandate was recently reviewed, with a number of obstacles highlighted.

In December at the Business Cloud Summit in London, G-Cloud Programme Director Denise McDonagh made no secret of her desire to see a Cloud First mandate in place to increase public sector adoption. But Government CTO Liam Maxwell appeared less keen on the idea of enforcement. 

But today McDonagh revealed that a Public Cloud First policy document is on the desk of Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude for consideration and it seems likely to be accepted.

Central government only

The mandate would only apply to central government departments and agencies, not to local authorities or to other public sector organisations eligible to use the G-Cloud CloudStore,  such as the BBC, the NHS or charities. 

No timescale for the introduction of such a mandate has been given, but McDonagh reckons that there is sufficient support for the move.

"There is a general acceptance that we should be doing a Public Cloud First policy," she said. "There is a paper on Public Cloud First policy, which is with Francis Maude and will go to one of the next Cabinet committees to endorse.

"We can set a clear policy statement saying that you should look at Cloud," she added. "We’re not saying that everything the government ever does will be done through the G-Cloud. It may be done through a private Cloud or done on premise.

"But in order to move government more towards commodity buying, a policy such as Public Cloud First is an essential tool to make that happen.”

When asked if Maxwell had changed his mind about the suitability of a Cloud First mandate, McDonagh declined to comment, adding only: "You'd need to ask Liam."