G-Cloud founder voices procurement worries

G-Cloud founder Chris Chant today said much more needs to be done to encourage the public sector to improve its approach to procurement.

Speaking four years after he first slammed government ICT procurement in his role as Cabinet Office executive director of the G-Cloud, Chant said improvements were still required.

Now a director at technology consultancy Rainmaker Solutions, he laid out a raft of criticisms he said need to be addressed to achieve the framework’s full potential.

Speaking at the THINK Cloud for Government 2015 event in London, Chant said: “There are still too many examples of bad practice, too much adherence to the influence of the systems integrators and not enough adoption of agile, iterative and efficient services available through frameworks such as G-Cloud.  So much has changed, so much has been done, but we still need to speak openly about the need for change and what is still wrong.”

He added that government bodies need to meet payment promises ministers made for small firms, and that buyers across government still needed to be educated about the benefits of G-Cloud.

Chant said: “Create showcases and publish them widely. Create platforms for open collaboration between buyers and suppliers.  And put the Digital Services Framework under Government Digital Service where it belongs.”

Chant’s colleague, Rainmaker founder and former G-Cloud team member Jan Joubert also weighed in.

He said that G-Cloud is not widely adopted outside of central government, and criticised councils for continuing to sign 10-year contracts with suppliers.

Joubert said: “The first thing we need to do is propagate the G-Cloud and Digital Agenda properly right across government.  It is not good enough to contain it to central government and hope for the best.”

He added that transferring responsibility for G-Cloud to the GDS would help make it easier for new suppliers to enter the market.

“GDS must be the force that drives Francis Maude’s ‘cloud first’ mandate, not just into central government but into the wider public sector as well – as a priority,” he added.

The comments came a week after the government announced the suppliers which have been selected for the sixth iteration of the G-Cloud framework.

Colin Marrs

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