G-Cloud 9 will have a new lot structure, more categories for services and give suppliers the ability to edit their own services, but the management charge will increase, the Government Digital Service has said.
The changes to the government’s cloud procurement framework have been made in response user research with both suppliers and buyers in an effort to make the service more attractive and easier to use.
They include shifting from running two iterations of the procurement framework in parallel to running just a single iteration. The Digital Marketplace team said this would offer more consistent information about all the services available.
This means that G-Cloud 9 will replace G-Cloud 7 and G-Cloud 8 and suppliers must apply for the ninth iteration to continue selling their services.
Buyers, meanwhile, will not be able to start new procurements for G-Cloud 8 services after the date that services are live on G-Cloud 9 and any G-Cloud 8 iterations must be complete by 28 July 2017.
There will also be an increased management charge, which has been driven by a change in the Crown Commercial Service’s funding model that was announced in its 2016-17 business plan. The charge will increase from 0.5% to 0.75% of all charges billed by the supplier to the buyer.
Further changes aim to make the framework easier to use, and include efforts to create a common language to describe services, after suppliers and buyers said that it was not clear what the other was using to define their services or requirements.
This will be used to create different categories that are more useful to both suppliers and buyers – a shortlist was consulted on earlier this month, and will be finalised soon.
“We hope this will give suppliers confidence that their services will appear within buyers’ search results,” Laura Flannery, a product manager at GDS said in a blogpost. “Suppliers will no longer need to rely on guessing which keywords match buyers’ search terms.”
There will also be a new lot structure for G-Cloud 9 that aims to address confusion among users, with three lots: cloud hosting, cloud software and cloud support.
GDS will also change the names and descriptions of services in each lot so they are more clearly defined, as well as the questions for each lot. This is following feedback from suppliers that called for the ability to better differentiate their services from those of their competitors, particularly around the security measures their service provides.
GDS said that the draft questions would be published later this week so suppliers can start preparing their answers before the applications open in March.
In addition, if a supplier has completed a G-Cloud 8 or Digital Outcomes and Specialists’ supplier declaration in an earlier application, they will be able to reuse and review those answers for the G-Cloud 9 application.
The new framework will also allow suppliers to edit information about their services online, allowing them to make sure they are always up to date – this functionality will be released on the Digital Marketplace before G-Cloud 9 is live.
GDS said it would share the legal documents for G-Cloud 9, setting out how they differ from previous iterations, in the coming week.