CCS brings launch date forward by almost a year, with sources indicating Digital Outcomes deal may follow suit
G-Cloud 10 will open for business significant earlier than expected, with bids due to be invited next month, minister for implementation Oliver Dowden has announced.
The launch of the tenth iteration of the government’s flagship cloud services framework had not been expected until next year, after a 12-month extension to G-Cloud 9 – which will commence on 22 May – was agreed in late 2018.
But suppliers will now be invited to bid for a spot on G-Cloud 10 next month, with the framework due to go live in June.
Dowden said: “I’m pleased to confirm that we will re-let the G-Cloud framework, which provides opportunities to many small businesses in the digital sector. This will provide innovative online solutions to government, supporting the delivery of efficient, effective public services. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, so it’s crucial that we listen to them when shaping policy, as we have done today.”
G-Cloud 9 is one of five procurement vehicles that form Crown Commercial Service’s Digital Future portfolio of cloud and digital services deals. Two others – Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 and Cyber Security Services 2 – were also both extended by 12 months early this year.
Sources have indicated to PublicTechnology that Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 is also likely to invite bids from suppliers significantly earlier than previously expected, with a current targeted go-live date for the new framework of about July. We had contacted CCS requesting comment on that framework and were awaiting response at time of going to press.
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The extensions to the Digital Future frameworks came as CCS works with the Government Digital Service to build the Crown Marketplace, an Amazon-style online purchasing platform that will offer public-sector customers a comprehensive range of goods and services. The Crown Marketplace, which is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019, is expected to subsume the existing Digital Marketplace platform for purchasing cloud, consultancy and other services.
Explaining the extensions, CCS said that reiterating its Digital Future frameworks with such frequency “hasn’t always given us adequate time for the Digital Marketplace to be developed beyond simply the refresh of these agreements”.
Even with the launch brought forward significantly, the gap between the launch of G-Cloud 9 and its successor represents the longest time the framework has gone without being reiterated. Since the first G-Cloud went live in 2012, the framework has never gone longer than 10 months with launching a new and updated version. If G-Cloud 10 opens for business in June, it will be 13 months after the May 2017 start date for its predecessor.
Rob Driver, head of public sector at industry body techUK, welcomed the news that a new version of G-Cloud is imminent.
“For the UK government to deliver its ambitious vision of being world-leading in the next wave of digital government transformation, it must embrace the full diversity and strengths of UK tech suppliers, and innovative procurement vehicles such as G-Cloud will be fundamental to achieving this vision. The announcement of the G-Cloud 10 framework should be welcomed, as it allows new innovative providers to work with government, enables new services to be provided, and is an opportunity to engage with the wider public sector to make use of the framework.”
G-Cloud 9 offers services from a total of 2,856 suppliers across three lots: Cloud Hosting; Cloud Software; and Cloud Support. Public sector buyers can award companies call-off contracts of up to four years in length – an initial two-year deal, plus two optional one-year extensions.
Since the first version of the G-Cloud framework hit the market six years ago, a total of £2.85bn in sales have passed through its various iterations, recent government figures revealed. Almost £370m has gone through Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 and its various predecessors.
Of this cumulative total of more than £3.2bn, some 48% of revenue has gone to SMEs – equating to £1.44 out of every £3, the government said.