AWS environment is ‘best fit’ for Crown Marketplace, minister claims
Oliver Dowden adds that award of hosting deal to Amazon represents only 5% of total amount being spent on new procurement platform
Credit: Kris Tripplaar/SIPA USA/PA Images
An Amazon Web Services public cloud environment is the “best fit” for the Crown Marketplace platform, according to minister for implementation Oliver Dowden.
A newly published contract award notice reveals that, last year, AWS was handed a £72,000 two-year deal to host the Crown Marketplace platform currently being developed by the Crown Commercial Service and the Government Digital Service.
A written parliamentary question posed last week by shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett asked whether “any other firms had bid to win the contract”.
In response, Dowden said: “This contract was a direct award under the G-Cloud 10 commercial agreement. As such, no suppliers ‘bid’ for this contract; an assessment of suppliers’ service offerings was made following a compliant search through the Digital Marketplace.”
He added: “A contract was awarded to the supplier whose services best fit CCS’ needs, in accordance with the G-Cloud guidance.”
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Trickett also asked about whether meetings with CCS prior to the contract award were attended by any AWS employees who formerly worked as civil servants, or who currently served the government in an advisory capacity.
“No meetings were held with AWS outside of the formal contract award process,” Dowden said. “There was no consultation with, or involvement by AWS, regarding these requirements, nor are any AWS employees contracted to the Crown Commercial Service.”
The minister for implementation added that the value of the hosting contract represents only “5% of the total investment cost of developing digital access to CCS’ products and services”.
Dowden said: “No development work or support services are provided by AWS in relation to the services that are hosted.”
Crown Marketplace is intended to take the platforms and processes of the Digital Marketplace and apply them at much greater scale, to create an online platform through which the public sector can procure a comprehensive range of services.
Plans to create an “Amazonesque” procurement portal for government were first unveiled more than three years ago. Since then, plans for the construction of the Crown Marketplace have changed several times, but CCS is now set to push ahead with the creation of a single online platform to serve suppliers and buyers across five major commercial agreements.
Further contracts may be added to this platform in due course, but new platforms could also be built to support other agreements.
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