G-Cloud suppliers set for new flexibilities
The government is pushing forward plans to allow suppliers to amend the services they offer via G-Cloud without having to wait for new iterations of the framework.
Speaking at the 2014 Socitm annual conference in Manchester, Tony Singleton, director of the digital commercial programme at the Government Digital Service, said that he hoped to have the new system in place by next year.
He said that the government was looking at how new amendments to EU regulations relating to dynamic purchasing could be applied to G-Cloud at the earliest opportunity.
“We are talking to Treasury solicitors about how we can move to a dynamic system as soon as the law allows it," he told delegates.
Singleton was addressing a supplier in the audience who raised concerns that his business could lose work because it was unable to offer new services to meet customer needs if they were not listed on their G-Cloud entry.
The government has just closed a consultation on transposing the new EU Public Sector Directive into UK law.
The directive tackles a number of practical problems with the current dynamic purchasing rules which mean they have rarely been used.
Responding to another question, Singleton said that there were no plans to extend the maximum two-year contract call-off period through G-Cloud.
Nick O’Reilly, director of information systems at Derby City Council, told Singleton that the short contract length acted as a disincentive due to the costs of migration from legacy systems.
But Singleton said that those calculations needed to be considered at the end of two years when a council was deciding whether to stick with its existing G-Cloud supplier. Data held by the GDS, he said, showed that G-Cloud is driving down prices in the marketplace.
He also told the audience that GDS is looking at how to enable customers could get feedback on suppliers from other councils using their services.
A number of audience members raised concerns about the quality of some suppliers registered on the framework, with one saying “there are a lot of crap suppliers on G-Cloud – are these people government should be dealing with?”
Singleton said: “We are looking at creating a community. Not the Trip Advisor route – that could get us into legal difficulties. But we do want to do more to put buyers in touch with other buyers. Through collaboration, we can work out the quality suppliers.”
Finally, Singleton hinted that other government frameworks, such as Local Authority Software Applications, could be hosted on Digital Marketplace in future.
He said: “We are working very closely with the Crown Commercial Service, which is thinking about a new crown marketplace.
“We want to come up with a solution that makes the most sense for the user. We are working out what is the best way of servicing those other frameworks.”
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