Government releases G-Cloud 6 tender
The Crown Commercial Service has published details of how suppliers can apply to join G-Cloud 6, which will be hosted on the new Digital Marketplace platform.
The new iteration of the framework could be worth up to £200m, according to the tender.
And it is expected that it will attract more than the 1,517 suppliers currently on the framework – 88% of whom are small and medium enterprises.
Naureen Khan, associate director of central government and education at suppliers organisation TechUK told PublicTechnology: “In conjuction with the Government Digital Service we recently held briefings around the country, including one-to-one sessions, for new entrants into the sector.
“There are thousands of suppliers out there. It was great to see GDS going out to the market and we expect lots more suppliers to join this time round – particularly SMEs.”
A Cabinet Office spokesman confirmed that the next planned refresh of the framework would take place in between six to nine months. But the Cabinet Office has confirmed that the current iteration has come too early to make use of new plans to enable the framework to make use of emerging new rules on dynamic purchasing.
Some suppliers have recently complained that it is difficult to add new services, or for new entrants to join, in between iterations.
Speaking at the 2014 Socitm annual conference in Manchester, Tony Singleton, director of the digital commercial programme at the Government Digital Service, said 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.
Neil Mellor, marketing director of supplier body PSNGB, said: “PSNGB would strongly welcome an early adoption in the UK of EU regulations that allow dynamic procurement.
“The IT and Communications marketplace is developing more rapidly than ever and it’s important both that new entrants can supply the public sector and that existing suppliers can introduce new products and innovation without waiting for a new framework.
“Dynamic purchasing could help promote competition, refresh G-Cloud and invigorate the Public Services Network, making both even more attractive to users by enriching the available pool of new services.”
ICT consultancy Regency today also called for further changes to the framework, saying that it is failing to support information assurance procurements due to an excess of choice and a lack of consistency between supplier offerings.
Philip Harding, principle consultant at Regency said "Suppliers have ended up listing lots of catalogue items which compose their services in inconsistent ways, so whilst there are lots of search results, they are not comparable".
He added that the move from formal accreditation to the new self-certification security regime means suppliers will have to work even harder to guess the services the buyers want.
The closing date for submissions to join the framework is 17 December, with the framework expected to go live by February.
Suppliers on previous versions of G-Cloud are not being pre-loaded onto the new Digital Marketplace platform and are being encouraged to resubmit their services to benefit from a new data structure, aimed at making services easier to find.
Executive director of the Government Digital Service Mike Bracken said: “We are developing a whole new way of buying digital. Modern services need to be continually iterated and improved to meet users' needs. And we need a platform that allows us to flexibly commission what we need to deliver those services, drive down cost and drive up value.
“The Digital Marketplace demonstrates that we can build a service that meets these needs and allows government to work with a wide range of innovative suppliers of all sizes."
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