The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has made a u-turn on its decision to hold off submissions for the G-Cloud 10 framework for 12 months, announcing that a new version of the framework will now be open for bids in April.
In November, CCS had said that a new version of the G-Cloud framework would be delayed by a year, meaning that a new iteration would not have gone live for two years, prompting dismay from suppliers.
It was thought that CCS was working on a new version of the Digital Marketplace and it said that the new G-Cloud framework would introduce “consistent, standard yet flexible contracting model options”. It’s not clear whether or not the new Digital Marketplace platform will go ahead.
Back in November, CCS said that the decision to extend G-Cloud had “not being taken lightly”, but that it would “allow time for CCS and GDS to deliver a revolutionary transformation to the platform to meet more user needs”.
At the time, the move prompted a backlash from the supplier community, which rightly argued that two years was a long time for government buyers to wait for innovations to be introduce, for price reductions (which are common in cloud services) to not be factored in, and for new suppliers to be excluded from the market.
A two year wait is also a far cry from the founding principles of the G-Cloud framework, which aimed for iterations every six months.
Diginomica/government had been told that there was talk of suppliers considering legal action over the move.
In a blog post today, CCS said companies will be able to big to join the framework from April and that G-Cloud 10 could eventually be work £600 million.
Oliver Dowden, the recently appointed Minister for Implementation, who is responsible for the digital and technology agenda, 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.
Rob Driver, Head of Public Sector at Tech UK, the industry trade body for technology companies across the UK, said:
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.
The current version of the framework has 2,856 suppliers, over 90% of which are SMEs.
The supplier community will breath a sigh of relief at the announcement. And ultimately it’s good news for buyers that will get access to the latest services and suppliers that the rest of the private sector market has access to. It’s unclear what this means for CCS’ plans for a new Digital Marketplace platform, or whether the G-Cloud framework is still under review. But we always argued that the two should not be mutually exclusive. There’s no reason G-Cloud 10 could not go ahead, whilst CCS assessed its broader strategy.
Image credit - Via pixabay