G-Cloud 9 to launch with revised 3-lot structure
Revised agreement to divide services into three main categories, Cloud hosting, Cloud Software and Cloud Support; management charge to use framework up from 0.5% to 0.75%
The latest iteration of G-Cloud will launch on May 22 with a new three lot structure designed to try and more clearly define the services being offered as part of ongoing reforms to the procurement framework.
With the launch of G-Cloud 9 later this year, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has announced it will be abandoning the previous four lots used to categorise services and replace them with the following classifications:
- Cloud Hosting
- Cloud Software
- Cloud Support
The changes were seen as being important to address confusion that the previous lots, defined as Specialist Cloud Services, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), were not an accurate representation of the current cloud technology market.
The framework, which is among a number of agreements hosted on the government’s Digital Marketplace platform, underwent an extended discovery phase last year designed to try and introduce more significant overhauls of how the public sector acquires commodity cloud services.
The resulting amendments will initially include dropping a commitment to run two consecutive versions of G-Cloud at the same time, as has been previously the case.
Both G-Cloud 7 and G-Cloud 8 will cease to operate beyond the launch of the ninth iteration of the framework.
The Cabinet Office has not confirmed if this may mean that G-Cloud 9 will be phased out immediately with the launch of a tenth iteration of the agreement.
However, it is understood that work was underway to look at options for operating just one version of the framework going forward. As it stand all suppliers featured either on G-Cloud 7 or 8 have been required to reapply for a place on the new framework.
Among other additional changes to be introduced, CCS announced that it would be increasing its management charge for use of G-cloud 9 to 0.75% of charges billed from a supplier to a buyer from 0.5% previously.
Writing in a blog post, CCS said it had also been made aware during research for the new framework that suppliers wanted to be able to provide more detail about services and solutions they offered, specifically in areas such as security.
New suppliers’ questions for each lot were therefore in the process of being finalised so that additional details could be provided to customers, while making it easier to search and make decisions on products.
“We’ve worked with experts in technology and security from across Government Digital Service (GDS) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to re-write the questions,” said the post. “We’ve iterated the questions based on feedback we received through user research. They’re now more specific to the technology being bought and aligned with the NCSC cloud security principles .”
Addressing additional concerns raised by suppliers about G-Cloud, CCS said it would be expanding the list of categories to describe the services on offer in order to ensure a more common language being used by suppliers and buyers. Improved online editing functions to update service descriptions will also be included.
Despite welcoming CCS’ commitment to revise and reform G-Cloud’s functions for its ninth iteration, a number of stakeholders, particularly from the supplier community, have previously expressed hope for wider reaching changes to cloud procurement as a result of the ‘discovery process’ for the agreement.
Some suppliers in particular had wished for more attention to be paid to issues such as the two year maximum contract length, local government uptake and whether off the shelf or even open source coding could provide a more effective platform than the Digital Marketplace.