Public Services > Central Government

Government announces 'Cloud First' procurement policy

Charlotte Jee Published 05 May 2013

Mandates central government to consider cloud solutions before all others when buying IT

 

The government has confirmed that it has adopted a 'Cloud First' policy, making it mandatory for buyers of IT products and services in central government to consider purchases through the cloud as their first option.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said that the policy will drive wider adoption of cloud computing in the public sector, boosting business through the G-Cloud programme's CloudStore, and ensuring the public sector buys IT in a 'quicker, cheaper, more competitive way'.

According to the Cabinet Office, as of now, when they buy new or existing services, public sector organisations should consider and fully assess potential Cloud solutions first, before looking at any other option.

A statement explained, "This approach is mandated to central government and strongly recommended to the wider public sector. Departments will remain free to choose an alternative to the Cloud if they can demonstrate that it offers better value for money."

Alongside today's announcement, the third iteration of G-Cloud (G-Cloud III) is going live today, with 708 firms offering over 5,000 services listed on the new framework- up from the 458 suppliers and 3,000 services on G-Cloud II when it went live last October .

Maude said, "Many government departments already use G-Cloud, but IT costs are still too high. One way we can reduce them is to accelerate the adoption of Cloud across the public sector to maximise its benefits.

"The Cloud First policy will embed the skills a modern civil service needs to meet the demands of 21st-century digital government and help us get ahead in the global race."

The policy has been under consideration for some time, with G-Cloud programme director Denise McDonagh suggesting at a roundtable in March that Maude was likely to give it the go-ahead.

McDonagh, who has long advocated a 'Cloud First' policy, said, "Sales from G-Cloud are rising steadily, with cumulative spend now over £18 million - two-thirds of it with SMEs. This is still small relative to overall government IT spend, and the transition to widespread purchasing of IT services as a commodity won't happen overnight.

"The adoption of a Cloud First policy will give added impetus for Whitehall and the wider public sector to move in this direction - complementing our ongoing work to encourage Cloud adoption and to help buyers adapt to this way of purchasing IT, which is already showing results."

US federal agencies have been operating with a cloud first policy since December 2010, and a number of other countries are believed to be considering instituting similar directives.








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