Public Services > Central Government

News in Brief – September 2

Neil Merrett Published 02 September 2016

Alpha phase of G-Cloud 9 to launch this month as discovery work continues, new information commissioner expected to take “more aggressive” compliance approach and Scotland announces ADDS framework awards


G-Cloud 9 go-live set for mid-2017

The alpha phase of G-Cloud 9 is expected to commence this month as discovery works continues to try and overhaul how the public sector procures cloud technology through the Digital Marketplace by the time the new framework is set to launch in the middle of 2017.

With the 8th iteration of the framework launching last month, the Government Digital Service (GDS) has been reviewing how G-Cloud 9 can best serve public sector procurement needs and whether the four existing service categories are sufficient.  These categories includes Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Specialist Cloud Services.

Detailing progress on the current G-Cloud 9 discovery work, a post on the Digital Marketplace blog said that the four classifications of cloud services - IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and SCS – were “not consistent” with the needs of users when looking to research and acquire services through the agreement.

“Some users are still not clear about how best to use the Digital Marketplace to buy cloud technology. For example, how buying works, or when and how to engage with suppliers. This is something we want to improve,” said the post.

Security was also highlighted as another key focus for the discovery work, particularly around how users are able to decide on acquiring secure technology.  This work is expected to look at how suppliers can also demonstrate their ability to meet security needs.

“We plan to start G-Cloud 9 alpha in September ahead of the framework officially going live in mid-2017. We want to speak to as many people as we can,” said the post.

With the cloud procurement review ongoing, the now live G-Cloud 8 has also been undergoing changes with regard to contracting.

Suppliers on the agreement were late last month being asked to agree to a “contract variation” that would implement minor changes, approved by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), that were not contained in the original agreement for G-Cloud 8.

“These minor changes make it easier for suppliers to work with government, and are contained in the proposed contract variation,” said GDS at the time.

Although seen by some procurement insiders as a relatively straightforward change, the contract amendments were understood to include agreeing not to do anything that may damage the public reputation of CCS.  Suppliers deemed to be causing material adverse publicity to CCS by an act or omission concerning their performance could find themselves having their agreement terminated.

ICO head Elizabeth Denham targets public service contractor transparency

The UK’s new information commissioner Elizabeth Denham has given her first major interview since assuming her role in July, hinting at a more aggressive approach to how authorities and organisations delivering public services are complying with the Data Protection Act.

Just under two months into replacing Christopher Graham at the helm of the Information Commissioner’s Office, Denham spoke to the BBC’s Martin Rosenbaum over her aims for the role and the potential of a tougher stance on compliance for Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

Citing sources with knowledge of the ICO’s work, Rosenbaum speculated that the new information commissioner would be more outspoken and aggressive towards organisations deemed not to be meeting obligations around data handling when compared to her predecessor.

A particular target was expected to be around the transparency of public services provided by contractors and how outsourcing is being undertaken.  In recent years campaigners and parties such as the Liberal Democrats, serving as part of a coalition government between 2010 and 2015, have sought to expand FoI in this area.

"Private contractors above a certain threshold for a contract or doing some specific types of work could be included under the FOI Act. The government could do more to include private bodies that are basically doing work on behalf of the public," she was quoted as saying.

Denham joins the ICO after serving as commissioner at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia in Canada, where she has reportedly garnered a reputation for taking a hardline approach towards transparency.

Kainos and Lockheed Martin awarded places on Scotland ADDS framework

The Scottish government has announced the award of a framework agreement to provide web, mobile and desktop application design and maintenance services. These awards have gone to a number of suppliers including Kainos and Lockheed Martin.

Known as the national Application Design and Development Services (ADDS) Framework, the agreement aims to support the aims of Scotland’s Digital First strategy by looking at service transformation, web-based application development and mobile application design.

Under the terms of the agreement, valued at up to £12m, suppliers will also provide digital transformation and data migration functions to support public sector and third sector organisations in Scotland with a single means of acquiring Application Design and Development Services.

The suppliers awarded contracts on the framework also include Pulsion Technology, PDMS, Informed Solutions, Horisk Leslie Development, Fujitsu Services, Digirati, Deloitte and Connect Internet Solutions.

The framework is expected to operate for an additional 24 month period, with an option to extend its lifespan for a further two years.

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