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Gov Applications Store prototype due next year

'G Cloud to bring public sector IT savings'

The first services to be offered through the Government Applications Store (GAS) are expected to become available at some time next year.

A Cabinet Office official has said that work on the G Cloud and the GAS is continuing despite a lull in the months after the general election.

The G Cloud will provide an internet environment with storage and applications services developed specifically for the public sector, with the latter being made available through the GAS. It is one of the prime features of the government's draft IT strategy.

Andy Tate, deputy director of G Cloud, Applications Store and Data Centre Rationalisation, was speaking at the Guardian/Kable Driving Efficiencies in Public Sector IT conference on 30 September 2010. He said the high level design of the G Cloud was completed in May, but that work has moved slowly since the general election.

"We are now challenging what we think are the difficult sticking points to make things happen, things like the commercial arrangements, and working with our colleagues in the CESG (the national information assurance authority) and have this embedded in the programme. We are making good progress in these areas," he said.

The Cabinet Office expects that early next year it will be able to publish guidelines on how these issues should be addressed, and develop a handful of initial applications for the Government Applications Store. While no firm timescale has been worked out, Tate said there should be a prototype of the service in place some time next year.

He also said there could be clouds providing services for specific business groups in the public sector, and in response to a question from a conference delegate said he could not see any tension in the development of clouds for public services in Scotland and Wales.

Tate added that services available on the G Cloud would not necessarily be provided only by the private sector, but that the government also wants to use "trusted elements of the public sector portfolio". It will be able to handle data up to IL3 levels of information security, accounting for about 85 per cent of the total held by the public sector. The remaining 15 per cent will have to remain within organisational networks.

"The G Cloud potentially supports the greatest transformation in public sector IT for the past 20 years," he said, adding that similar services have provided savings of up to 65 per cent for big private sector organisations.

"We believe the G Cloud can bring savings of up to 30% per year in operating costs for public sector ICT, and can change the balance between operational spending and investment," he said.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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