unzips, pulls out £100m wad for its favourite suppliers

Now if only civil servants could log into the CloudStore

The UK Cabinet Office says as much as £100m of public-sector IT contracts are now up for grabs for the 458 cloud services providers approved by Whitehall.

All the government needs to do now is teach IT buyers in the public sector how to actually use the newly launched G-Cloud 2 CloudStore, Blighty's online procurement mechanism shopping catalogue of kit and services.

It revealed just £2.28m was spent on the web bazaar in the first iteration between February and September.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude's merry band announced that, out of 662 expressions of interest received for G-Cloud 2, 458 suppliers were allowed in.

The initial level of interest to join G-Cloud version 2.0 was underwhelming, it had just 376 biz applicants compared to 600 in G-Cloud 1, but clearly some of the suppliers finally woke up.

"This second G-Cloud procurement builds in the success of the first. It will continue the transformation in how the public sector buys, manages, and delivers IT services," said Maude.

He said this will drive "greater efficiency and savings for the taxpayer" but with so little spent via the framework - 99 purchases to date - any savings will be pretty much immaterial. The 3,000 cloudy services offered by G-Cloud 2 include anti-spam systems, agile tools, simulation and training, and packages for servicing users' gadgets.

The framework runs for 12 months but there is scope for individual contracts to have a lifespan of up to two years.

The Cabinet Office was at pains to again point out how much it still loves SMEs, with 75 per cent of the suppliers on G-Cloud classified as small biz.

"The government is committed to supporting economic growth. Part of this is about levelling the playing field for small and medium-sized firms by making it smiler, quicker ands cheaper for them to compete for government," said Maude.

As reported by The Channel, some suppliers have already rounded on the G-Cloud complaining that the level of business on offer to date has been disappointing.

Denise McDonagh, G-Cloud programme director said in a canned statement the high number of SMEs in the framework means "government is moving away from dependent on a small number of large IT suppliers for IT services". But she didn't mention way it is changing the culture internally to encourage public sector IT buyers to head for the Cloud Store. ®

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