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Stay Misty for Me: G-Cloud’s transparency called into question

Process ‘not suitable for procuring major bespoke IT systems’

"Conspiracy of non-compliance"

Calder said the instances of complex deals done via the G-Cloud raise serious concerns around transparency and whether it's fair to those suppliers who miss an opportunity to bid for projects that should be put out to competitive tender. He cites a "conspiracy of non-compliance".

Essentially, if a complex deal is pushed through the G-Cloud it could be less transparent than putting out a tender through the Official Journal of the European Union. At least under this route there is a more clearly defined invitation-to-tender process and a clear limit on how long the deal is supposed to last.

Mark Craddock, one of the original G-Cloud team, agreed that the use of the framework for complex IT deals is a clear breach of its original intention.

"The G-Cloud is about providing greater transparency through open pricing. What's needed is better education of suppliers and government department as to what's allowed," he said.

There's no doubt that the current government framework process is broken and works against the interests of SMEs; the controversy around the Digital Services framework is a case in point.

And in many ways the G-Cloud is the most transparent framework in government, in the sense that monthly spend data are published and prices are provided up front.

But as it continues to grow in size, it is worth asking how honest buyers - and suppliers - are being about what it's actually used for. Not to mention how much of a problem the instances of perceived market abuse are becoming. ®

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