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£5bn up for grabs in UK govt G-Cloud 13 framework

Latest iteration of procurement in model dating back to 2011, how has that cloud first policy gone?

The UK government is launching a set of deals for cloud services and software which could be worth up to £5bn ($6.58bn).

Under the auspices of G-Cloud 13, the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) – a central government procurement body – has launched the tender for a range of technologies under the fluffy eponymous computing model.

The contracting authority, a special unit within the Cabinet Office, has published two procurement notices which describe a framework agreement for G-Cloud services, an arrangement within which providers can offer services under a fixed set of prices and pre-conditions. Although £4bn is the maximum investment possible under the framework, there is no guarantee the government will spend that figure.

Contracts resulting from the framework can be signed for up to three years, with an option to extend for a year. The framework agreement itself lasts a year with an option to extend for another.

The framework is divided into lots covering cloud hosting (£750m), cloud software (£750m), and cloud support (£2.5bn), according to a tender notice. The fourth lot for services such as setup, migration, and security is advertised under a different notice and worth up to £1bn.

G-Cloud dates back to the 2011 launch of the UK government's cloud computing strategy. Speaking in 2012, Denise McDonagh, then Home Office director of IT, said G-Cloud was a government procurement service run by Bill Crothers, the former government chief procurement officer who became part of a lobbying scandal.

UK government then introduced a cloud first policy for all public sector buyers in 2013, asking them to consider venturing down the cloud route before looking at on-prem alternatives. The plan was to spend 50 per cent of public sector tech budgets on cloud services by 2015. That didn't happen. There arte still fears about moving to the cloud model, or so says Brit provider UKCloud.

While G-Cloud can support deals for a gamut of UK public bodies including central government, local government, the police and the NHS, those same bodies also have access to memoranda of understanding signed by the big name cloud providers.

Dating back to 2020, CCS has also penned One Government Value Agreements (OGVA), a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AWS, Azure, GCP, and others.

The agreements mean that all purchases by public-sector organisations will be treated as though they are made by one large enterprise client, but does not necessarily cut out resellers, some of which are keen to get involved. IBM, HPE, and UKCloud have also signed up to the MoU. ®

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