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£11.5b in 10 years: UK's government cloud services unit G-Cloud – The Register


British readers who have only recently packed away the bunting commemorating the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II have been offered reason to get it out again by Crown Commercial Services, which is offering up the 10-year anniversary of G-Cloud as a cause for celebration.

The procurement wing of the Cabinet Office has also said that the commercial arrangement for aggregating demand for public-sector cloud consumption had netted £1.5 billion ($1.83 billion) in benefits for public sector customers.

Crown Commercial Services did not show its working on how it arrived at the calculation, and has yet to respond to The Register‘s questioning on the matter.

According to the announcement, more than 5,000 suppliers offer over 38,000 services to public-sector organizations through 10 years of the agreement “to aid their digital transformation,” Crown Commercial Services said.

Total spending via the agreement had hit £11.5 billion ($14 billion). More than 90 percent of all suppliers listed on the G-Cloud framework are SMEs, winning some £4 billion in public contracts, it said.

The next iteration, G-Cloud 13 – a framework which could be worth could be worth up to £5 billion ($6.58 billion) in its three-year lifetime – is due to go live later this year. It is expected that G-Cloud will help deliver around £200 million ($244 million) in commercial benefits this year alone.

So how has it done?

But G-Cloud might not be the unmitigated success Crown Commercial Services claims. The plan was to spend 50 percent of public-sector tech budgets on cloud services by 2015. That didn’t happen. There are still fears about moving to the cloud model, or so says Brit provider UKCloud.

And 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, Crown Commercial Services has also penned One Government Value Agreements (OGVA), a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AWS, Azure, GCP, and others.

Still, Cabinet Office minister Heather Wheeler offered praise for the commercial G-Cloud commercial arrangement.

The Conservative MP – who was recently forced to make a grovelling apology after suggesting Blackpool and Birmingham were “godawful” places – said: “It often goes unnoticed but initiatives such as the setting up and implementation of the G-Cloud agreement are exactly the sort of innovation this government is seeking to embed across departments.”

It remains to be seen whether the next steps from Crown Commercial Services will provide the piece of procurement engineering with the limelight it clearly thinks it deserves. ®



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