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Tony Singleton spoke to attendees at the Cloud Expo conference in London this week

Tony Singleton spoke to attendees at the Cloud Expo conference in London this week

G-Cloud has the potential to offer savings of up to 50 per cent on a like for like procurement and around £23,000 in admin costs alone, said Government Digital Services director and head of the G-Cloud programme Tony Singleton.

Singleton, who was speaking at the Cloud Expo conference in London this week, said that while the procurement framework is not perfect it has made significant strides in the right direction.

“There’s no secret – there were issues with the last two iterations of G-Cloud,” Singleton said.

But the young programme, which aims to make government digital service procurement easier and level the playing field for vendors, has had its fair share of success.

There are currently 1,852 suppliers on the Digital Marketplace, 87 per cent of which are SMEs, and close to 20,000 services on offer through the cloud services store. The number of suppliers making sales through G-Cloud has more than tripled over the past 18 months (from 148 to 476), as has the number of SMEs making sales through the framework (from 106 to 375).

Overall, sales through the three-year old framework look set to reach the £500m this month.

GDS recently launched the Digital Marketplace, a one stop shop for cloud and specialist consulting services sold through the G-Cloud programme (the latest iteration of which launched in February), but it plans to add more digital services procurement frameworks over the next year. And about two thirds of sales through G-Cloud by volume go to SMEs.

He also outlined GDS’s strategy, released this week, to improve the programme over the next year.

“How do we actually build on that success?”, Singleton said. “How do we use the main features, the model of G-Cloud, and take that across into other frameworks in other procurement areas.”

He said the organisation needs to continue to increase awareness of the programme, get more IT and digital procurement frameworks onto the Digital Marketplace, empower users to go procure services without having to lean as heavily on third parties or system integrators – a big challenge in government, which has over the past decade outsourced a great deal of its in-house technical capabilities.

“Government has lost that integration bit,” he told BCN. “So we’re changing the landscape, by bringing in chief digital officers and similar senior roles to recruit back the people agencies need on board to bring that integration bit back in-house.”

“We also really need to reduce or mitigate the risk of a successful legal challenge when a buyer contracts with a vendor and gets caught out. That is one thing that comes up more than anything else.”

“The one thing that public sector buyers are more afraid of than anything else is doing something wrong or getting something wrong with a framework and then being open to legal challenge, and that legal challenge being successful,” he said, adding that GDS is coordinating a multidisciplinary initiative to ensure all of the frameworks are compliant and straightforward (i.e. smaller contracts) for buyers.

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