Latest iteration of the procurement framework ends a prolonged discovery and consultation phase that has abandoned running concurrent versions of the agreement
G-Cloud 9 has gone live today with 2,847 suppliers included on the framework as the Crown Commercial Service (CSS) pushes forward with significant reforms to the procurement agreement it first launched in 2012.
The new agreement, which is used to provide public sector organisations with cloud commodity services, has undergone several changes with the aim of providing a more flexible maximum contract length, as well as ensuring only one version of G-Cloud is in place at a time. However, it is not known at present how many of the suppliers included are classed as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as part of government commitments to broaden the ICT supplier base.
By the time the deadline for G-Cloud 9 applications closed last month, a total of 2,856 entities had completed the process for the latest iteration of the agreement. This came amidst some supplier concerns about the additional amount of work required to gain a place on the agreement. Based on the government’s own figures , an estimated 4,268 suppliers had started the application process for G-Cloud 9.
Several stakeholders have nonetheless broadly welcomed some of the changes to the framework application process, which is seen as creating more work for suppliers, but allowing for more personalised and detailed service descriptions in order to gain business.
After a discovery phase that aimed to introduce more sweeping reforms to the arrangement, G-Cloud 9 is designed to provide a revised lot structure that will cut the previous four service categories down to three:
– Cloud Hosting
– Cloud Software
– Cloud Support
It is also intended to allow for two separate 12 month contract extensions beyond the maximum two year limit associated with the framework. Restrictions on these extensions will apply for Whitehall bodies.
While earlier iterations of G-Cloud were designed to run parallel with the previous version of the agreement by design, this latest iteration will run as a single framework, requiring all aspiring and existing suppliers to have registered to offer services.
Considering the possibility of less frequent updates of the framework – potentially confined to a single update each year – one major supplier has warned of the potential issue of suppliers finding themselves locked out from supplying government for at least 12 months.
Based on the last update of figures for G-Cloud, released in December and amended a month later, total spending through the agreement up to October 2016 was recorded at £1.57bn.
The spend figures, previously provided on a monthly basis, are yet to be updated for the remainder of last year, as well as 2017.