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Launch of G-Cloud 13: A New Milestone in Procurement of Public Sector Cloud Services in the UK

  • United Kingdom
  • Governments and Infrastructure

17-11-2022

Launch of G-Cloud 13

The G-Cloud 13 agreement (RM1557.13) went live on 9 November 2022.

This framework will gradually replace the previous G-Cloud 12 framework and will provide a route for UK central government departments and other public sector bodies to purchase commoditised cloud-based computing services, including many off-the-shelf and pay-as-you-go cloud solutions. The existing G-Cloud 12 framework will remain open for customers to call off services for two months after its planned end date, until 27 November 2022.

G-Cloud 13 will run for 12 months, with Crown Commercial Service (CCS) reserving the right to further extend the agreement up to a maximum of 12 months. The framework call-off term has been extended from 24 months (as it was under G-Cloud 12) to 36 months, with an optional 12-month extension.

What does G-Cloud 13 aim to achieve?

The new G-Cloud 13 framework aims to:

  • improve terms and conditions for the parties, with greater inclusion for the provision of day-rate cloud support and services;
  • incorporate the latest procurement policies, including on social value and prompt payment;
  • facilitate further ease of access to multiple suppliers and cloud services, including a higher number of SMEs;
  • be a quicker and easier route to market;
  • achieve scalability of services, flexibility in service provision and reduction in costs (including the cost of ownership compared to running services in-house);
  • facilitate access to the latest cloud technologies and innovation; and
  • improve pricing via further competition for cloud support services via Lot 4.

The G-Cloud 13 framework does not cover within its scope co-location services, non-cloud related services, bespoke design and development, hardware services and recruitment.

What is new?

(1) Introduction of a new fourth lot

Since G-Cloud 9 was launched in 2017, services under the G-Cloud framework have been classified into three lots:

  • Lot 1 Cloud Hosting (IaaS) and (PaaS): cloud platform or infrastructure services that can help customers to deploy, manage and run software, as well as the provision and use of processing, storage or networking resources;
  • Lot 2 Cloud Software (SaaS): applications that are typically accessed over a public or private network, e.g. the internet and hosted in the Cloud; and
  • Lot 3 Cloud Support: services that support customers to implement and maintain their cloud systems and hosting services.

G-Cloud 13 introduces a new fourth lot (RM1557.13L4 agreement). Whilst services under Lots 1 to 3 will continue to be offered via the Digital Marketplace for customers to search, shortlist and direct award contracts, Lot 4 under G-Cloud 13 will be separate, with procurement following a mini-competition process rather than service listing and direct award. More information and guidance in relation to which is expected to be published by CCS.

The scope of the new Lot 4 is the same as Lot 3 but is designed for larger, more complex requirements procured through further competition. The new Lot 4 will enable customers to procure services from providers who can implement larger-scale transition projects, from early business analysis through to migration, implementation and legacy systems integration. According to the FAQs guidance issued by the CCS, customers should consider using Lot 4 to further compete their requirements if the value is expected to exceed £250k.

(2) Guidance for customers and suppliers

CCS has published detailed guidance for customers and suppliers in relation to Lots 1 to 3.

For customers, the guidance includes a detailed 5 step process that customers must follow to ensure they adhere to a compliant process. This covers:

  • preparation to establish high-level requirements/service outputs and timescales;
  • searching and formulating a longlist of services;
  • filtering the longlist to a shortlist;
  • evaluation and selection; and
  • contract award

For suppliers, the guidance includes an explanation of the supplier contractual obligations in relation to:

  • MI: suppliers must provide a completed monthly Management Information (MI) report to CCS through the report management information system (RMI). Failure to submit MI reports three times within a six month period, will result in suspension from the framework;
  • Management Charge: suppliers must pay to CCS a management charge currently set at 0.75% of all charges (excluding VAT) invoiced to customers;
  • Assurance: suppliers must keep their service information on the Digital Marketplace up to date for the term of the framework agreement; and
  • Audits: suppliers may from time to time be subject to audits and are expected to use reasonable endeavours to provide audit information; and they must provide completed self-audit certificates to CCS within 3 months of the expiry or ending of the framework agreement.

G-Cloud framework background and future outlook

The G-Cloud framework, a government digital marketplace, has transformed cloud based procurement of public sector digital services in the UK and further facilitated access to government contracts. It has offered greater choice for customers to achieve the best value for money by providing an easier way to identify and procure solutions and service providers, without the need for an intensive and expensive tendering process.

This transformation, which commenced in 2012 when the first G-Cloud framework was published, has encouraged the public sector to adopt a ‘Cloud first’ approach to IT procurement. The latest launch of G-Cloud 13, completes a decade of such digital transformation. According to the CCS’s published figures, in its first decade, circa £13 billion worth of cloud services have been procured through the G-Cloud framework, with circa 40% of that spend awarded to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). The framework has enabled SMEs to compete against larger businesses on a level playing field by providing a successful mechanism for SMEs to list their services on G-Cloud and derive benefit from a direct award procurement process.

G-Cloud has witnessed significant uptake with central government buyers, whereas adoption by local government buyers has been more gradual. Tapping into the wider public sector, including local government sector, NHS trusts, universities, blue light services, devolved administrations etc. represents key future growth opportunities for the G-Cloud framework and the suppliers listed on it, which will no doubt be boosted by the latest launch of G-Cloud 13.