The government has extended its G-Cloud deadline following the application of more than 500 businesses to its framework.
The £60m framework is intended to open up the public sector procurement market to more suppliers. Of the 532 expressions of interest the government has received to date, it said one-third are from SMEs.
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The initial G-Cloud framework will operate for six months and will include suppliers that pass the simplified assurance processes. Successful suppliers will form the first public sector ICT marketplace, which are expected to be available to all public sector buyers via the “Application Store”.
This will include services such as e-mail, word processing, system hosting, enterprise resource planning, electronic records management, customer relationship management and office productivity applications.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, said: “The G-Cloud is an example of government procurement changing. Rather than rigid requirements expressed in overly complex tenders, we are asking suppliers what they can offer and setting out our requirements in the simplest way possible.”
Stephen Allott, crown representative for SMEs, said: “SMEs have been considered at every point possible, and the excellent response shows it’s the right way to go – with hundreds of suppliers registering interest, many of them SMEs."
The response follows the recent announcement of a consultancy framework also intended to include more SMEs in government.
The extended deadline for the G-Cloud deadline is 19 December 2011.