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Government frameworks not working for SMEs, says G-Cloud director Chris Chant

Kathleen Hall

The government needs to develop a frameworks policy that makes it easier for SMEs to do business with the public sector and Whitehall more efficient in rolling out its IT, according to G-Cloud director Chris Chant, who is to retire this week.

Asked at the Socitm Spring Conference how the framework process could be simplified for SMEs, he said: “My advice is don’t do anything with the other framework contracts – just do it with the G-Cloud.”

He said: “A strategy for frameworks is needed and we don’t currently have one. I’ve sent an e-mail to the Cabinet Office procurement team asking for one.”

Chant also revealed that the next version of the CloudStore will be released in the second week of May.

He said 30 services had already been bought on the first CloudStore, ranging from a few pounds to £1m. He said there was interest from across government.  

Around 40% of the services don’t require accreditation, with the G-Cloud team currently working with 37 suppliers which represent 200 services to get accreditation, he said.

One organisation in Ireland found a service it wanted to procure by browsing the CloudStore, which it had to then buy directly from the supplier. 

“That is a side-effect that we weren't anticipating,” he said.

Chant said a one size fits all approach to IT wouldn’t work in the public sector and said it was never the intention that all government IT would go in the cloud. 

“But for standard services it will make a lot of sense and release a huge amount of money – it’s all that other stuff that I want to get rid of,” he said.

Asked what advice he would give Denise McDonagh, the next government G-Cloud director, he said: “Denise just needs to be Denise. 

"She’s done a fantastic job already and is perfect for this.”

 


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