G-Cloud framework the model of the future, says Liam Maxwell

The G-Cloud should be held up as a model for how to do frameworks in government, according to deputy government CIO Liam Maxwell

The G-Cloud should be held up as a model for how to do frameworks in government, deputy government CIO Liam Maxwell has said.

The comments follow moves by the Cabinet Office to freeze all new procurement frameworks, as part of its review of the efficacy of framework agreements for SMEs.

Speaking at a government roundtable event, Liam Maxwell said current frameworks are not fit for purpose. Maxwell referred to a framework for Microsoft CRM products as an example of their limited scope. 

"Where is the commitment to open standards and open source in that?” said Maxwell.

“CloudStore gives the most effective use of competition to market, more than any other framework. It gives the choice of the market and to the departments to realise better IT for much less money.” 

Maxwell said the review would examine how to embed the best practice of G-Cloud in new frameworks. 

Director of the Government Digital Service Mike Bracken said technology procurements had historically failed to address users' needs.

“We will not succeed if the framework of the way we think is technology-led,” Bracken said. 

“Technology procurements have been something that have got in the way, not things that have made IT better.”

Rohan Silva, senior policy officer to Prime Minister David Cameron, claimed £10bn could be taken out of government spending over the next couple of year. Currently government spends upward of £16bn per year.

“Part of the reason for high spending is there hasn’t been vision for the end user, with a focus on process and systems rather than the end result,” Silva said.

The government’s former chief procurement officer has already suggested the CloudStore model could be emulated across other government departments.

Speaking at Intellect’s World-Class Public Services conference earlier this year, John Collington, said: “The CloudStore will provide a landmark for the future. We are already looking at a facilities management store and a consultancy store.”

Government has been criticised for creating large IT frameworks which exclude SMEs and create supplier lock-in with system integrators.

Earlier this year former G-Cloud director Chris Chant called for a new framework policy that would make it easier for small suppliers to do business with the public sector and Whitehall.

 

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The G-Cloud procurement framework has definitely created new opportunities for us and seems to be changing the way the public sector think about buying ICT. I believe the desire has always been there myself, it was the process that was flawed and therefore the innovation in this new approach is compelling to everyone apart from those who had protected positions.

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As good as the G Cloud may be the real issue is the state of
software development and open source build is not the sustainable answer. As
far back as the 80s there was a desire to remove the need for coding to bring
quick build and adaptability in applications. This was recently articulated by
respected independent analyst Naomi Bloom

“Writing less code to achieve great business applications was my focus in that 1984 article, and it remains so today. Being able to do this is critical if we’re going to realize the full potential of information technology”

In 2008 Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates touted plans to build a declarative modelling language that could greatly reduce the need to code. He called it the “holy grail of development forever”, “the dream the quest…. but would be in a time frame of 5 to 8 years.”

Now in 2012 there is much speculation about such capability with Naomi Bloom articulating the move on an “object” approach and saying

“….how those models can become applications without any code being written or even generated”.

“If I’m right, you’ll want to be on the agile, models-driven, definitional development side of the moat thus created…..”

There are papers being written by research houses including IGI Global who put out a call on “Progressions and Innovations in Model-Driven Software Engineering” and I was has been invited to submit a chapter on our approach.

SO what is HMG doing about this it could save a lot as it has already with early adopters…..As one analyst said it was “pointing to the technical foundation of future”.

Is this not the role of ICT Futures to investigate and help departments
become the intelligent customer? The Dutch Government are very proactive in seeking new software technologies why not ours?

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There seems to be an overarching desire to ensure Open Source within Government, despite the lack of governance for open source software. It simly does not make sense to enforce an IT policy that drives departments into using products that are not capable of meeting regulatory requirments or security restrictions. Use software that is already for for purpose, has strong and proven ROI. Allowing departments to have freedom of choice just creates a plethora of unconnected and disparte ivory towers of software that then takes a lot of time and effort to connect and may not be suitable for longevity. Personally I like the Microsoft stack. Its well structured, connects easily and meets full compliance standards. I know the Govt seems to have a witchhunt against Microsoft which appears to be driven by personal motivations rather than logic and common sense, and this appears more an more in the press. A rather dissapointng approach from those at the top in Government IT I would say, and a closed approach to adoption of an IT framework that is sensible and structured.

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I agree with a fair amount of that. Whether open-source or not, is not really the issue. Just as 'open source = good' is a daft statement, so is 'Microsoft = good'. The answer is always 'it depends'...

I've had a number of dealings with government IT a fair bit + would say you have hinted at the problem above. Very often the IT evolves to emulate the management structure of the departments (or teams within a department) involved. At a push it might evolve to meet the needs of the (in-house) users. Rarely does it evolve to meet the needs of the people it's supposed to be serving (that is, the people who don't work in govt!)
You can often figure out who doesn't get on with how by looking at how the IT is arranged...

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