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Security and accreditation obstacles act as G-Cloud barriers, claim SMEs

Archana Venkatraman

A group of SMEs called the 10% Group has claimed that security and accreditation are limiting  small and medium-sized enterprises’ chances to win more G-Cloud contracts.

The 10% Group – which includes IT suppliers Asidua, Automated Intelligence, Hao2, Digi2al, Magic Milestones and Shaping Cloud – claims that while the G-Cloud is starting to change the way the public sector buys commodity IT services, “it still has a long way to go”.

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The 10% Group said it was concerned that the G-Cloud accreditation process was a moving target and very labour-intensive. The PSN accreditation process adds to this workload.

New entrants are being stalled by the lack of IL3-accredited connection services on the Public Services Network (PSN).

According to data from the Cabinet Office, 56.4% of total sales by value of government contracts procured through on G-Cloud  have been awarded to SMEs,  plus, over 60% of contract wins on the G-Cloud go to SMEs.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told Computer Weekly, “G-Cloud allows the public sector to buy the IT services they need when they need them, rather than forcing them to design complex solutions from scratch.”

There are currently 832 suppliers and over 7,000 services on the G-Cloud frameworks, with cumulative spend now crossing £31m.

The Cabinet Office stated: “We anticipate that our cloud-first policy will result in 50% of new central government IT spend being procured through the CloudStore by 2015."

“SMEs are a key driver for the country’s economic growth, and G-Cloud is reducing red tape and making it simpler and cheaper for smaller companies to join the G-Cloud supplier framework and win business. Our latest G-Cloud sales information shows that this is working.”

The 10% Group’s members said it had been “impressed with the cultural and behavioural changes in getting the public sector behind the G-Cloud”.
 
But it added that the number of G-Cloud contracts awarded to SMEs would increase significantly if SMEs received 25% rather than the current 10% of  total public sector spending.

A government report showed that direct spending in the public sector on SMEs increased from £3bn in 2009-2010 to £4.5bn in 2012-2013. However this still represented just 10.5% of overall public sector spending.. The government aims to award 25% of central government business to SMEs by 2015, directly and through the supply chain.

“G-Cloud is starting to change the way the public sector buys commodity IT services,” said Kate Craig-Wood, the convener of the 10% Group and founder of Memset.

“With the help of my team I am collating the views, issues, troubles and successes of these SMEs and feeding them back into Intellect, the Cabinet Office and the G-Cloud programme,” she said.

The Cabinet Office recently opened the fourth iteration of G-Cloud 4 (G4) to accept tenders. New cloud providers and existing G-Cloud suppliers can register their services in the next round of government IT procurement until 23 September.


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