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Public sector IT buyers still neglecting to report G-Cloud savings, FoI request reveals

Computer Weekly has learned that public sector IT buyers are still neglecting to self-report details of the savings they have accrued through using the G-Cloud framework

Public sector IT buyers are still failing en masse to share data about the cost savings they may have accrued through using the G-Cloud framework, Computer Weekly has learned.

G-Cloud users are expected to self-report details about the length and value of any contract they enter into via the framework by submitting a Customer Benefits Record or Returns (CBR) form to the government procurement chiefs at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).

When asked in a freedom of information (FoI) request how many CBR forms have been submitted since CCS introduced the requirement in October 2014, the Cabinet Office confirmed to Computer Weekly that just 1,028 have been received, as of 8 February 2018.

To put that figure into context, the G-Cloud sales data shows 42,770 purchases were made using the framework between October 2014 and 31 December 2017, which suggests only a tiny fraction of the savings made by users during this period have been tracked.

In response to a similar request for information, raised by Computer Weekly in September 2015, the Cabinet Office confirmed just 135 CBR forms had been submitted since October 2014.

In response to the findings, a CCS spokesperson highlighted the important role the CBR data plays in helping to shape future frameworks, which is why it is so important that more IT buyers get on board with the initiative.

“Given the popularity of G-Cloud and other digital agreements, it is imperative that we have accurate data that enables us to measure performance and which can inform our future strategy,” the spokesperson said.

“Customer Benefit Returns help us to record how we’re supporting customers to get the best deal for the services they purchase, and we encourage public bodies to complete these as a matter of course.”

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Indeed, the supporting documentation for the most recent framework iteration, G-Cloud 9, CCS bills the CBR as a means of monitoring the performance and benefits users get from purchasing services through the framework.

It then goes on to state it is “essential” that customers submit a CBR every time they enter into a contract with a G-Cloud supplier so any savings accrued can be tracked internally.

“We will not publish savings relating to specific procurements – it is purely to record and validate the benefits of using the G-Cloud framework in line with auditable savings for government and public sector organisations,” the documentation reads.

Market watchers have previously queried the government’s reliance on getting G-Cloud users to self-report their findings, out of concern it may not paint a complete and accurate picture of how much money public sector organisations save by using it.

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