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Non-compliant G-Cloud suppliers escape spend data sharing fines, as MISO revamp gathers pace

Freedom of Information request reveals G-Cloud providers are not being fined for failing to submit monthly spend data, as the CCS claims success with using other deterrent methods

The government has defended its decision not to penalise suppliers who fail to submit data on how much business they have secured via G-Cloud and other IT-related frameworks.

Suppliers are required to share data on any sales secured through the G-Cloud or Digital Outcomes and Services (DOS) framework via the Management Information System Online (MISO) portal on a monthly basis.

G-Cloud suppliers have previously told Computer Weekly of their frustrations at having to rely on the MISO system to submit reports, because of how complex and time-consuming it is to use.

This has led to concerns being raised that some suppliers – namely SMEs – may neglect to submit their reports, resulting in the true amount of business that is transacted through the frameworks being under-reported.

Particularly as this information is used to compile the Digital Marketplace’s monthly breakdown of the G-Cloud and DOS sales data the government puts out on a semi-regular basis.

Framework participants are warned they risk admin charges for failing to submit their MISO data correctly or on time, even if they have accrued no sales that month, but suppliers have private expressed misgivings about how much of a deterrent this is.

In a response to a recent Computer Weekly Freedom of Information (FoI) request, government procurement chiefs at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) confirmed no G-Cloud suppliers have been fined for failing to submit their MISO returns, as of 8 February 2018.

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“No supplier has been liable to pay any administration fees in relation to MISO submissions since the commencement of the G-Cloud brand of commercial arrangements,” the FoI request confirmed.

In a follow-up statement, a CCS spokesperson said the organisation reserves the right to charge admin fees, but has had success with improving MISO compliance in other ways.

“Submitting regular, accurate data is a contractual obligation for suppliers, and we suspend suppliers who fail to submit three or more returns within a six month period, as per the G-Cloud 9 framework agreement,” the spokesperson said.

“The suspension usually results in companies submitting their outstanding returns, meaning we do not have to resort to imposing admin fees. We reserve our right to do so in future.”

The suitability of the current system is known to have been under review by CCS since at least August 2015, and is one of the reasons why suppliers think the organisation has previously shied away from clamping down too hard on non-compliant suppliers.

The organisation is also known to have given suppliers on the DOS framework until 7 April 2018 to go public with any historic and undeclared spend they have previously failed to include in their monthly MISO reports to help improve compliance.  

When pressed for further information on this, CCS confirmed DOS suppliers have been encouraged to “self-audit” their spend since the end of January, and still expected to submit their MISO returns during this period. “This is an opportunity for DOS suppliers to self-audit and update their spend data, to ensure we have the most accurate management information available,” the spokesperson said.

New-look MISO

Simplifying how suppliers submit their MISO data is a priority for CCS, and is expected to be addressed when the new-look MISO system finally goes live.

The suitability of the current system is known to have been under review by CCS since at least August 2015.

At the start of 2018, CCS published a tender, seeking suppliers to help it build a prototype replacement for MISO, as well as the first production-ready version of the tool, with dxw emerging as the successful bidder.

“The existing tool doesn’t meet the needs of either suppliers or CCS staff; it struggles with the volume of submissions each month, which leads to incomplete or abandoned submissions,” the tender document states.

“It is a time consuming and frustrating process for suppliers to pull this information together each month, particularly for SMEs and organisations on multiple frameworks.

“This project aims to make this process easier for suppliers to complete each month and to provide a more stable, easy to use system for CCS support staff, reducing the administrative burden on them,” it adds.

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