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G-Cloud 6 wins six-month extension as government preps next-gen framework

G-Cloud suppliers claim the extension could be a sign of bigger and better things to come in eighth version of the public sector procurement framework

G-Cloud 6 will remain up and running for a further six months, after government procurement chiefs opted to extend the life of the procurement framework until G-Cloud 8 is ready for launch.

The sixth iteration of the cloud procurement framework was initially earmarked for closure on 1 February 2016, but has now been given a stay of execution until 1 August 2016, a brief Digital Marketplace blog confirmed.

“We’ve extended G6 [G-Cloud 6] for six months so users can continue to buy and sell from both G6 and G-Cloud 7 while we’re working on the next iteration of the G-Cloud,” the post stated.

Speculation about the lifespan of G-Cloud 6 has been growing since the publication of a Digital Marketplace blog in September 2015 that suggested it could be granted an extension to give suppliers a chance to apply for a place on G-Cloud 8.

The September post also advised G-Cloud 6 suppliers that – unless they were planning to make “substantial changes” to the services they sell through the procurement framework – there was no need for them to apply for inclusion on G-Cloud 7.

Therefore, if the government opted not to extend the life of G-Cloud 6, the suppliers who opted out of the next iteration of the framework would be precluded from selling their wares to the public sector until G-Cloud 8 goes live. At the time of writing, it was still unclear exactly when that is likely to be.

Incorporating DPS into the Digital Marketplace

Several G-Cloud suppliers also privately speculated to Computer Weekly that the government could taking its time over the roll-out of G-Cloud 8, as it is planning to make good on its previous pledges to incorporate Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) into the Digital Marketplace.

This is a move the government has mooted since around 2011. It would potentially pave the way for new suppliers to be added to the framework as and when they become eligible for inclusion, rather than waiting for the next iteration of G-Cloud to roll around.

Similarly, it could also allow existing suppliers to update their listings and add services to the Digital Marketplace between versions.

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Computer Weekly contacted the Cabinet Office for clarification on this point, but was directed back to the blog post confirming the extension of G-Cloud 6 for another six months.

Phil Wainewright, chair of the EuroCloud trade association, said that regardless of the reasons why the extension has been introduced, it is good to see the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) taking its time over its replacement.

“I think EuroCloud’s members would certainly welcome it if they took advantage of the extra time – not only to have a rethink, but also to test out any new ideas to make sure they're going to be workable,” he added.

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