Editorial

Is G-cloud a closed book for most council procurement teams?

Local government ICT expert Jos Creese publishes a report through non-profit Eduserv that reinforces just how far cloud still has to go in most Town Halls

Posted 12 September 2016 by

'Cloud' by Art Hitklif, FlickrSix out of ten English, Scottish and Welsh councils have still not got any kind of a formal position on G-cloud, many systems are still run in-house on local data centres – and one in four (27%) claim they have an in-house procurement policy that doesn’t let them use the government’s Digital Marketplace at all.

In a study released last week Up In The Air: The State of Cloud Adoption in Local Government in 2016, non-profit public sector IT body Eduserv published a comprehensive assessment of cloud adoption and procurement policy.

And it’s a study that will add fuel to the debate that government still hasn’t really got a clue how to really make cloud as a procurement option work for the UK public sector. For example, only one in three councils say they have both a cloud IT strategy and a procurement policy which allows them to use G-Cloud, claims the study; the majority, 58%, have yet to buy through G-Cloud.

It’s only the largest councils that seem to have any G-Cloud activity at all, meanwhile, while 30% of all councils who have procured via the framework have spent £6m, according to the government’s own data on G-Cloud spend.

The study concludes that the Cloud First agenda announced in 2013 has still not “meaningfully taken hold in local government”, and its author, Jos Creese – former local government CIO and Socitm leader, now and independent consultant acting as principal analyst for Eduserv’s Local Government Executive Briefing Programme – warning, “The big picture behind this research is that only a minority of councils appear to have a deep appreciation of how IT must change to support service redesign and new technologies in the future.”

Creese thinks it’s vital councils have some sort of policy guidance around how and when a cloud solution from The Digital Marketplace should be considered – and that it’s “surprising and somewhat alarming” this still needs to be pointed out.

Creese also says council leaders need to close the gap between IT and procurement practice, to enable IT and procurement to start getting the benefits of “flexible, buyer-friendly frameworks, including G-Cloud”.