This article was first published in Open Access Government January 2021 edition.

Published 11 January 2021

Last updated 12 January 2021

Since its launch in 2012, over £7 billion of cloud services have been purchased using the G-Cloud framework. With 5,224 suppliers awarded a place on G-Cloud 12, over 38,000 services are available for customers to access.

This is a growth of over 25% from G-Cloud 11 – and shows that CCS has been successful in broadening the framework’s appeal.

Patrick Nolan, Technology Pillar Director at Crown Commercial Service, said:

G-Cloud continues to be a great public sector success. It encourages innovation and improves services for UK citizens, by allowing customers and suppliers to find each other easily. Now, more than ever, SMEs have a crucial role to play in our economy, and G-Cloud is a proven method through which they can grow their businesses and support the national recovery.

G-Cloud 12 went live on 28 September 2020 for an initial term of 12 months. CCS has the option to extend this by a maximum of 12 months. All services offered under G-Cloud 12 are accessed via the Digital Marketplace.

What are the main benefits?

The G-Cloud framework facilitates the purchase of commoditised, cloud-based services.

Services are off-the-shelf with many pay-as-you-go, up-to-date and innovative solutions.

Transparency is a priority as the catalogue showcases suppliers’ service information, including service definitions, pricing and suppliers’ terms and conditions.

G-Cloud is a move away from long term contracts, with a maximum duration of 24 months with the option to extend twice by up to 12 months each time (subject to approval for central government customers).

91% of the suppliers on G-Cloud 12 are SMEs, providing easy access to a range of smaller suppliers and supporting the government’s commitment to spend £1 in every £3 with small businesses.

CCS has worked to empower customers to achieve their target of 33% spend with SMEs by providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions, such as transparent pricing and accessible service definitions, and by making the application process easier, while completing ongoing assurance.

There is no OJEU, Invitation to Tender (ITT), Request for price (RFP), request for quote (RFQ), request for information (RFI) or negotiation, there are clarification questions only.

We’ve also worked to make the Digital Marketplace (DMp) more transparent and clear in terms of the services on offer, so customers can review a multitude of services, each with a documented detailed service definition, to ensure they award the best service to suit their needs.

A Framework of 3 lots

G-Cloud 12 is split into 3 Lots:

  • Lot 1: Cloud Hosting, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Lot 2: Cloud Software, Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Lot 3: Cloud Support, Cloud support to help set up and maintain cloud software or hosting services

How does the 6-step buying process on the Digital Marketplace work?

To procure services under G-Cloud 12 customers need to follow a simple 6 step buying process:

Step 1 Prepare – Before exploring the Digital Marketplace, it is essential for customers to understand what it is they are looking to buy. Therefore, we would recommend partnership working between procurement and technical professionals to establish high-level requirements/service outputs and timescales.

Step 2 Search and Longlist – The purpose of formulating a longlist is so that customers can refine the broad range of services available and find the service which best fits their high-level requirements within the Digital Marketplace. Use search terms which meet the Service you are looking to procure and focus your search against the relevant Lot.The Digital Marketplace can be accessed without the need to have an account.

Step 3 Developing your longlist into a shortlist – Within the Digital Marketplace all services are defined with standard filters. These filters should be applied to reduce your longlist to a shortlist of potential services which may meet a customers requirements. Examples are selecting or deselecting resellers and staff security clearance.

Step 4 Evaluation and selection – You shortlist should then be evaluated against a customer’s predefined criteria through either direct award based on lowest price or via a MEAT criteria. Each service includes a detailed service description, together with a range of documents to support the evaluation; pricing,  terms and conditions, service definition, SFIA rate card (optional)  and modern slavery statement (mandatory if the suppliers turnover is greater than £36M per annum)

Step 5 Award / buy –  Once you have evaluated and ascertained which service provision best meets your requirements, you are then in a position to award a contract. In order for you to proceed you are required to complete the G-Cloud 12 call-off agreement.

Step 6 – Benefits – it is essential that customers complete the G-Cloud Customer Benefit Record form every time that they enter into a call-off agreement

Get in touch

CCS’s team is on hand to provide support to any customers who have questions about procuring through G-Cloud and there are  monthly webinars explaining how to use the framework.

CCS has brought on board new Strategic Business Managers to help engage with the wider public sector and assist customers. This team engages with individual organisations, clusters, and umbrella bodies to build awareness of CCS’s commercial solutions, identify customer requirements and deliver expert support to enable the wider public sector to access CCS offers.

As well as investing in additional headcount, we’re helping our customers by providing resources such as framework webinars and guidance documents, providing advice through blogs, news articles and white papers, as well as regularly attending industry events.

Find out more on the Technology webpages