Talking G-Cloud 12 with Darren Howe at the Crown Commercial Service

Piers Kelly
December 5, 2020

Ahead of the GovTech Virtual Summit, we caught up with Darren Howe, to get all the details on the recently launched G-Cloud 12 framework and what this means for both public sector buyers and private sector suppliers.

Darren Howe is Deputy Director for Digital Future at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).

 

Since its launch in 2012, almost £7 billion of cloud and digital services have been purchased using the G-Cloud framework. How does CCS engage the wider public sector to use the framework?

We have brought on board new Strategic Business Managers to help us engage with the wider public sector and assist customers. As well as investing in additional headcount, we’re helping our customers by providing resources including framework webinars and guidance documents, advice through blogs, news articles and whitepapers, as well as our presence at industry events. 

By the time of publication there will have been over £7 billion spent through G-Cloud with over £1 billion of that coming from the WPS. We want to carry on engaging with the WPS to further understand the needs of the market and adapt future iterations of G-Cloud. 

The cloud team are developing 2 additional agreements, both to be launched in Summer 2021. We’ve recognised that the WPS is interested in longer term call-off agreements and so our Cloud Compute framework will offer these along with the ability to run a further competition. The Cloud Services agreement will be a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) and will give suppliers the chance to apply at any time, which will encourage innovation and cutting edge technologies to be included.

G-Cloud provides easy access to a range of smaller suppliers, owing to the government’s commitment to spending £1 in every £3 with small businesses by 2020. What methods have you taken to reach this target?

We’ve worked to empower our customers to achieve their target of 33% spend with small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) by providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions and making it easier for SMEs to join the framework. 

By removing some of the barriers to entry that small and micro businesses encounter, this has resulted in  91% of all suppliers on G-Cloud being SMEs with 80% of those being small and micro businesses. We have achieved this through making the application process easier (while still completing ongoing assurance works) and by providing a transparent purchasing platform. 

Our spend data is published monthly through a publicly accessible dashboard on the CCS website. 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 to ensure they award the best service to suit their needs. Our team is on hand to provide support to any customers who have questions about procuring through G-Cloud and we hold monthly webinars explaining how to use the framework. 

So far in 2020, we have seen an increase in the need to adapt quickly in response to shared challenges. How is this reflected in the new G-Cloud 12 framework?

The 1 change that we have made is the introduction of service definition documents for all services, which will benefit our customers by making information easier to access. However, as I’ve said, we are also looking to develop 2 new frameworks to complement G-Cloud - Cloud Compute and Cloud Services. These will enable our customers to run further competitions, and the Cloud Services DPS in particular will allow new suppliers to join at any time, and will encourage innovation and development of new technologies. 

What 3 top tips can you share for any suppliers of cloud computing services aspiring to be listed on future G-Cloud frameworks?

 

1. Research your competition 
The DMp is a great tool for suppliers to ensure they are offering a competitive service. As it’s fully transparent, you can see all services, pricing and terms and conditions which can enable you to better your own service offering.

2. Read the reports 
All cloud spend is published on the DMp sales dashboard. Also look to Contracts Finder for opportunities.

3. Stay in contact
Make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities by attending supplier engagement events, signing up for our alerts and checking our future opportunities. Keep checking Contracts Finder for published opportunities.

 

The G-Cloud Framework is known as a great public sector success, with this year’s agreement showing growth of over 25% from G-Cloud 11. How do you see the future for G-Cloud?

We are looking to hold extensive market engagement in the near future to review our methodology and enable change for the creation of G-Cloud 13. This will include reviewing the terms and conditions, significant improvement to our assurance processes and changes to the DMp platform to improve both the supplier and customer experience. This is in addition to the 2 new agreements we’re introducing to complement G-Cloud and give customers and suppliers another route to market. 

The Crown Commercial Service are supporting a range of GovNet Tech Events and will be available to talk to at Government ICT 2021.

To find out more about G-Cloud 12, visit the CCS website.