Government Launches Digital Marketplace And G-Cloud 6

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The government is looking to streamline all public-sector procurement into a single tool with Digital Marketplace

The government has officially launched the Digital Marketplace, part of an effort to create a single tool encompassing all public-sector procurement needs – including G-Cloud, whose sixth iteration was also launched last week, and the upcoming second iteration of the Digital Services Framework (DSF).

The contract notice for G-Cloud 6 was published last week, and is currently scheduled to go live in February, giving suppliers until 17 December to register to list their services. The government said it is looking to update suppliers every six to nine months.

Streamlining services

cloud networkG-Cloud was launched in 2012 as a way for public-sector bodies to acquire commodity services online, with the total value of sales through the service exceeding £314m in September, 53 percent of this spend going to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

DSF, which went live in October 2013, has resulted in the award of 30 contracts totalling £13.6m in value, 18 of which have gone to SMEs, according to government figures.

The Digital Marketplace was built using agile methods that allow it to be continually adapted based on user feedback, said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

“We know that the range of frameworks and stores can be confusing,” he stated. “That’s why the new digital marketplace, which makes it clearer, simpler and faster for the whole of the public sector to buy digital products and services when it needs to, is a vast improvement for both supplier and customer.”

He added that the marketplace is in part intended to expand the role of SMEs in the supply chain.

Continual iteration

“Modern services need to be continually iterated and improved to meet users’ needs,” said Mike Bracken, executive director of Government Digital Service (GDS). “We need a platform that allows us to flexibly commission what we need to deliver those services, drive down cost and drive up value.”

G-Cloud currently lists 1,517 suppliers, 88 percent of which are SMEs, and more than 16,000 services.

Service providers have been invited to register their details for G-Cloud 6 on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Bravo eSourcing tool, answering invitation-to-tender (ITT) questions, which will then be checked to assure quality.

The new framework will continue to be divided into four lots, Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS), Platform As A Service (PaaS), Software As A Service (SaaS), and Specialist Cloud Services (SCS), the Cabinet Office said.

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