Most Councils Ignore G-Cloud, Survey Finds

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

New report highlights disturbing lack of support for the Government’s G-Cloud among local councils

The Government’s G-Cloud, the fourth iteration of which went live back in October, is being ignored by most UK councils.

These are the findings of a new survey commissioned by managed data services provider Six Degrees Group (6DG), which is also a G-Cloud supplier. The G-Cloud is supposed to cut the costs of government IT procurement and provide more flexible services – but it seems councils are slow to take advantage.

Questions Marks

The survey of 300 UK councils and local authorities found that 87 percent of UK councils have not been involved in any IT procurement via G-Cloud – only 38 of the 300 surveyed had bought through it. Even more alarmingly, it found that 76 percent of UK councils have no knowledge of what G-Cloud could be used for.

The Cloud (c) Melpomene, Shutterstock 2013These startling findings show that the G-Cloud is not gaining traction with the public sector, according to 6DG, and highlight a worry lack of communication from central government about the benefits it offers.

The idea behind the Government’s G-Cloud is to provide the public sector with a flexible means of accessing accredited providers to procure their cloud services. The thinking is that it should make it easier for councils and local authorities to access smaller cloud providers to help them to provide online public services.

“These statistics show that there is a communication issue from central government,” said Campbell Williams, group strategy and marketing director at Six Degrees Group. “Cloud services have the potential to be revolutionary for the public sector and G-Cloud is a framework specifically intended to make sourcing these services simple. However it’s clearly not doing its job for a huge number of councils and local authorities in the UK, which could otherwise be benefiting from the expenditure savings, innovations, agility and security of cloud computing.”

“As a CESG accredited provider of IL2/3 cloud services, 6DG is committed to helping the public sector with cloud adoption and we’re disappointed that G-Cloud is still failing both customers and suppliers alike,” said Campbell. “If those behind G-Cloud don’t educate the public sector soon, government procurement for IT will continue to be handled by the same old faces delivering the same poor outcomes for the taxpayer.”

Problem Cloud?

It is fair to say that the G-Cloud has had its detractors in the past, and there continues to be concern that it won’t achieve its aim of getting 50 percent of new government IT deals done over the G-Cloud by 2015.

In September 2011 the government was forced to reaffirm its commitment to the G-Cloud, despite admitting it was ‘under-used’. This was after heavy criticism by representatives of the local authority sector at the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) inquiry earlier that year. However its new boss is determined to make the service more accessible and open as possible.

And despite 6DG’s findings, it is clear that there is some (albeit limited) traction among the public sector. In early October for example, Hounslow Borough Council reiterated its support for the G-Cloud, claiming it was helping the borough achieve its ambition of moving much of its IT infrastructure to the cloud by 2015. Anthony Kemp, director of corporate resources at the London Borough of Hounslow, told TechweekEurope at that time that the G-Cloud had simplified the procurement process, allowing it to focus on services.

The Cabinet Office had not responded to TechweekEurope at the time of writing.

Are you a cloud expert? Try our quiz!