G-Cloud Chief Stands Down Amidst Organisational Shake-Up

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Denise McDonagh is standing down from her post as the G-Cloud gets a whole new family

The director of the government’s G-Cloud project, Denise McDonagh, has left her post to focus her efforts on her role as head of IT for the Home Office.

McDonagh’s departure comes at a turbulent time for the G-Cloud, which has just been placed under the control of the Government Digital Service (GDS), a body tasked with various initiatives designed to make Britain a “digital by default” nation.

Mark Craddock, lead on the G-Cloud’s CloudStore of cloudy services, also recently announced his departure.

Tony Singleton, chief operating officer at GDS, is now leading on G-Cloud, the Cabinet Office told TechWeek. There was no update on whether the team of five at G-Cloud would be expanded. “GDS are reviewing the capability and level of resources needed,” a spokesperson said.

“This will be a combination of current GDS staff and existing members of the G-Cloud programme team. They will be supported by existing expertise in GDS, from across the commercial, transformation and strategy teams.”

G-Cloud shift

g-cloud government westminster big ben © Shutterstock QQ7“We’ve been busy transitioning activities across to GDS, to ensure that we don’t lose any momentum. I’m confident that GDS will continue to improve G-Cloud, building on our success and providing strong leadership and support for departments as they move towards ever wider adoption of cloud solutions,” McDonagh said in a blog post today.

“I can now hand over G-Cloud to GDS, safe in the knowledge that we have started such a groundswell of support and momentum for change that G-Cloud is here to stay and can only continue to spread and evolve, ensuring better, cheaper and more responsive IT in the public sector.

“This has been the most enjoyable rollercoaster ride ever.”

Craddock recently told TechWeekEurope over Twitter it was time “to move into the Departments and make it happen”.

The G-Cloud has now moved from its home under the Government Procurement Service to GDS, a particularly large body, with 200 workers and numerous projects, one of the most significant being the Identity Assurance Initiative, which will let users decide how they log in to government sites.

Despite the proselytising around the success of the G-Cloud, the project was recently placed on “amber/red” notice by the Major Projects Authority, which indicated it needed urgent attention. There are concerns it won’t achieve its aim of getting 50 percent of new government IT deals done over the G-Cloud by 2015.

Yet the government is desperate to get departments to adopt cloud, with just £22 million having passed through the G-Cloud since its formation in early 2012. Just last month it launched a Cloud First approach, alongside G-Cloud III, mandating central government to look at cloud services before considering other options.

Talking at an event yesterday, minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said the G-Cloud was still “underused”.

But the Cabinet Office is still a big supporter of the G-Cloud, which doesn’t look like it will be canned anytime soon, even despite the notice from the  Major Projects Authority.

A spokesperson from the Cabinet Office sent the following via email last week in response to the MPA findings: “Because the old costly and inefficient ways of doing things are so engrained, the transition to widespread purchasing of IT services as a commodity won’t happen overnight.

“There is more to be done before G-Cloud is an accepted and routine way for the public sector to buy IT. We will continue to raise awareness, support public sector organisations in making the change, and make the buying process easier and clearer still.”

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