New G-Cloud Leader Warns Government Unprepared For Cloud

The incoming boss of the government’s G-cloud framework has warned that Whitehall is not yet ready to make big bets on the cloud.

Denise McDonagh is currently the Home Office’s director of IT and is set to take over from current G-Cloud programme director Chris Chant, who is retiring at the end of this month.

Flexible Procurement

McDonagh made her warning in her “Passing the Baton” blog posting on Wednesday, in which she praised the efforts of Chant and all his efforts to get the G-Cloud programme off the ground and raise its profile.

However despite the positive words from McDonagh, it is clear that outgoing Chant is not happy with some issues, after he launched a scathing attack last week on the government for its “unacceptable” quality of IT in his swansong blog posting.

McDonagh however made clear it that she intends to drive forward further iterations of the G-Cloud framework, and ensure it has a flexible way to procure cloud services.

She also stated that her team will be “working to build a pipeline of service needs from customers across the whole of the public sector so that industry has awareness of what it is that government wants and so that government entities can see what everyone else is doing.”

McDonagh also promised to work with customers and suppliers to ensure everyone gets a chance to present a view and so that she understands the opportunities and challenges the framework faces.

Not Ready For Cloud

But McDonagh also made it clear in her blog posting that the government is not currently ready for the mass adoption of the cloud. This follows on from the warning last month by the CIO at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), Phil Pavitt, who said that large government departments may struggle to meet targets on cloud computing.

“Government isn’t immediately ready to make big bets on cloud – but it would be foolish not to make a series of investments and understand how it will all work together, and then learn the lessons to allow us to increase the investment we make,” McDonagh wrote.

“The overriding aim is to increase choice – for too long the public sector has been locked into suppliers and products for extended periods without having the ability to take advantage of the capabilities of new entrants to the market, people with smart ideas, products that can make things simpler and easier,” she wrote.

“By increasing choice – and making it easier for government to make those choices – our aims are to reduce costs, increase the speed with which we can deliver new services, improve the services that we already offer and take advantage of new capabilities,” she wrote.

“Cloud solutions are, I am convinced, a way to offer that choice far faster than we would otherwise be able to do so,” she wrote. “ Not every question should be answered with ‘we need another big SI to prime our contract’.”

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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