John Jackson, CIO of the London Borough of Camden, has hit out at the G-Cloud for being overly complicated, stating that there are many challenges for the programme to overcome before it can be labelled a success.
Jackson's comments follow a report published in December by data services firm Six Degrees Group, which found that almost 90 per cent of local authorities haven't made a procurement using the government's G-Cloud service, and more than three-quarters did not know what they'd use it for.
In response, a G-Cloud spokesperson said that it is "speaking to buyers to find out how it can communicate with them better".
In an interview with Computing, Jackson explained three of the common issues that local authorities and councils may be having with the programme.
"There are some challenges with the G-Cloud and one of them is the complexity of it... it is quite difficult to understand what you're buying or how you are paying for it," he suggested.
A second common issue, he said, was the length of the contract term with suppliers. Despite the public sector being criticised for being locked in to contracts with suppliers for far too long, Jackson believes the maximum contact period on the G-Cloud framework of two years is too short.
"Two years is just too short, any major app is going to have a lifespan in excess of at least five years, so contracting through it is a challenge," he said.
The G-Cloud's terms and conditions raise further problems, according to Jackson.
He cited a council that was about to procure an Oracle system through G-Cloud only to pull out of the deal because the terms and conditions "weren't right for them". This may have been in reference to added complexity attached to the G-Cloud as it incorporates suppliers' terms and conditions rather than having a unified set of terms for all suppliers. Jackson suggested that councils need to comply with their own terms and conditions first and foremost, and that suppliers' terms and conditions do not always accommodate these.
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