Francis Maude claims G-Cloud procurement spend now over £175m

By Danny Palmer
14 May 2014 View Comments

Public sector organisations have so far spent more than £175m procuring IT services through the government's G-Cloud portal, resulting in savings and more contracts for small and medium sized businesses.

That's according to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who touched on G-Cloud and 'Digital by Default', a programme intended to make government services cheaper and more efficient to use online, during a speech at the Public Sector Show 2014.

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"As well as being cheaper - one 50th of the cost of doing it face to face, one 30th of the cost of by post and one 20th cheaper than over the phone - it's also a chance to redesign services around the needs of the people who use them, rather than designing them in a way that's convenient for the government," said Maude of Digital by Default, which he argued is inspired by, and ultimately benefits, small businesses.

"We know the best technology and digital ideas often come from small businesses, which is why we've created the G-Cloud framework. It's an open market where public sector organisations can purchase cloud-based IT off the shelf," he continued, arguing that the CloudStore means "less bureaucracy and less hassle" for all involved.

Maude told the audience that this has resulted in a number of savings and more business for SMEs which are able to compete with much larger services providers as they can offer their wares more prominently via the CloudStore.

"As of last month the public sector as a whole has already spent more than £175m through G-Cloud. And over half of this, 60 per cent, is going to small and medium sized firms. Central government spending is higher still at 63 per cent and we want it to grow even more," he said.

"And we have committed to spend a further £100m with small businesses offering IT services and technology to government by 2015," Maude added.

However, despite Maude's claims, one local government CIO recently revealed that, despite looking at procuring services from smaller providers, it does not make sense to do so because Microsoft products are cheaper.

"We use Microsoft [for our desktops]. Each time we've looked at open source for desktop and costed it out, Microsoft has proved cheaper," Jos Creese, CIO of Hampshire County Council, told Computing.

Nevertheless, Maude has previously gone on record as stating that he believes open source alternatives would provide better value for the taxpayer. The statement seemingly puts him at odds with local government CIOs.

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