Whitehall backtracks on G-Cloud with job title shift

By Chris Middleton
12 Jun 2014 View Comments
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The job title of Whitehall digital supremo Tony Singleton has been changed, shifting the emphasis back to promoting the G-Cloud.

As of this week, Singleton will be known as Director, G-Cloud and Digital Commercial Programme, Government Digital Service (GDS).

The move publicly restores the G-Cloud element to his role.

A source close to Singleton has told Computing that he will return to actively pushing the G-Cloud in the months ahead.

While responsibility for the programme had remained with Singleton, all mention of the government's cloud framework had been dropped since it was subsumed into the GDS last autumn.

So what's behind the change of heart?

Analysis

Since the G-Cloud was moved into the mainstream Civil Service, it had begun to look as if the momentum behind it was being lost.

Some government buyers had begun drifting back to traditional procurement methods since the G-Cloud's early proponents had either left Whitehall (Chris Chant) or returned to their departments (Denise McDonagh).

Earlier this year, Alastair Mitchell, CEO of cloud-collaboration vendor Huddle, was one of several SME leaders to claim the government was losing its focus on educating IT buyers about the cloud.

In an interview published in April he said: "They had a leader for [the G-Cloud] when it was a distinct group, and definitely you notice that doesn't exist anymore. I am concerned about that.

"It still exists as a framework, but it's not being pushed anymore or led from the top. And this is down to [Cabinet Office Minister Francis] Maude [to fix], and I told him this when I met him recently, to push it back onto the radar, because it had such promising beginnings."

The about-face on Singleton's job title suggests that the government has listened to those criticisms.

Some in the SME community, including Mitchell, had expressed the view that losing the momentum behind G-Cloud would lead to fewer government users procuring services from SMEs.

One of the G-Cloud's aims was to level the playing field for smaller vendors, breaking what the Cabinet Office has termed the "oligopoly" of enterprise IT suppliers.

• A number of large government contracts will be ending over the next 18 months. Ensuring that the G-Cloud and CloudStore remain on buyers' radars is vital if the government is to succeed in slashing IT procurement costs and buying from a more diverse marketplace.

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