Cabinet Office warned to not lose focus of Transformation Strategy in wake of Brexit

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez July 26, 2017
A special interest group has been created by the Cloud Industry Forum to focus on G-Cloud, public sector procurement and the Transformation Strategy.

The Cloud Industry Forum, an industry body that is dedicated to promoting trust, security and transparency within cloud computing, has set up a new special interest group (SIG) and a call for action by the Cabinet Office on a set of cloud and transformation priorities that it feels are losing momentum.

It has called for a renewed partnership between cloud service providers and the Cabinet Office to set out a clear vision and take action on how industry can help deliver its 2020 transformation goals.

The SIG is being headed up by Peter Middleton, director at Cloudline, who worked for the Cabinet Office when the G-Cloud was in its infancy. Middleton has been a strong advocate of G-Cloud and has been a vocal critic, when there is room for improvement.

The Cloud Industry Forum notes that with Brexit, ongoing austerity and a new government, there is a risk that momentum and progress on the Government Transformation Strategy could stall. The government launched its Transformation Strategy at the beginning of this year, to a mixed reception.

The SIG wants to remove barriers and blockers that might prevent delivery of the digital and cloud-based solutions that cloud enable transformative change to happen. It adds that this requires joined-up thinking from the centre, and a demonstrable commitment to reach out to industry.

Peter Middleton added:

I am convinced that G-Cloud and other procurement frameworks available through the Digital Marketplace are critical enablers for successful delivery of the government’s ambitious transformation goals for 2020 and beyond. Without access to a vibrant, competitive and responsive marketplace of innovative products, services, and people with the right specialist digital skills, the public sector cannot hope to deliver this scale of transformation at the pace of change required.

That is why I believe the ongoing success of the Digital Marketplace and GDS is fundamental, and why the Cabinet Office must work closely with industry to re-invigorate the vision and mission, and continue to be the game-changing force for positive and rapid change that they have so far proved to be.

This is an exciting time for the cloud computing sector, and G-Cloud has enabled the government and the public sector to tap into that energy and creative thinking. This SIG is all about accelerating that process and removing as much friction as possible. With all the recent changes in government, we call on the Cabinet Office to nominate a representative who we can work with to take forward the above priorities.

Earlier this year the Cabinet Office said that its cloud strategy was to be public cloud first and cloud native, but we have heard little more on what this means in practice. Furthermore, the G-Cloud’s sales data has not been updated since the beginning of the year, many months ago, which is very unusual and has resulted in people questioning whether sales numbers have begun to drop.

Diginomica has asked the Cabinet Office for the data and for clarification.

The new SIG has listed a set of calls for action by the Cabinet Office on the following set of immediate priorities:

  • Restate the commitment to a Cloud First policy and publish detailed cloud transition and IT sourcing plans for each department, so industry can respond and adapt their business and product strategies to better meet government needs and means.
  • Clarify how the programmes of activity intend to work in ongoing partnership with industry, starting with the definition of a joint priority list of changes and improvements for the G-Cloud 10 framework.
  • Work to provide clarity and guidance on how GDPR compliance will be achieved for existing and future G-Cloud contracts.
  • Support and co-host events with industry that actively bring buyers and suppliers together, in ways that encourage the sharing of best practice and a better understanding of user needs.
  • Define and jointly deliver a comprehensive stakeholder engagement and communications programme to encourage improvements in the buying process to reduce unnecessary ‘waste’ caused by poorly articulated needs, unclear vendor services, a lack of digital skills, and bad buying behaviour.
  • Use the substantial body of case studies to demonstrate how the consumption of cloud services in government is generating economic growth.
  • Commitment to maintain and publish up-to-date G-Cloud sales figures on a monthly basis.
  • Ask Cabinet Office to nominate a representative who we can work with to take forward the above priorities.

Alex Hilton, Chief Executive at CIF commented:

The foundation of G-Cloud in 2012 was a significant moment for the cloud computing sector – it underlined the central place that this new model has in modern IT and provided CSPs with a framework to bring the power and flexibility of cloud computing to government and the public sector. Five years on, G-Cloud has become a leading light on how governments can take full advantage of new technology, whilst becoming an important source of revenue for many of our members. However, to keep this momentum going we need to address some key issues.

Image credit - UK flag Brexit stormclouds from EU balloons below © meatbull -

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