G-Cloud goes over to GDS - as predicted (updated)

Profile picture for user slauchlan By Stuart Lauchlan June 2, 2013
Summary:
The G-Cloud programme has fallen under the remit of the Government Digital Service - just as we exclusively predicted it would last week. Where to now for the national cloud programme?

casestudy-images_0005_GDS2
We said last week that it would happen - and so it did.

As of 1 June, G-Cloud has been rolled under the remit of the Government Digital Service (GDS) as we predicted.

Denise McDonagh will return to the Home Office on a full time basis as Chief Technology Officer there.

Mike Bracken, Executive Director of Digital at the GDS, now assumes overall responsibility for the G-Cloud programme with Tony Singleton, COO at the GDS, as the G-Cloud programme lead.

McDonagh said of the changing of the guard:

"G-Cloud is generating interest from around the world, with many now following our lead. I believe that it is one of the most disruptive changes for good that I’ve seen in my entire career in government IT, and I believe this will forever change the way we commission and use IT in the public sector. Time after time, the G-Cloud team has shown boundless energy, not taken “no” for an answer, and achieved the seemingly impossible… I am hugely proud to have been part of this team.

"I can now hand over G-Cloud to GDS, safe in the knowledge that we have started such a groundswell of support and momentum for change that G-Cloud is here to stay and can only continue to spread and evolve, ensuring better, cheaper and more responsive IT in the public sector."

One immediate benefit will be a review of the resourcing of the programme. As we pointed out last week, the original plans were for a team of around 20 rather than the five, mostly part-time staff that resulted.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude agreed today that the G-Cloud programme is still under-used by government.

There’s huge potential and those parts of the public sector that have use the CloudStore have shown very substantial savings and the ability to get stuff done very quickly,” he said.

More as this develops of course, but I reckon this is a good move overall.

With no disrespect to any of the old G-Cloud team - who have ALL done a mighty job, with special mentions for McDonagh and her predecessor Chris Chant - but it's time for some more resourcing and some more weight behind the programme to ramp up to the next level and make good on the Cloud First central government mandate.

Being part of GDS might be the start of that next step. This is a good decision by Maude and government Chief Operating Officer Stephen Kelly.

That's also the view of Phil Dawson, CEO of Skyscape, the firm which has scored the biggest single deal via the G-Cloud Cloudstore to date - a £1.5 million deal with the Home Office to provide Platform as a Service services to the Disclosure and Barring Service programme.

The question now: what should GDS do next?

Dawson told diginomica:

“To ensure the continued success of the G-Cloud Framework and the significant contribution it is starting to have on the transformation of government technology, we would strongly encourage GDS to invest and resource so that the process of education and  propagation continues, and is scaled at pace, with evangelists that are driven and targeted to drive adoption through education and awareness.  The prize of better value, agile IT services that underpin the Digital by Default agenda, justifies and deserves such investment.”

Meanwhile Alastair Mitchell, CEO of Huddle, which has also enjoyed major success via the G-Cloud framework, told us:

"With the recent announcement of a Cloud First policy, the Government is really throwing its weight behind the G-Cloud Framework. It looks as though the move to GDS is an attempt to put its money where its mouth is and match its investment with manpower. We don’t want the G-Cloud to step out of the limelight now but whilst the Cabinet Office has done a good job getting the Framework off the ground, it now needs weight behind it. Passing the reins on GDS who can put more manpower behind the framework is certainly a good start, but we need more top down mandates rolled out across the government so bigger decisions are made taking the Government that stop closer to the goal of procuring 50% of IT spend by 2015.”

And the last word - for now  - from McDonagh:

"As I’ve said many times, G-Cloud is a real game-changer. I see it as an enabler for efficiency, reform and growth, which closely links it to the principles that underpin the Government Digital Service (GDS). So, we’ve been busy transitioning activities across to GDS, to ensure that we don’t lose any momentum. I’m confident that GDS will continue to improve G-Cloud, building on our success and providing strong leadership and support for departments as they move towards ever wider adoption of Cloud solutions.

"This has been the most enjoyable rollercoaster ride ever!"