Westminster cloud

Former G-Cloud director Denise McDonagh has called on government departments to increase uptake of services through the Cloud Store as the public sector cloud initiative comes under the control of GDS.

Eighteen months since the inception of the G-Cloud project, just £21.8 million has been spent on the procurement of cloud services through the framework, a fraction of the total IT expenditure in the public sector, which is thought to total in the region of £18 billion.

Speaking at the Think G-Cloud event in London's Business Design Centre, McDonagh, who recently took up a post at the Home Office, said that more needs to be done on the buyer side if the cloud programme is going to have a major impact on IT spending.

“We do have some challenges, but I believe that within government and the public sector we have the ability to think for ourselves, take control, and do things differently. We just need to have the confidence in ourselves, and need to be able to take a risk,” she said.

“Suppliers took a risk to come onto this framework, now we need to think about the risks we are prepared to take in order to deliver not only the savings, but the much improved service to the customer.”

McDonagh also highlighted the positive steps made with G-Cloud in beginning to create a cultural shift within the procurement of IT services in Whitehall, and across wider government organisations. There are now 800 suppliers on G Cloud, offering 7,000 services, she pointed out, with around 80% of suppliers either small or mid-sized businesses.

McDonagh added that as G-Cloud comes under the responsibility of the Government Digital Service (GDS), she is confident that that there will be resources available to “nurture” and support the government's cloud agenda.

However, a number of challenges need to be overcome as government faces in driving through the cloud procurement policy, according to research from Eduserv released at the event.

The survey of 529 civil servants, showed that there are three main barriers to wider adoption among government departments.

A third of respondents, 32%, said that there was difficulty in splitting existing services within their organisation into the constituent parts that could be procured through the Cloud Store.

A further 30% said that there was a lack of detailed information about services and suppliers on the Cloud Store, while 24% were concerned that there was no previous relationship with the suppliers.