The Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed that it has extensively used the government’s G-Cloud to purchase IT, and that nearly of its technology suppliers for the controversial High Speed 2 (HS2) railway project are SMEs.
DfT was the first central government department to buy from G-Cloud, about a month of the online marketplace for cloud services going live.
“We took a bit of a leap of faith because there was no precedent for it. I think we’ve come a long way since then. We’re beginning to see quite an acceleration in the growth of G-Cloud,” said James Findlay, chief information officer (CIO) of HS2 Ltd and technology leader at the DfT, at the Think Cloud for Government conference in London today.
“The reason for that is we’ve got a number of large contracts coming up for renewal. As a consequence, we’re using G-Cloud more, certainly within High Speed 2 [where we were using] 100 percent SMEs.”
Findlay said that that figure had now changed, but only because one of the medium-sized suppliers had grown into a large company.
According to Findlay, the transparency of the G-Cloud - where service descriptions and prices are available for all to see - makes the procurement process “a lot simpler and a lot more straightforward”. However, prices are still somewhat flexible.
“[Pricing] is becoming stable, but we’re still migrating from a lot of legacy contracts on old pricing schemes,” he said.
However, the department is “moving towards” more stable pricing schemes over the next 12 to 24 months, he added.
Meanwhile, Stephen Allott, SM Crown Representative at the Cabinet Office, confirmed that the government is still short of its target to have 25 percent of the value of government spend to be with SMEs.
In the last published report, he said, direct spend with SMEs was around 10 percent, and indirect was about nine percent, making the total approximately 25 percent.
Nonetheless, SMEs are winning over 60 percent of central government work, he said.