The government realised every pound of public money had to produce the best possible outcome as well as remaining under its control.
There was a time before G-Cloud when public sector IT contracts were as large as the sector itself.
Procurement processes would place projects with the largest organisations; offering a brief to create a project over months or even years within a set budget. Once briefed the public sector would cut all ties; relinquishing full control and leave the organisation to interpret the project in any way it saw fit. Once a few years went by, the organisation would return to the public sector client, attach all the bells and whistles to its new baby and look for praise for all its hard work.
However, this wasn’t always the case. Most found the interpretation of the brief didn’t meet expectations and most of the time, along with public money, was spent building an outcome not fit for purpose. The government had gone too far in one direction, giving too much control to the organisation and becoming less effective. The government realised every pound of public money had to produce the best possible outcome as well as remaining under its control. To make this possible, it implemented the very successful G-Cloud framework.
The UK Government G-Cloud initiative was created to ease the procurement process for public sector bodies, allowing them to purchase services when needed, with smaller contracts and without running a full tender process. It has been the forerunner to the digital transformation many organisations are now experiencing. The service has been in place since 2012 and now has over 1,200 suppliers, 80 per cent of which are SMEs, offering 13,000 services, including Open Source and Cloud. G-Cloud has successfully allowed the government to cut costs and deliver the best results, while regaining full control of the projects; heading the complete opposite direction from the past.
So where does G-Cloud go from here? If it’s going to strive for continued success, it has to adopt an Agile approach, learning from previous mistakes and becoming more effective. In the past the government was too far one way. It gave too much control to the organisation and mistakes were made. Now, it has gone too far the other way.
The government has too much control over the projects, potentially restricting an organisation in its creativity. G-Cloud needs to move towards the Agile middle ground and balance its control. Allowing the organisation space to create, while also keeping regular contact to ensure the outcome matches the brief. It’s the agile methodology and its effectiveness which will become the back bone of a successful G-Cloud in the future.