G Cloud 13: Everything You Need to Know

G Cloud 13 is the latest iteration of the UK Government’s digital procurement framework. It is designed to make it easier for public sector organisations to buy cloud-based computing services from accredited suppliers.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of G Cloud 13, including:

  • What it is and how it works
  • The benefits of using G Cloud 13
  • How to find and buy cloud services on G Cloud 13
  • A list of key G Cloud 13 suppliers
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about G Cloud 13

Since 2012, the government, via Crown Commercial Service (CCS), has issued constantly updated versions of G-Cloud, its framework designed to simplify the contracting process for public sector buyers. We’re now up to G-Cloud 13 which, for the first time in several years, contains a new feature. We’re going to cover the addition, as well as the rest of the 13th version in our simple reference guide.

What is G-Cloud 13?

G-Cloud 13 is a procurement framework, described by CCS as an online catalogue, where public procurement buyers can find suppliers that provide cloud-based services in three lots: hosting, software, and cloud support. 

 

CCS’s G-Cloud 13 is aimed at procurers across public departments such as central government, charities, local authorities, police, and health.

 

The added feature mentioned above is G-Cloud Lot 4 and it will be automatically added to the current G-Cloud 13 framework agreement.

Let’s look at the different lots

The lots cover different software services, enabling buyers to purchase what they need and no more. This makes G-Cloud procurement more cost-effective than publishing individual contracts.

 

Lot 1: Lot one provides cloud hosting services, such as PaaS (platform as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service). Buyers can operate and manage software that enables them to process and store data, like networking resources (among other things).

 

Lot 2: Lot 2 provides cloud software services, such as SaaS (software as a service). Buyers use cloud-based software for most (or all) of their business operations. Cloud-based software also usually comes with good security systems to protect sensitive data. 

 

Lot 3: Lot 3 provides cloud support, essentially typical support services from on-premises software, including set-up and migration (from the current system to the cloud), security, quality assurance, training, and ongoing support.

 

Lots 1- 3 are uncapped; there’s no limit to the number of G-Cloud 13 suppliers on the framework. Furthermore, buyers needn’t choose a single supplier to provide all the services required in the contract. Instead, they can choose suppliers that specialise in certain areas only. 

 

Lot 4: Lot 4 also provides cloud support but this is specifically for large and/or complex projects. Lot 4 is capped, so those who want a place on the G-Cloud 13 supplier list must go the extra mile to beat the competition. Unlike the other G-Cloud 13 lots, public sector buyers must award contracts to single suppliers that have to provide all the services required. 

What Are The Benefits Of G-Cloud 13 For Procurement?

G-Cloud 13 is a digital marketplace where buyers can find flexible solutions that you can adjust to your current needs, increasing and decreasing the number of services as necessary.

 

There are many more benefits, which we’ll look at below.

 

  • Quickly find suppliers and services.
  • Access to all types of suppliers, from SMEs to larger enterprises. 
  • Cost savings due to shorter, less complicated procurement processes, for instance, no Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).
  • Negotiations are replaced by the G-Cloud 13 call-off contract. Suppliers in the running have already agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract.
  • Buyers can award G-Cloud 13 contracts directly.
  • Buyers aren’t limited to one framework agreement and have the option to publish the requirements on a different framework if they can’t find suitable partners. 
  • On G-Cloud the procurement process is entirely transparent.
  • G-Cloud is updated with the latest advancements in E-procurement research and development.

 

Where To Find G-Cloud Suppliers

The most reliable source of suppliers is GOV.UK. It has a very, very long alphabetised list of G-Cloud suppliers.

 

How To Buy Cloud Services On G-Cloud 13

The first step is to write and then refine a list of requirements. Refinement is important otherwise you’ll end up with a lot of results that aren’t really what you’re looking for. You can save a lot of time by prioritising needs. Use the list on G-Cloud 13 to search the platform for suitable suppliers.

 

Tip: Record everything you do on the platform, especially communication with suppliers, as well as categories, keywords, and other filters used to find results. 

 

2) Save the results and download a copy for your own records.

 

3) Create more filters if you get a lot of results and need to narrow down the list. Save the results and download a copy.

 

4) When you are sure you have a shortlist of suitable suppliers, export the results, and begin your assessment of candidates.

 

5) During the assessment process ensure that you never negotiate with likely candidates and don’t ask them to compete against each other to make your final decision. You can ask as many clarification questions as you want.

 

6) Choose your winner and award the contract directly. First, download the relevant documents from G-Cloud and ensure they are all in order and comply with all regulations and laws.

 

7) Remember that the versions of G-Cloud to date limit contract length to 24 months. It’s possible to get an extension but you need to submit a request and have it approved. Otherwise, you need to conduct another search on G-Cloud 13.

 

8) G-Cloud 13 terms and conditions are agreed upon when both parties sign the framework agreement. Independent contracts may have their own terms and conditions relevant to their needs, however, they must be in line with G-Cloud’s terms and conditions. If they are not, G-Cloud’s Ts&Cs will be used. 

 

9) Publish the contract details on Contracts Finder provided the value is over £10,000 and the buyer is a central Government department, or the value is over £25,000 and the buyer is part of the wider public sector or the NHS.

 

Finally, you must submit a Customer Benefits Record. This is important for CCS to keep a record of supplier performance. The information is confidential and won’t ever be made public.

 

(There’s still time to register for Crown Commercial Service’s G-Cloud 13 application because CCS is extending its term by a year, from 8 November 2023 to 8 November 2024.)

 

Alternatives To G-Cloud 13

As convenient as the G-Cloud 13 supplier search is, there are alternative platforms for public sector buyers to find the services they’re looking for. Delta eSourcing has an eTendering portal that boasts approximately 100K active suppliers. 

 

Furthermore, the portal embraces all the changes brought about by the Procurement Bill, including transparency, collaboration, innovation, and community building.

 

Request a free demonstration for buyers to see why Delta eSourcing is the best platform for your business.

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