The government has announced the launch of the G-Cloud iii framework, its third round of procurement for the pan-government public cloud initiative in just one year.
G-Cloud ii, the second framework under the G-Cloud umbrella, was launched in May last year with 458 suppliers signed up to the agreement by October.
G-Cloud iii plans to build on this success and increase representation on the framework in new areas, including identity services, service integration and management, software support and business process automation.
The value of the framework has increased by £100 million, with potential spend now reaching £200 million. Since the first G-Cloud framework launched in February last year, the government has purchased just over £4 million worth of services across G-Cloud i and G-Cloud ii.
The framework will last for 12 months, as with the previous G-Clouds, but there is potential for buyers to sign contracts up to 24 months in length.
In a blog posting, the G-Cloud team has said that it is introducing an improved invitation to tender (ITT) application process, with revised terms and conditions.
"Following our public discussion on the revised terms and conditions in October 2012, we are planning to make these a standardised set going forward, including improved working in the Data Protection clauses to ensure that they more fully take into account the complexities of cloud computing," it reads.
It also states that there will be a new online ITT submission form, which will be pre-populated for existing G-Cloud ii suppliers with their service information. The government hopes that this will "make it easier for those suppliers who want to roll their services over with little or no change, and easier for new suppliers to submit their bids".
Suppliers will have the choice to stay on the G-Cloud ii framework until it is finished, or to roll their services over to G-Cloud iii.An OJEU contract notice will be launched this week, with deadlines for submission of tenders set for the 21st February, and commencement of the framework to begin at the end of March this year.
The previous G-Cloud has faced scrutiny for having big cloud names missing from the supplier list, including Google and Amazon. Some analysts have criticised it for becoming a 'ghetto for SMEs'.
G-Cloud is one prong in a diverse government strategy to break down the public sector's traditional approach to IT, where it wants to move away from handing cumbersome contracts to a handful of IT suppliers some have whom have been associated with failed projects. It is also attempting to develop services with an agile approach and create easy to use digital services for the public.
Recent announcements to support these strides include the launch of the single government domain, GOV.UK, mandating all departments to adopt open standards and the release of the government's Digital Strategy, which looks to digitise hundreds of thousands of transactions across government.