HS2 railway CIO slams claims that “G-Cloud is complicated”

James Findlay, the CIO of UK high speed rail project HS2, has hit back at those who describe using the G-Cloud procurement framework as a difficult process.

Both suppliers and buyers have come forward with concerns about how G-Cloud works – in July cloud SME Databarracks’ managing director Peter Groucutt said the constant changes to the framework caused too much confusion.

Meanwhile, Camden Council CIO John Jackson said it was overly complicated and the Government Digital Service (GDS) had a lot to do before G-Cloud could be deemed a success.

However, Findlay reports otherwise, claiming that he finds use of the framework was “relatively straightforward.”

“I was the first user of G-Cloud ever and I’ve never had any challenges with it and neither have the organisations I’ve worked in,” he told UK IT publication Computing.

“It is an iterative process which is getting much better. Most importantly the government has opened up business that was previously never really available to SMEs,” he added.

In March, Findlay told the Think Cloud For Government conference that the HS2 project has used G-Cloud extensively, adding that the majority of suppliers used in the rail development were also SMEs.

Although he dismisses many of the complaints that have been made about the framework, he does acknowledge that buyers may be “spoilt for choice.”

“That’s why GDS has been doing some excellent work on some of the filtering, so you can really narrow it down to get to the services you’re really looking for,” he claimed.

“It has come a significantly long way from where it first started and from a buyer perspective, it has been pretty straightforward for the procurement team within HS2,” he added.

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