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Councils' ignoring of G-Cloud is a waste of money

Local government is potentially “wasting millions” on IT services, as new research reveals that councils across the UK are “ignoring” the G-Cloud framework.

A freedom of information (FOI) has revealed that of the £440 million spent by county councils on ICT during 2012-2013, just £385,000 was spent via the procurement network – amounting to less than one per cent.

Kent County Council is listed as the biggest IT spender, with tech costs amounting to £38.5 million in 2012-2013 - but only £94,750 of this amount was spent on G-Cloud.

Meanwhile, Hampshire County Council did not use any of its total £38 million IT spend on the procurement framework.

Andrew Carr, chief executive at IT firm Bull – responsible for the FOI- claims that these findings are “hugely disappointing and quite shocking.”

“By sharing infrastructure costs and moving to the cloud, county councils could take 20% to 25% out of total IT costs – they’re wasting millions not doing this,” Carr claimed.

Money “wasted on legacy systems”

The £440 million ICT costs figure includes expenses such as paying more than 3200 staff, support services and outsourcing, as well as software and hardware systems.

The FOI, which quizzed 27 UK councils and received 26 responses, asked participants if they used legacy systems – defined as “an information system based on out-dated technologies but is still critical to day-to-day operations.”

Bull claimed that councils hold a different definition, believing they are not using legacy systems, but in reality, they are spending huge amounts of money on supporting such systems.

Government “must promote G-Cloud benefits”

Phil Dawson, chief executive of Skyscape Cloud Services – a firm that often comments on G-Cloud issues – has also expressed his concerns about the FOI results.

“My one plea to government would be that they shout louder and more frequently about the case studies demonstrating the cost savings that can be achieved through the cloud,” he said.

This is not the first time the government has been publicly called upon to more actively promote the benefits of G-Cloud; in March, Home Office CTO Denise McDonagh criticised the Cabinet Office for not doing enough to promote the network.

Despite speculation that local government is not utilising the potential of G-Cloud and the Cabinet Office is not doing enough to promote it, there have been some positive reports.

Last month, the framework’s programme director Tony Singleton promised work was being done to improve its visibility, while recent sales figures show council engagement is increasing.