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Government agrees terms with cloud supplier

Company claims agreement fulfills agenda for 'gov as a single customer'

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A cloud computing service provider has claimed an agreement with a central government working group to make it the first supplier in the field to deal with government as a single customer.

Huddle said it has developed common terms and conditions and a pricing model for all of its business with government in agreement with a group initiated by the Cabinet Office and led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It said the agreement applies to any organisation in central and local government and the NHS.

Alistair Mitchell, chief executive officer of Huddle, said the move had been originally prompted by the government's deputy chief information officer, Bill McCluggage, in an effort to promote the development of the G Cloud and the practice of government acting as a single customer to obtain savings. Defra subsequently took the lead in the negotiations with the firm, as it was its biggest customer in Whitehall.

"We jointly identified £287m in cost savings on the IT business by switching from on-premises to the cloud and driving a collaborative services platform," Mitchell said. "They want to use Huddle as a template."

He said details will be available on the Buying Solutions website, but added that the firm provides specific services for government around reporting and support. He also likened the agreement to the memoranda of understanding between the Cabinet Office and a number of major IT suppliers – although he described it "an agreed principle of working across government".

The Cabinet Office declined to comment on the agreement, but a spokeswoman said of its work in developing the use of cloud computing: "The government is progressing work on cloud computing. The foundation delivery partners are forging ahead and we fully expect to deliver the actions related to cloud computing in the ICT strategy."

Mitchell said the company's services are used by two-thirds of central government departments, and that most are already moving over to the new arrangements before the expiry of their existing contracts.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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