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Over 250 suppliers dash to snatch up G Cloud tender

'We really want to do this but we're still learning'

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The Government Procurement Service has received more than 250 responses to the tender notice for G Cloud services, according to the official overseeing the programme.

Andy Nelson, chief information officer at the Ministry of Justice, said there had been 250 to 300 responses to the notice in the Official Journal of the European Union. The notice was issued at the end of September to test the market for services through a short-term framework.

The news will dampen speculation that the duration of the framework, just six to nine months, would not be enough to attract interest from suppliers. But Nelson did not provide any details on the responses.

Speaking at the Public Sector Enterprise ICT conference in London, Nelson told delegates that standardising services and moving towards a 'pay as you go' model of procurement would would provide the biggest hurdle to take-up of the G Cloud. But he made it clear that the government was determined to move towards using a centralised procurement model for cloud based ICT services.

"We really want to do this but we're still learning," Nelson said. "We are shifting away from theory and starting to put real things out there."

Nelson noted examples of cloud working in the public sector, including Warwickshire County Council's provision of email services via Google mail and AlphaGov, the government's digital service, which is hosted on the public cloud.

He also said that plans for cloud service applications store were on track and would go live in basic form in March 2012, and that there should be 50 accredited apps available to access by the end of the year.

"Conceptually [commoditised services is] exactly where we're heading," he said. "Clearly standing it up in government framework with consumer usage is different. But conceptually that's where we're going".

The store is expected to work in a similar way as the Apple app store, with customer reviews and clear pricing.

Last month, the Cabinet Office published Government Cloud Strategy, which set out plans for half of Whitehall's new ICT spending to be spent on cloud services by 2015.

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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