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Cabinet Office extends G Cloud deadline

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The Cabinet Office has extended the deadline for suppliers to apply to join its G Cloud framework by three weeks to 19 December.

It said that it has received 532 expressions of interest to its invitation to tender, which was published in October, but wants to give even more companies an opportunity to apply.

The £60m framework, which aims to provide government departments with 'pay as you go' IT services, has been designed to be accessible to SMEs, according to the Cabinet Office.

It claims that less stringent evidence of financial history is required from the SMEs that apply, there is no lengthy pre-qualification questionnaire, and suppliers are asked what they can offer, rather than government providing a "complicated specification that stifles innovation".

Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, said this was an example of government changing procurement. "We are asking suppliers what they can offer and setting out our requirements in the simplest way possible," he said.

Stephen Allott, crown representative for SMEs, said: "This is the most innovative framework I've seen since working at the Cabinet Office.

"Thankfully it's not the only one. A consultancy framework announced just last week had similar features – simple steps that level the playing field for SMEs. Things are really starting to change."

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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