Socitm refutes criticism of councils for 'wasting millions' by ‘ignoring government IT cloud’

6 Jun 2014 12:35 PM

Socitm has issued a strong rebuttal of press reports published by the BBC and Computer Weekly earlier this week, based on research by Bull compiled from FoI requests to county councils. 

The reports, claiming councils were 'wasting millions' by 'not using the G-Cloud', show poor understanding of how local councils procure and deploy IT, says Socitm

Bull’s data suggests that in 2012-13, county councils spent nearly £440m in total on IT services, including staffing costs, but that only £385,000, or 1% of that was going through the government's "G-Cloud" framework.

Socitm does not dispute the data about the proportion of spending going through G-Cloud, but challenges the conclusions being drawn from it on the following grounds: 

So, whilst local government is making less use of the G-cloud framework than its central government counterparts, that is partly because the G-Cloud (and the Government Digital Service) was established primarily to address problems with central government IT procurement and deployment practice. The PASC inquiry report said that central government’s over-reliance on large contractors for IT needs, and a lack of in-house skills, had created a ‘recipe for rip-offs’.

While local government has to date made less use of the G-Cloud that its central government counterparts, it has engaged with the programme from its inception and played a significant role in G-Cloud creation and implementation.

Socitm research suggests that G-Cloud may not always offer the most cost effective solution for councils. Kent County Council told Socitm that: ‘We have used the G-cloud to procure some software, but it is not currently able to offer the time savings, quality assurances and consistency necessary to make it effective. We have raised these issues with the Cabinet Office and believe that until these are addressed, the G-cloud does not offer the best route for sourcing software for local authorities.’ 

According to Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy & Research at Socitm: ‘G-Cloud is already a useful procurement framework. However it is still in its relative infancy, as is cost effective public cloud provision for use in councils more generally. What will make the G-cloud increasingly attractive will be the flexibility to use it in ways which deliver best value and sustainable IT architectures fit for the future, especially where these impact on councils’ increasing need to join-up and deliver services with partners in Health, Police, Voluntary and other sectors. It is also the case that the biggest beneficiaries of cloud computing, and G-cloud as a procurement vehicle, are likely to be the smaller public service organisations which were not covered in the FOI research carried out by Bull.’

Further information

Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy & Research, Socitm

Tel: 07931 456 238  e-mail:

Vicky Sargent, Socitm Press Office

Tel: 07726 601 139  e-mail: