G-Cloud 9 will be extended by 12 months next week, with G-Cloud 10 not set to launch until May 2019, sources have told CRN.
Multiple sources, citing contacts in the government, claim to have been told that G-Cloud 9 may run beyond its initial end date of 22 May, with the tenth iteration of the framework not set to come into play until May 2019.
G-Cloud specialist Lindsay Smith told CRN that he had spoken to an employee in one of the government agencies that runs G-Cloud (Government Digital Service and Crown Commercial Service) and been told that the government was debating whether to extend G-Cloud 9, with the likelihood being an extension,
A second source told CRN that the government will next week announce a 12 month extension to G-Cloud 9, which would see G-Cloud 10 not launched until May 2019 - branding the potential decision "a shocker".
A third source said they too are expecting the government to confirm a 12-month extension imminently, claiming that the framework has suffered "a leadership Vacuum since Tony Singleton left".
They added that it is not uncommon for frameworks to be extended while issues are ironed out, but said the move to take up the maximum extension straight away points to "very significant" problems with G-Cloud.
CCS told CRN that an announcement on the future of G-Cloud will be made "in due course".
While numerous suppliers expressed their shock at G-Cloud 9 potentially running for two years, the framework's agreement states that an extension of 12 months could be made after the initial 12 month period. However, multiple suppliers told CRN that at no point did they foresee the full extension being activated.
G-Cloud iterations are typically launched between six and nine months apart, meaning that to continue the current trend G-Cloud 10 would be expected to go live no later than February next year.
Smith told CRN that an extension of G-Cloud 9 would be damaging to SME suppliers not on the framework that had anticipated a new iteration sooner.
He said that if you look back over the last handful of iterations roughly 700 new SME suppliers have joined each time. Suppliers cannot be added in the middle of an iteration, meaning they have to wait and apply for the next version.
New products and services can also not be added mid-iteration, meaning these also have to wait for the next incarnation to launch.
"It's all happening behind closed doors which is the opposite of the open and transparent government that they preach on a regular basis," he said.
"On the one hand we seem to have an industrial strategy where tech SMEs are seen as vital, and then on the other hand you have two departments - one in the Cabinet Office and Crown Commercial Service - deciding internally whether they're really going to do something which damages the growth in this very important sector of the economy.
"It's just not joined up thinking and to me it's going to set back the evolution of the marketplace. The lack of engagement with the supply-side community indicates that the odds are they will go for a delay, which will be done for all the wrong reasons."
Nicky Stewart, commercial director at UKCloud, said a delay would cause issues for suppliers when it comes to pricing, with prices locked in when a G-Cloud iteration goes live and only able to be changed when a new iteration launches.
The potential lack of a new G-Cloud next year could have a knock-on effect for suppliers, who will not be able to adjust their own prices in accordance with vendor price rises.
"Your pricing is essentially fixed on G-Cloud," she said. "There are good reason for that, but all the suppliers within G-Cloud will have suppliers to them and there are third party prices coming down the line - an example would be Microsoft's SLA licensing which goes up 10 per cent, probably, in January."
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