Government IT systems ‘shouldn’t be costly, embarrassing failures’

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G-Cloud system needs to deliver a cost effective, efficient service

As part of its attempts to modernise the public sector and promote cost efficiency measures, the government’s G-Cloud service is gradually being introduced as departments are given the opportunity to purchase various cloud-based programs via the Cloudstore scheme.

Yet given the problems a number of public organisations have had with data protection issues and exposing sensitive information, the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has emphasised the need for the government’s new system to be an accessible, money saving resource – and not an expensive disappointment.

"We need to make government synonymous with digital services that are cost effective, and easy to use, not costly, embarrassing failures," he told the Intellect World Class Public Services conference.

The G-Cloud service itself is designed to encourage departments to take advantage of the benefits that can be enjoyed through adopting cloud computing – for example, improved data sharing and increased connectivity – but there have been reservations over the willingness of workers to use the system.

However, with the Register reporting that the government’s chief information officer, Andy Nelson, has revealed that £500,000 worth of purchases were made from the Cloudstore – the online catalogue of cloud programs that the public sector uses to procure certain services – between February and April, the early signs look to be positive.

"[One of our challenges is] maintaining the momentum," he said. "Every department will need to come out with a digital agenda by the end of this year."

If the G-Cloud is to prove effective in delivering long-term savings on the government’s IT spending, then it will rely on the ability of public sector workers to familiarise themselves with the new system, while the online backup of files will have to be secure if a strong level of trust is to be placed in the scheme.

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