Tefogo Ltd have been named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) G-Cloud 13 agreement.
So what is G-Cloud?
G-Cloud is a procurement framework. These allow public sector bodies to more easily procure goods and services fairly and in compliance with the law.
G-Cloud is a well-established framework specifically designed for cloud-based software and services like Compassly, and has been running for over a decade.
Why is that important?
Public sector procurement rightly involves a lot of checks and processes to ensure that tax-payer money is appropriately spent. Carrying out these checks and following these processes are resource-intensive and take procurement departments a long time – and it’s not great fun for suppliers to repeatedly go through them either.
G-Cloud 13 is a procurement framework, with pre-approved suppliers and products. That means that many of these checks, processes and legal requirements have already been carried out once, thoroughly, by a central government organisation – the Crown Commercial Service (CSS).
So when a public-sector organisation wants to procure a solution like Compassly, in using a framework like G-Cloud they already have a huge head-start, skipping a lot of the time and effort that a normal procurement exercise would otherwise involve.
I’m a healthcare professional, not a procurement expert. Why should I care?
Fair point. And beyond a basic level, you probably shouldn’t – unless you have a particular passion for procurement legal frameworks of course.
But understanding at least the basics is useful:
- It’s a very good starting point for the discussion with procurement – even just mentioning “Compassly is on G-Cloud” will inform them that using a framework is an option
- There will still be an important role for healthcare professionals in the procurement process, for example in specifying the scope and requirements to assess solutions against
- Knowing more about the process and timelines help you plan implementation and communicate this clearly with others
- G-Cloud doesn’t cover everything in procurement, and it’s worth broadly understanding what else still needs to be done
This should all support you to have a more informed discussion with your organisation’s procurement department, who can then help you more easily.
How does this fit into rolling-out Compassly?
Having a route to procure Compassly is only one part of the decision to implement Compassly at your organisation. Other steps may include:
- Understanding the particular needs of your organisation
- Getting wider buy-in to the solution
- Carrying out an Information Security & Governance review
- Detailed scoping, quotation and business case
- Implementation and communications planning
While the procurement process typically comes towards the end of this, it’s always helpful to engage with the procurement department and understand the process very early on. This avoids any surprises further down the line, lets you plan for any specific requirements, and helps them to support you throughout.
G-Cloud doesn’t pay for Compassly
A final key point to clarify up-front:
✅ G-Cloud is a route for government organisations to procure software products and services
❌ It does not provide funding for those products or services
Occasionally government frameworks also cover the funding for goods and services (this is rare though). That isn’t the case for G-Cloud; funding will still need to be secured by the organisation procuring through G-Cloud.
We can support with this and help you answer any questions your organisation has about cost-benefits and business cases, just ask and we’ll be glad to assist you.
The G-Cloud 13 listing isn’t yet live on the Government Digital Marketplace, but we’ll update this post with the link when it is. This is expected to happen in early November 2022.
More on G-Cloud
Does the G-Cloud listing cover everything Compassly does?
No! We had to write and submit our G-Cloud 13 listing back in the spring of 2022, and Compassly is continuously evolving and developing – it’s already moved on a lot just between our submission and the framework going live, and ever more features will be added before G-Cloud 14 replaces it and we can re-list what Compassly does.
G-Cloud does provide a clear baseline of features and benefits – but you should see that as a minimum of what Compassly does, not the current or future limit. G-Cloud listings also provide quite a restricted way of presenting the service (with some answers restricted to just ten words!), so they can’t always fully explain what the product does.
You should always refer to our website for the latest, full set of capabilities of Compassly, or just ask one of the team.
Is G-Cloud the same as the Government Digital Marketplace?
There are two important and interrelated concepts that you might hear – “G-Cloud” and the “Government Digital Marketplace”, but they’re not quite the same
- G-Cloud is a procurement framework – including the legally mandated steps, documentation and formal legal agreements needed. G-Cloud 13 is just the 13th iteration of it.
- The Government Digital Marketplace is the website that lists all services provided under G-Cloud (and a few other frameworks). It provides a relatively straightforward portal for seeing all of the services listed under these frameworks – and given there were 11,854 services under Lot 2 of G-Cloud 12 alone… this is a good thing
The two work together – buyers can use the Government Digital Marketplace to find and evaluate providers and services that have been accepted onto the relevant procurement frameworks, like G-Cloud 13.
How was Compassly selected?
The government publishes some helpful background information here.
What isn’t covered under G-Cloud?
You may see some companies promoting their listing on G-Cloud as some sort of cyber-security standard. This is true only in quite a loose sense – suppliers are asked to provide answers to a lot of questions about information governance and security, but those answers (a) allow for a wide range of actual security standards and (b) are not externally vetted.
Of course, the standards that each service should be adhering to are quite variable. Digital products that act as medical devices have far higher information security and governance requirements than (say) simple mapping software. It’s up to each buyer to assess how the standards of any supplier line up with their own requirements for the software that they are procuring.
What G-Cloud and the Government Digital Market Place do help with is ensuring that all suppliers provide clear answers to a consistent, sensible set of questions, and make these easily accessible to buyers – which should greatly help that process of evaluation.
Is G-Cloud just for the NHS?
G-Cloud 13 and the Government Digital Marketplace are available to all public sector organisations, so any public sector body should be able to use them, not just the NHS. For example local authorities, public education and criminal justice organisations can all procure this way.
Can private sector providers use it?
No, not directly – private sector and charitable providers will need to run their own procurement exercises.
However, the listings on the Government Digital Marketplace are publicly available for everyone to see, so it’s not a bad place for non-public sector organisations to discover and initially evaluate suitable suppliers.
Is it just England? Or just the UK?
G-Cloud 13 is valid across the whole of the UK, although the exact use of it may vary in the different countries of the UK.
It isn’t valid internationally, but as with private sector organisations, international buyers are still able to review the information published on the Government Digital Marketplace – but some standards may not apply in other geographies or jurisdictions, and not all services are available internationally.
How do I use it?
Sadly, despite being called a “Marketplace”, this isn’t really like Amazon where you can just 1-click order what you want, there are still quite a lot of steps you’ll need to go through.
Procurement departments will generally know how to work with procurement frameworks like G-Cloud, and they are probably your best guide through it all. There are also helpful buyers guides that provide an overview of what you need to do.
Please reach out to us (or put your procurement team in touch) if you have any questions on the process – our team has years of experience of working with G-Cloud.
So do I have to run a procurement competition?
No, in fact G-Cloud prohibits that. You should be able to use the search criteria to select a short-list of suppliers and products/services, and from that use the information to evaluate the offerings directly (you can still ask certain questions of suppliers).
If only one supplier matches your criteria then G-Cloud allows you to award the contract without doing anything else.
How long will it take to procure?
The phase that involves G-Cloud can be relatively quick – we’ve seen procurement departments get through it in a week or two. But there will typically be wider organisation processes that need to be carried out as part of procurement (such as executive sign-off) and these often take at least a month, but more commonly two or even three months.
It’s worth understanding what this process looks like up-front, so you can be prepared and get through the process as quickly and smoothly as possible. It’s very frustrating to find out about a key monthly committee that needs to provide approval… a few days after that committee just met.
How does this fit with my organisation’s procurement rules?
It supplements rather than replaces them. For example, your organisation is likely to have rules in place for how spend needs to be approved (with different rules for different levels of spend). This will still apply irrespective of using G-Cloud.
There may be some areas where G-Cloud and your standard procurement approaches are not initially compatible. For example, G-Cloud has a number of rules for “buying fairly” that do not allow for running tender exercises alongside G-Cloud, and while you’re free to ask questions of suppliers, it explicitly states that “you must not negotiate with suppliers about the details of their service.”
Most public sector organisations will be happy to follow the requirements of G-Cloud, but those that prefer not to are still free to procure through their standard organisation processes – this is just likely to take a lot more time and effort.
How long does a procured service on G-Cloud last?
G-Cloud 13 states that:
Contract awards on G-Cloud normally last for up to 24 months, but they can be extended by one year and then a further year.
The process for extending is relatively straightforward, and so G-Cloud contracts can be thought of as running for anywhere up to four years. After that, you’d need to re-procure on the latest version of G-Cloud (or equivalent).
Compassly’s place on G-Cloud
Why G-Cloud, and not the other frameworks on the Government Digital Marketplace?
These are not designed for Software as a Service products like Compassly – they are designed for hiring expert contractors/consultants and data centre capacity respectively.
G-Cloud 13 is just the latest version – and the government only ever operates one live framework at a time, so from the point when G-Cloud 13 is live, G-Cloud 12 and previous frameworks can no longer be used for procuring services (but existing contracts are fine).
Why Lot 2?
G-Cloud 13 has three main “lots”
- Lot 1: Cloud hosting
- Lot 2: Cloud software
- Lot 3: Cloud support
Lot 1 is more for platform providers (like AWS, Azure or GCP) and Lot 3 is for specialised trainers, implementers etc. We fit perfectly into Lot 2, which is specifically designed for cloud software like Compassly.
There is also a Lot 4 (new for G-Cloud 13) which is designed for larger scale cloud transformations, and works a bit differently to the rest. This isn’t relevant to Compassly either.
This has been in the works for about two years; G-Cloud 12, the previous version, launched in September 2020 but you had to submit your application by July 2020 (before Compassly was available). We’ve been waiting a long time to be able to list – it’s normally an annual cycle, but for fairly indefensible reasons CSS didn’t run a G-Cloud application process in 2021.
When will G-Cloud 13 no longer be available?
The frameworks typically run for a year, but they have been extended before (G-Cloud 12 in particular). We will apply for G-Cloud 14 when the time comes to ensure continuity.