Guidance

G-Cloud suppliers' guide

How to sell cloud hosting, software and support on the Digital Marketplace

The Digital Marketplace and G-Cloud

Public sector organisations, including agencies and arm’s length bodies, use the Digital Marketplace to find cloud services, specialists who can work on digital projects and physical datacentre space. If you want to supply any of these things to government, you need to apply to be on the relevant framework.

Type of service Example services Framework
Cloud hosting, software and support Accounting software or content delivery networks G-Cloud
Physical datacentre space   Crown Hosting
Digital outcomes, specialists, and user research facilities and participants An appointment booking system beta or a technical architect Digital Outcomes and Specialists

The public sector can use the G-Cloud framework on the Digital Marketplace to find:

  • cloud hosting, for example content delivery networks or load balancing services
  • cloud software, for example accounting tools or customer service management software
  • cloud support, for example migration services or ongoing support

If you want to sell these services on the Digital Marketplace, you need to apply to G-Cloud and provide your service details.

You can only do this when an Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) contract notice has been issued. At this point, suppliers will have 4 to 6 weeks to apply to the framework. On average, a contract notice will be issued every 6 to 9 months.

At the moment, the G-Cloud framework is closed for supplier applications. The next G-Cloud framework is expected to open in 2019.

If your application is successful, buyers will be able to find your services on the Digital Marketplace.

Who can apply to the framework

G-Cloud is open to cloud service suppliers of all sizes. Previously, smaller suppliers may have found it difficult to invest time and resources in the long application process. The simplified application process creates a fairer and more competitive marketplace.

You don’t need to be based in the UK to provide services.

Frameworks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Suppliers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can sell through G-Cloud but there are also public sector procurement websites for each country:

Who shouldn’t apply

G-Cloud isn’t for:

  • services that aren’t cloud-related
  • recruitment or contractor services
  • ‘colocation’ services, for example equipment the buyer rents from a supplier’s datacentre
  • hardware
  • bespoke development

Services you can sell on the framework

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting suppliers provide cloud platform or infrastructure services that can help buyers:

  • deploy, manage and run software
  • provision and use processing, storage or networking resources

Buyers only need to pay for what they use.

Suppliers must provide cloud hosting services in at least one of these categories:

  • archiving, backup and disaster recovery
  • compute and application hosting
  • container service
  • content delivery network
  • database
  • NoSQL database
  • relational database
  • data warehousing
  • load balancing
  • logging and analysis
  • message queuing and processing
  • networking (including Network as a Service)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • infrastructure and platform security
  • distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) protection
  • firewall
  • intrusion detection
  • protective monitoring
  • search
  • storage
  • block storage
  • object storage

Cloud software

Cloud software suppliers provide applications that are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud. Buyers only need to pay for what they use.

Suppliers must provide cloud software services in at least one of these categories:

  • accounting and finance
  • analytics and business intelligence
  • application security
  • collaborative working
  • creative, design and publishing
  • customer relationship management (CRM)
  • electronic document and records management (EDRM)
  • healthcare
  • human resources and employee management
  • information and communication technology (ICT)
  • legal and enforcement
  • marketing
  • operations management
  • project management and planning
  • sales
  • schools, education and libraries
  • software development tools
  • transport and logistics

Cloud support

Cloud support suppliers provide services to help buyers set up and maintain their cloud services.

Suppliers must provide cloud support services in at least one of these categories:

  • planning
  • setup and migration
  • training
  • security services
  • quality assurance and performance testing
  • ongoing support

All G-Cloud suppliers must work in a way that helps buyers comply with the Technology Code of Practice.

How to apply

All supplier applications go through the Digital Marketplace. To apply, you must:

  1. Create, or log into, a supplier account on the Digital Marketplace.
  2. Start your G-Cloud application.
  3. Make the supplier declaration on the Digital Marketplace.
  4. Add service information on the Digital Marketplace.
  5. Wait for eligibility checks to be made on your information.
  6. Get the result of your application.
  7. Sign and return your framework agreement on the Digital Marketplace.

Each step in this process is mandatory.

1. Create, or log into, a supplier account on the Digital Marketplace

Create an account or log into your existing account to start your application.

You’ll need a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number first.

After you’ve created an account, you can invite extra contributors to help you add services more quickly.

2. Start your G-Cloud application

When G-Cloud is open and you’re logged into your account, click on ‘Start application’. This starts the application process and signs you up to receive G-Cloud updates.

Asking questions during the application process

You can ask ‘clarification’ questions during the application process. All questions about this procurement must be submitted through the Digital Marketplace on the G-Cloud updates page. CCS won’t respond to questions individually.

All questions and answers will be posted regularly on the G-Cloud updates page. Anyone who has started an application will be notified when new clarification questions and answers are available.

If you have any technical issues with the Digital Marketplace, email enquiries@digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk.

Commercially sensitive clarification questions

You may not want the answer to your question to be published. Explain when you submit the question why you believe that making the question and response public would put you at a disadvantage.

If GDS and CCS don’t think that there’s a clear need to withhold the question and answer, you’ll be asked to decide if:

  • the question and the response should in fact be published
  • you want to withdraw the question

3. Make the supplier declaration on the Digital Marketplace

You must make the supplier declaration to be eligible to provide cloud services to the public sector. If you don’t complete the supplier declaration, any services you mark as complete won’t be automatically submitted. You have to:

  • agree to the framework terms
  • confirm how you’ll work with government
  • answer questions to establish grounds for mandatory exclusion
  • answer questions to establish grounds for discretionary exclusion
  • provide information about your organisation

4. Add your service information on the Digital Marketplace

You need to provide your service details on the Digital Marketplace. You can copy your services if you’re reapplying and your services haven’t changed.

Each service you include needs to fit into one of 3 categories, or ‘lots’:

You can apply to provide services in as many categories as you want. Each service you add must be marked as ‘complete’ on the Digital Marketplace.

Your services will be automatically submitted as part of your application on the deadline day if you’ve also made your supplier declaration.

Information you need to include

You’ll be asked to include information like a short service description, product features and benefits, and pricing details. You have:

  • 50 words to introduce your service
  • 100 words to describe up to 10 service benefits (10 words per benefit), for example simplified system maintenance
  • 100 words to describe up to 10 service features (10 words per feature), for example real-time reporting

You’ll also have your own supplier page where you have 50 words to describe your organisation.

Writing advice for suppliers

Clear content can help a buyer understand and, ultimately, choose your service. Any descriptions you include should be relevant, concise and written in plain English. Don’t include keywords. They make services harder to find and understand.

Talking about security

You’ll need to answer a series of questions to help buyers understand how your service works. Buyers will use the government’s Cloud Security Principles to help them understand how secure your service is.

Don’t describe your service as ‘Official Sensitive’. This isn’t a classification. Read the:

Documents you need to include

Before you can submit a cloud service to the Digital Marketplace, you need to add a:

  • pricing document
  • terms and conditions (specific to that service) document

You can also add a:

  • ‘service definition’ document
  • Skills for the Information Age (SFIA) rate card

All documents should be in an open format.

Pricing document

Your pricing document should include:

  • the service price, including unit prices, volume discounts and data extraction costs
  • what isn’t included in the price
  • prices for extra services
Terms and conditions

The service terms and conditions you provide can’t be changed while the framework is live.

There can only be one set of terms and conditions on the Digital Marketplace for each cloud service.

The terms and conditions document is not the signed framework agreement signature page between CCS and the supplier.

Read about terms and conditions of Digital Marketplace frameworks.

Service definition document

You’ll be asked questions about how your service works when you apply, but if you want to provide more information, you can add a ‘service definition’ document. This could include detailed information about:

  • what the service is
  • the levels of data backup and restore, and disaster recovery you’ll provide
  • any onboarding and offboarding support you provide
  • a pricing overview, including volume discounts or data extraction costs
  • service constraints like maintenance windows or the level of customisation allowed
  • service levels like performance, availability and support hours
  • how you’ll repay buyers if you don’t meet service levels
  • the ordering and invoicing process
  • how buyers or suppliers can terminate a contract
  • any technical requirements

Your service definition document will be on your service page on the Digital Marketplace but it won’t be indexed by search.

Don’t include links marketing the service or pricing information. You can refer to your website.

5. Wait for eligibility checks to be made on your information

CCS will evaluate the information you provide in your application against the criteria published in the invitation to apply on the Digital Marketplace.

CCS will:

  • monitor supplier credit scores, for example Experian credit scores and Dun & Bradstreet financial stress scores
  • investigate specific queries raised about suppliers
  • perform random spot checks on services to ensure they match the information provided in supplier applications

6. Get the result of your application

You’ll then get an email telling you whether your application to G-Cloud has been successful. You can also access your application result through your Digital Marketplace account.

7. Sign and return your framework agreement

If your application was successful, you’ll enter into an agreement with CCS. Your framework agreement will be available in your account on the Digital Marketplace. You’ll need to sign and return your framework agreement within 10 working days of it being issued.

8. Your services will go live on the Digital Marketplace

Your services will be available on the Digital Marketplace as soon as the framework goes live. Buyers who want to buy your services must enter into a contract (or ‘call-off’) with you and accept the terms and conditions you submitted when you applied. The maximum length of a contract is 24 months.

The G-Cloud framework isn’t like most other frameworks because it incorporates the suppliers’ terms and conditions. If there are differences between a supplier’s terms and conditions and those in the contract, the contract terms will be used.

Read:

When to apply to the framework

The G-Cloud 10 framework is closed for supplier applications. The next G-Cloud framework is expected to open in 2019.

A new version of the G-Cloud framework is released about every 6 to 9 months. If you have an account on the Digital Marketplace, we’ll email you before a new framework iteration opens for applications so you can prepare. You need to apply to continue to offer services.

Sign up for email notifications about when the framework opens.

New suppliers

The G-Cloud framework is a catalogue of services where the basic terms of use have already been agreed between the government and suppliers. This means buyers can buy services without running a full OJEU procurement process each time.

You can apply to supply services when a new version is published on the OJEU. You don’t need to be based in the UK to apply to the framework, but you need to agree to the terms of the framework agreement and contract, which are governed by English law.

Follow the steps in ‘How to apply to the framework’ to submit a new application.

Applying for a new category

If you want to offer services in a category that you haven’t successfully applied for before, you can apply to do this when a new version of the G-Cloud framework is released. You’ll get a ‘contract notice’ (formal notification telling all potential suppliers about a public sector contract opportunity) from the OJEU before each new release of the framework.

Editing existing services

You can make edits to your service:

  • title
  • description
  • features and benefits

You can’t change the service itself or how it works.

You could be asked to prove it’s still the same service if you make a major edit. If you can’t provide evidence, your service could be removed from the Digital Marketplace.

How to remove services

You can see a list of your G-Cloud services in your Digital Marketplace account. To remove one, select it, scroll to the bottom and click the ‘remove service’ button.

When you’ve done this, it won’t come up in Digital Marketplace search results any more but you’ll still be able to see the service details in your account.

What removing services means for buyers

If a buyer enters into a contract for a service that a supplier then removes, the contract is still valid. The URL of the service will remain public but a banner will be added to the service page saying when the supplier made the service unavailable.

Putting a service back on the Digital Marketplace

If you’ve removed a service and want to restore it, email enquiries@digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk with the details, including the service ID.

Read more information about the Digital Marketplace.

Published 24 September 2013
Last updated 30 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. Removed out-of-date references to G-Cloud 8.
  2. G-Cloud 10 closed for applications
  3. G-Cloud 10 is open for applications
  4. G-Cloud details updated
  5. Revised G-Cloud 10 opening date
  6. You can now edit part of your G-Cloud 9 services on the Digital Marketplace.
  7. Updated to show that G-Cloud 9 is closed for applications.
  8. The G-Cloud 9 framework is now open for applications.
  9. Updated to reflect changes to categories in the G-Cloud 9 framework.
  10. The G-Cloud 8 framework is now closed for supplier applications. We expect G-Cloud 9 to be open for supplier applications in early 2017.
  11. G-Cloud application deadline is now 5pm BST, 23 June 2016.
  12. G-Cloud 8 is open for supplier applications
  13. First published.