How to buy and supply cloud-based services

Digital Marketplace now replaces CloudStore for buying and supplying cloud-based services using the G-Cloud framework.

This guidance was withdrawn on

See the G-Cloud framework guide to find out how to buy and supply cloud services.


Digital Marketplace is where suppliers offer their services to the public sector via the G-Cloud framework. Public sector bodies can review and buy these services.

Cloud computing lets you access internet-based computing, reducing the need to invest in your own hardware and software. Using G-Cloud, you can:

  • avoid long contracts
  • buy the exact amount of computing resources you need
  • save money on maintenance and physical storage
  • avoid custom-built solutions which take a long time to create, are expensive and difficult to upgrade

G-Cloud framework

A framework is a general term for agreements with suppliers that set out terms and conditions under which purchases (‘call-offs’) can be made throughout the term of the agreement.

The difference between G-Cloud and other frameworks is that you pay for services as you use them, rather than being tied to inflexible, long-term contracts. You can buy these services through Digital Marketplace.

Buy services

All government departments, devolved administrations, local authorities, wider public sector bodies and arm’s length bodies are eligible to buy services on Digital Marketplace. If you’re uncertain of your eligibility, please consult the complete list of these public sector organisations.

Our service manual explains how you can choose the right technology for your needs.

On Digital Marketplace the services offered by suppliers are in fixed units. For example, a service is as an hour of computer resource or 1 month’s access to a specific feature of an Enterprise Resource Planning system.

Buyers should be aware when using Digital Marketplace that services:

  • are at non-negotiable prices
  • describe what the price covers

Buyers can’t negotiate with suppliers, but they can:

  • talk to suppliers – suppliers can’t change their offer, they can only clarify it
  • select which service they want, and buy it

There are no contract extensions; call-off contracts can last for up to 24 months maximum.

Supply services through G-Cloud

Suppliers can be a part of the Digital Marketplace by applying through the G-Cloud framework.

Suppliers must follow a tendering process known as the OJEU process (the Official Journal of the European Union, the central database for European public sector tender notice) under the Open Procedure.

The procedure is compliant with The Public Contracts Regulations 2006.

There are 4 steps to becoming a G-Cloud supplier:

  1. Suppliers submit the services they want to supply through the G-Cloud framework.
  2. The government creates a framework agreement with the eligible suppliers.
  3. The government conducts assurance checks.
  4. Accepted suppliers can then offer their services to public sector buyers on the Digital Marketplace.

The G-Cloud framework is refreshed every 6 to 9 months at which point new and existing suppliers can submit bids to supply services. Suppliers are notified when the new G-Cloud framework is open through an OJEU Contract Notice.

You can register to be notified about future opportunities on the Crown Commercial Service website.


The assurance process helps services offered on Digital Marketplace meet the National Institute of Standards in Technology definitions for cloud computing.

Security classifications

There are 3 government security classifications for information:


Most Digital Marketplace services are classified OFFICIAL, based on the government’s Cloud Security Principles.

When suppliers submit a new service to the G-Cloud framework, they need to:

  • select from a list of statements that show how they meet the Cloud Security Principles
  • provide evidence and documents to support their answers
  • continuously update their security details, ensuring buyers always have the latest information

The security answers are saved on Digital Marketplace so that buyers can assess and compare services based on their specific security requirements.

Suppliers can use existing security-assurance evidence, such as ISO27001 or CSA STAR certifications. They can also use additional or different supporting approaches, like IT Health Checks, as and when new evidence is available.

Contact us

For further help on how to buy and supply G-Cloud services using the Digital Marketplace or to provide feedback and suggestions, email the team:

Further information

The Digital Marketplace blog publishes updates for buyers and suppliers.

Published 10 October 2014