Guidance

How to use CloudStore

Information about buying and supplying cloud-based services using the G-Cloud framework.

Overview

CloudStore is an online marketplace where suppliers offer their services to the public sector via the G-Cloud framework. Public sector bodies can review and buy these services on CloudStore.

Cloud computing lets you access internet-based computing, reducing the need to invest in your own hardware and software. Therefore, by using CloudStore 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 CloudStore.

CloudStore services

CloudStore is an online catalogue containing details of suppliers and their services. It offers more than 1,200 suppliers and more than 13,000 services across all types of cloud service models, with offerings under 4 categories (‘Lots’):

The costs of all services offered are set out clearly by suppliers.

Buy services

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

The ‘Buyers Guide’ provides detailed advice on how to buy services through CloudStore. We recommend that you read it before buying any services.

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

You contract directly with the supplier, using the call-off agreement and order form for services offered through:

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

Buyers should be aware when using CloudStore 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 CloudStore by applying through the G-Cloud framework. See the guidance ‘Apply to supply services through G-Cloud’ for detailed instructions.

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. Suppliers can then offer their services to public sector buyers on the CloudStore.

The G-Cloud framework is refreshed every 6 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.

G-Cloud 5 is the next framework and will be available in early 2014.

You can register to be notified about future opportunities and download procurement documents on the Government Procurement Service website.

Assurance

The assurance process helps services offered on CloudStore meet the G-Cloud definitions.

Suppliers should follow the ‘Assurance Guide’ to improve service definitions, pricing schedules, and terms and conditions.

Security accreditation

Suppliers for most services won’t need security accreditation in advance.

Services that hold information at Impact Level 2 or 3 may benefit from having accreditation in advance. However, suppliers can be accredited after they win contracts.

Suppliers who want to be accredited must complete the G-Cloud security accreditation application for each service requiring accreditation. They will also need to complete our Data Protection Act (DPA) checklist.

For detailed information about G-Cloud accreditation, both buyers and suppliers should refer to our ‘Information Assurance guidance and accompanying note on ISO 27001’.

Contact us

For further assistance on how to buy and supply G-Cloud services using the CloudStore or to provide any feedback and suggestions, please send an email to one of the team enquiries@gcloud.cabinet-office.gov.uk.

Further information

The G-Cloud blog publishes updates for buyers and suppliers.

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