Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Public Procurement Contracts
48. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason that the Office of Government Procurement has not established a cloud services procurement framework, despite the Government’s long-held cloud ambitions, as recently re-stated in the Harnessing Digital and Connecting Ireland Plan 2030, and the stated goal in those strategies of taking a cloud-first approach in order to deliver better public services, leveraging the well-documented cybersecurity and sustainability benefits that the cloud provides; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46144/22]
OGP fully supports the Government’s stated goals in relation to the digitalisation of Public Services. In this regard OGP has published a detailed ‘Cloud Services Procurement Guidance Note’ to assist Public Service Bodies (PSBs) in their procurement of cloud services. In addition, OGP provides support to individual PSBs in the procurement of their strategic cloud based solutions.
The adoption of cloud services is not intrinsically linked to the establishment of central procurement arrangements, such as frameworks. The unique characteristics and bespoke nature of many cloud services, such as data protection requirements and the commercial models, are such that the establishment of a central arrangement will not alleviate the need for PSBs to procure cloud services on an individual basis.
Cloud services is a generic term and encompasses a broad range of services (e.g. a service category such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), discrete services such as video conferencing or specialist services such as payroll services) and deployment models (public/ private/ hybrid). Each type of cloud service presents specific challenges in relation to contractual terms and conditions and commercial models depending on the nature and attributes of the service. Thus the reference to a single cloud services procurement framework is overly simplistic as it implies that a single solution can unlock all of the benefits of cloud while failing to recognise the complexity of the cloud services market. OGP must also ensure that the establishment of any central procurement arrangements for cloud services adheres to the prescribed procurement procedures set out under the EU Public Procurement Directives.
OGP has undertaken significant work and engagement with domestic and European stakeholders to identify possible procurement solutions, their scale and scope, along with the associated challenges. OGP has recently conducted an analysis of demand for cloud services across the public service. The outputs from this work are currently being considered by OGP and will inform its approach in relation to the type of cloud services that are suited for central procurement arrangements, the nature of any such solutions and the timing of any such procurement competitions. OGP expects to be in a position to publish its approach and timeline in Q4 2022.