Amazon Web Services (AWS) has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UK government to accelerate the adoption of cloud within the public sector, while also providing opportunities for civil servants to bolster their own tech skills.
The arrangement will see UK government and public sector bodies treated like a single client by AWS so they can benefit from cost savings on its portfolio of public cloud services that the tech giant claims will be on a par with those offered to its large commercial customers.
The deal, dubbed the One Government Value Agreement (OGVA), is the latest in a long line of similar arrangements that government procurement chiefs in the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) have made with various cloud service providers in recent months.
However, whereas most of those deals have focused primarily on the fact that public sector bodies will benefit from preferential pricing on cloud products and services, the OGVA deal appears to be a little more wide-ranging.
For example, the agreement has been divided into two tiers, with the first offering support to public sector organisations that are just getting started with their move to the cloud by giving them access to bespoke training, workshops and access to AWS cloud credits to fund research projects.
The second tier is aimed at larger organisations that are already using cloud in some capacity to help them make the most of their existing off-premise tech investments.
“Together, the benefits from these two tiers will enable AWS public sector customers to reinvent themselves and use the cloud to more rapidly experiment at a lower cost and lower risk than ever before,” said AWS in a statement.
The deal will also support the UK government in its long-standing goal to increase the diversity of suppliers that the public sector deals with by making it easier for smaller players to secure contracts, says AWS.
This is because, through the agreement, any cloud services the public sector wants to procure can be either acquired from AWS directly or via a member of the AWS Partner Network.
“Through the government’s G-Cloud framework, more than 150 companies have already used AWS to help them provide more than £1.3bn of their own services to government,” said the AWS statement. “More than half of these companies are categorised as SMEs, and the OGVA is instrumental in levelling the playing field even further by enabling these companies to compete effectively for larger public sector contracts that they would not have been considered for in the past.”
AWS has also confirmed that the deal will coincide with the creation of a digital skills fund that will be geared towards helping 6,000 civil servants get trained up on cloud skills at no additional cost to the government.
Chris Hayman, director of UK public sector at AWS, said the agreement stands to benefit public sector IT buyers in a variety of ways. “This new agreement will provide a technical skills boost to those working in the public sector, allow smaller suppliers more access to government contracts by supporting a more fair and diverse marketplace, and deliver significant savings to public sector organisations,” he said.
CCS CEO Simon Tse added: “CCS provides commercial agreements that help organisations across the entire public sector save time and money on buying everyday goods and services. This agreement with AWS demonstrates excellent value for the public sector organisations we serve, and supports them in their drive to improve services for citizens across the UK.”