Microsoft and UK government make it easier for public sector organisations to use the Azure cloud

Organisations in the public sector can now buy Azure cloud services and tools directly from Microsoft as part of a new procurement framework agreement between the technology company and the UK government. 

Microsoft has been named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s new Cloud Compute framework agreement. UK public and third sector organisations can use the framework to purchase high volume cloud hosting solutions flexibly.

The move simplifies and speeds up the journey to the cloud for those organisations, making it easier for them to digitally transform, to support data centre migration to the cloud, build run and manage apps, or use AI to analyse large datasets. 

Crown Commercial Service, an executive agency of the Cabinet Office, is the UK’s largest public procurement body, supporting the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services.

The Cloud Compute Framework will allow the public sector to conduct a further competition, or raise catalogue orders and transact Azure orders directly for the first time, via a new digital platform. Our comprehensive partner eco-system will be able to provide many value-added services to help implement and run Azure based solutions. Customers will still also have the choice to transact with Microsoft partners through other programmes. 

Chris Perkins, General Manager of Public Sector at Microsoft UK, said: “This new agreement will allow public sector organisations to increase the pace of their digital transformation, ensuring they can take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform even sooner. The Cloud Compute Framework will empower many more organisations as they look to innovate citizen services, and work smarter and faster. We are delighted to be helping the UK’s public sector on its digital journey.” 

The Cloud Compute Framework has been launched just a few weeks after Microsoft signed a new three-year Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government. 

The new MOU, titled the Digital Transformation Arrangement 2021 (DTA21), allows all eligible public sector organisations to benefit from discounts and beneficial terms for Microsoft 365, Azure as well as associated support and consulting services, and for the first time – Dynamics 365 and Power Platform cloud services. 

The Azure discounts will also apply to customers using the new Cloud Compute Framework. 

The UK government has increasingly focused on cloud services since it launched its Cloud First policy in 2013. The policy was reassessed in 2019 and remains a flagship technology policy. The Cloud Compute Framework and Microsoft’s MoU both build on the Government’s One Government Cloud Strategy and the principles of the Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) strategy, which focuses on modernising technology, strengthening cyber defence, improving digital skills and embedding a culture of innovation. It also supports more recent issues such as supporting the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability and the social value agenda.