The UK government has introduced a "cloud-first" policy for procuring IT systems, echoing a similar policy introducing by the US government in 2010.
"In future, when procuring new or existing services, public sector organisations should consider and fully evaluate potential Cloud solutions first – before they consider any other option," the Cabinet Office said in a statement.
The policy is mandated for central government departments and "strongly recommended" for other public sector organisations.
The government made the announcement as the third iteration of its G-Cloud procurement framework was announced. However, government organisations will not be obliged to buy cloud services through the voluntary framework, although it is hoped that they will.
As of March 2013, public sector organisations have spent a combined £18.2 million through the G-Cloud framework, which was launched in February 2012. This represent 0.3% of the government's combined £6.9 billion annual IT spend.
The US government launched its cloud first policy in 2010. According to a survey of federal IT executives in 2012, the policy had shaved an average of 7% from their IT spending. With US government IT spending at $78.9 billion in 2013, that represent a $5.5 billion.
Correction An earlier version of this story said that Amazon Web Services was a glaring omission from the G-Cloud framework. However, earlier today public sector cloud services provider Arcus Global announced that it will be reselling AWS services through the G-Cloud framework, making Amazon's cloud available through the framework for the first time.