Re: Still don't understand how this happens
This stuff shouldn't go out to AWS or any other commercial cloud provider. G-Cloud should be able to offer the same. And if it doesn't, why not?
Because the scalability of cloud services is largely a result of serving a lot of different clients with varying load requirements. A government facility isn't a cloud in this sense, it's just a web server scaled to what is thought to be the maximum likely demand.
The odd thing is that the sites always crash when they're overloaded. If overload is likely it would make sense to throttle access through a proxy that is sufficiently lightweight to have little risk of overload. It wouldn't solve the deadline problem, but it would reduce the problem where slow response makes people queue up numerous retries and open several clients, thereby increasing the overload.
I accept that the use of a commercial provider might be inappropriate, but I should have thought that the information being processed isn't super-sensitive, and it ought to be possible to devise an arrangement that respects security requirements in a commercial environment.