The State Government of Victoria, Australia, has moved to streamline its ICT procurement programme to open up competition for lucrative contracts, while creating a more transparent reporting regime.
The Victorian State Government’s ICT reforms agenda will see the scrapping of a controversial e-Services Panel, to be replaced by an e-Services Register.
This new register, to be fully operational in 2013, will be mandated for use by all government departments and agencies.
A register model offers a more effective mechanism for the Victorian Government to procure ICT services and solutions.
Victorian Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said this latest change was recommended by a high-level joint industry and government working party.
This group was appointed last November to review the way the Victorian Government procured its ICT services.
This working party was established after industry and government consultation highlighted a need to change the way ICT services were being sourced in the State of Victoria.
“We have accepted the preferred option of the working party report and will consult with industry over the next few months on how this recommendation can best be implemented,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Current suppliers are automatically eligible to join the e-Services Register. This register opens up competition, increases value for money, and enables the Victorian Government to consider new and innovative technology and services, Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Earlier, concerns were raised about the Victorian Government’s e-Services Panel. Among these, it was alleged that shelf companies with “self-written evaluations” were being accepted onto supplier panels.
Agencies noted that they had insufficient information about companies on the procurement panel. Generalised contracts did not necessarily fit agencies’ needs. There was little regard for privacy obligations.
These concerns were highlighted in an “e-Services Government and Industry Working Party Report.” Among its findings, this report cautioned that there were inadequate reference checks as part of the ICT panel selection process.
Issues surfaced that government users were not contacted to discuss the track record of suppliers. Shelf companies were traced among panel members.
“A one-size-fits-all contract is inadequate in some circumstances. For example, contracts relating to the provision of cloud services ought to include special protection for personal information,” the working party report noted.
This report said an e-Services Panel search tool was inadequate. Categories did not align with areas of capabilities. There was insufficient information on companies’ know-how and skills. The panel did not provide sufficient suppliers’ reports. The performance feedback process was not optimal.
A new e-Services Register seeks to address these ICT procurement concerns. This register aims to ensure that an application process is clear, simple and easy to operate.
An application process is expected to be widely-accessible, secure, reliable and more readily-validated.
Membership of this e-Services register is restricted to companies with demonstrated capabilities and financial stability.
Track latest ICT reforms in Victoria @ next week’s FutureGov Forum Victoria (Tuesday 19th June, Melbourne). http://www.futuregov.asia/events/futuregov-forum-victoria-2012/
Keynotes feature Martin Hopley, Department of Treasury and Finance (Victoria), Chris Dowling, Department of Premier and Cabinet (Victoria), and Paul O’Connor, Auditor-General’s Office (Victoria).
International keynotes by Kenneth Rogers, Department of State (Washington DC, USA) and Cindy King, City of Edmonton (Canada).