From today onwards vendors can begin submitting applications for inclusion on the NSW Government’s mandatory ICT Services Scheme, which will replace State Contract 2020 as it expires at the end of February.
Apart from remaining continuously open to any suppliers meeting the minimum criteria, those familiar with the NSW Government market will notice a number of additional changes to the way that ICT services business is done in the State.
The 32 service categories and 137 sub-categories that currently make up State Contract 2020 have been replaced on the ICT Services Scheme by 13 broad categories and 38 sub-categories.
A 14th category, for software-as-a-service and other ‘as-a-service’ offerings is currently under development in consultation with the AIIA. It is due to be added to the list sometime in early 2013.
Removed from the scope of the ICT Services Scheme are call centre management services, which will now need to be procured through Government Telecommunications Agreement (GTA) Category 5.
Suppliers will also need to get their heads around a new tendering platform.
The State’s current ICT services e-procurement system, the 2020 ePortal, will be decommissioned and replaced with eQuote, a new electronic quoting mechanism specifically designed for the Government’s favoured pre-qualification schemes.
For the first time since announcing the reform of State Contract 2020, the NSW Department of Finance and Services has also revealed in detail the minimum requirements for a successful membership application.
For the low-risk Registered Supplier List (deals <$150,000), applicants will need to document:
- Basic company details;
- Company capacity and capability in the nominated service category, including past experience;
- Professional indemnity insurance to $1 million and public liability and product liability insurance to $5 million (where applicable);
- Agreement to scheme rules; and
- Confirmation that the company is not insolvent or under serious investigation.
For the more complex Advanced Registration List (deals >$150,000) the basic criteria will be the same, with the addition of:
- At least two referee reports for each nominated service category;
- Independent certification of solvency by a recent credit report; and
- Public liability and product liability insurance up to $10 million (where applicable).
The NSW Government is progressively reforming a number of its fixed-term, fixed-supplier State Contracts along the same lines as the ICT Services Scheme, with the intention of boosting competition for agency business and making entry into the market easier for SMEs.
However, in the early days at least, new suppliers are likely to have to fight hard for the attention of procuring agencies. Time-poor agencies are unlikely to source more than the recommended minimum number of quotes required from what is sure to become an expansive list of qualified suppliers, to the benefit of familiar and incumbent firms.
The same can be said for the State’s pre-qualification scheme for contingent labour, including ICT labour hire, which was launched last week.
A handy chart of the differences between State Contract 2020 and the ICT Services Scheme can be found at the bottom of this page.
For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.