The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has invited feedback from industry and the community following the release of a request for tender (RFT) for the establishment of an IT Applications Services Panel on Monday 25 October. Hosted on the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) blog, the online discussion will centre on the Performance Framework that will be used in evaluating the successful panellists.
Writing as a ‘guest blogger’ on the AGIMO blog site on Tuesday 26 October, Tania Walsh of the ATO’s Enterprise Applications Branch said that the development of a Performance Framework will improve service delivery and allow for continuous improvement.
“The intent of the Performance Framework is to allow and encourage supportive and collaborative behaviours between the ATO and the Apps Service Providers, across multiple Service Providers and platforms. It seeks to ensure a standard in quality of service delivery by a performance incentive framework,” she said.
The Performance Framework will assess applications service providers on a multi-tiered set of performance criteria, which includes consideration of reporting and levels of risk. The ATO will assign service providers a score of between 1 and 5 indicating their level of performance. Suppliers that receive a score of less than 3 may be asked to leave the panel. By contrast it is expected that service providers that receive a score of more than 3 may receive a performance payments, the right to increase personnel rates and greater ability to bid for further work.
The decision to include an online forum on the AGIMO blog is in line with Recommendations 5.6.2 of Sir Peter Gershon’s Review of the Australian Government’s use of ICT, which encourages “quality engagement with industry on significant non-commodity procurements prior to the commencement of the formal procurement process”. The Gershon Review goes on to suggest that “agencies could host industry forums on forward intentions”.
It is also in line with the values of ‘engaging’ and ‘participating’ that are central to the Declaration of Open Government, spearheaded by AGIMO and the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
The move is not unprecedented with the NSW Department of Services, Technology and Administration (DSTA) seeking input from industry for the development of the 2020 ICT Services Panel in New South Wales. The ICT e-portal tool on the NSW Buy website, allows suppliers to contribute to a performance review. 2020 is the largest ever ICT Services contract released in the NSW Public Sector, and is scheduled to run from 1 March 2009 to 28 February 2012.
The panel itself will comprise of “suitably qualified and experienced contractors from which it can purchase Services” in support of its IT applications. According the tender documents, “the ATO has an ongoing requirement to supplement IT application development and support capability across the ATO Standard Operating Environment (SOE)”.
The ATO will hold an industry briefing for registered tenderers to “clarify the ATO’s objectives and priorities for this approach to market”. The briefing will be held at the Marque Hotel, Canberra on 5 November.