Approximately 250 delegates - mainly government procurement officers - listened to Robert Higgins, Branch Manager of the Gateway Unit within the Department of Finance and Administration (DOFA) outline the federal government’s intended approach to the Gateway Review Process at DOFA’s second annual Australian Government Procurement Conference on Tuesday 4 April 2006.
The federal government joins both the Victorian and NSW state governments in adopting the gateway process, first formulated in the United Kingdom‟s Office of Government Commerce. According to Higgins, the UK has now completed over 1700 review processes since inception in 2000, and Victoria has performed over 100 since 2003.
Gateway reviews are intended to improve on time and on budget project delivery, with short, sharp and independent reviews of project assumptions, plans and constraints. They will be phased in as part of the 2006-07 budget and will apply to FMA Act agencies for ICT projects valued at $10m or more and where the risk assessment suggests that such a review is warranted.
Any project that is above this threshold will be required to complete a Gateway Assessment Tool which will be a set of 25 multiple choice questions. The outcome of the assessment tool will be to allocate projects a high, medium or low risk.
During the implementation phase in 2006-07, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister will “agree a small cross-section of high risk projects to undertake a business case review” according to Higgins. The reviews are likely to commence next month, Higgins added.
According to NSW government guidelines, the business case review „gate‟ is currently the only mandatory one of six possible gateway reviews. In the federal government context, there will be five gateways through which a project progresses, with a review desirable at each gate, but again, the business case review gate will be the only mandatory one.
Common to the model adopted from the UK, the degree of assessed risk dictates the mix of internal and external scruitineers involved in the gateway process.
The rollout of the gateway process in federal government will see it implemented in 2007-08 for all projects that „are above the financial thresholds and are high risk‟. Such projects will be required to undertake a business case review which will need to be completed before the project will be considered by government, Higgins outlined in his presentation.
Intermedium‟s NSW and Federal Government ICT Market Master Classes explain the relevant gateway process in greater detail, and outline the potential opportunities each gate presents in the sales cycle.