In 2010, the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s incoming government brief to Special Minister for State Gary Gray explained that the secure internet gateway program aimed to reduce the number of Federal Government agency gateways from 124 to between four and eight.
Eight lead agencies were subsequently nominated to provide services on behalf of groupings of client agencies.
Of these eight agencies, only three still need to approach the market, with a request for tender from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet fast approaching on 4 November.
Gateway suppliers should be looking towards the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs) for contract opportunities, as these are the only two agencies yet to confirm a date for their approach.
The following summarises the Internet Gateway status of each of the eight lead agencies:
- Department of Defence: Defence signed a $55 million contract with Verizon in April 2011 for the provision of Internet Gateway Managed Services. Prior to this it managed its gateway internally with ISP services provided by Optus.
- Australian Taxation Office: The ATO will remain with its incumbent telecommunications managed services supplier, Optus, for the provision of secure internet gateway services. This contract expires in 2013.
- Department of Human Services:Government sources have told Intermediumthat the DHS will continue to manage its internet gateway infrastructure internally.
- Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations:Government sources have told Intermedium that DEEWR will also continue to manage its internet gateway infrastructure internally.
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:DAFF has approached the market to find a supplier for its gateway requirements.
- Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet:PM&C says it will release a request for tenders for the provision of secure internet gateway services on 4 November 2011.
- Australian Customs and Border Protection Service:Customs has informed Intermedium that it is currently in discussions with its client agencies to decide how and when to approach the market to establish its internet gateway.
- Australian Federal Police: The AFP advises that they will approach the market for the provision of a gateway and associated services in the second half of 2011-12.
DEEWR and the DHS have both maintained a characteristic preference for in-sourcing by electing to manage their gateway infrastructure internally. All of the other lead agencies have some experience in outsourcing key components of their infrastructure management.
At present, each of the eight lead agencies has a list of ‘client’ agencies assigned to the use of their gateway. However the recently released DAFF tender includes a clause suggesting that client agencies may join the cluster it will manage, implying that agencies may seek to move from their appointed existing lead agency to another one after the initial arrangements are established.
“The Draft Contract contains provisions that allow other Commonwealth agencies and bodies, in addition to the clients listed above, to acquire services from the successful tenderer after the commencement of the contract,” say the attached documents.
It is not yet clear whether all gateway contracts will include similar provisions.
On top of this provision, Finance has confirmed that agencies are able to opt out of the Internet Gateway Reduction Program.
However, a Finance spokesperson for the department has told Intermedium that to date no agencies have applied to opt out of the scheme.