On Monday 8 May 2006 Defence issued a press release on the progress of its request for tender (RFT) for the Regional Information and Communications Technology Market Testing Project.
The RFT, released in July 2005 closed November 2005. It invited suitable organisations to tender for the provision of ICT service management across 460 Defence bases and sites. The scope of these services covers 470 Australian Public Service positions and 170 Australian Defence Force positions.
With the annual value of the contract expected to be between $28 million and $36 million (over nine years) Defence received six compliant tender responses:
- Australian Base Services
- Information Communication Excellence (In-House Bid)
- KAZ Technology Services
Defence is now faced with a major task with the evaluation process not expected to be completed until December 2006.
Intermedium questioned the Defence Public Affairs Unit about the press release and received the following answers from a Defence Spokesperson.
Q: Defence states “it received a better than expected response to its request for the tender”. Why and what was expected?
A: Industry indications with the Central ICT Market Testing Project suggested that a limited response would be received and the evaluation period would be proportionally shorter than is now the case.
Q: Why have Defence taken the step of informing the market of who the compliant responses to the RFT were?
A: Defence seeks to ensure that the RFT/evaluation process is as open and transparent as possible.
Q: Defence stated "while Defence has commenced evaluation, the significant number of compliant tender responses and the complexity of the evaluation task means that, at this stage, the evaluation process is not expected to be completed until December 2006." Why is 6 a significant number and what is leading to the complexity of the evaluation task?
A: The cost of tendering against a complex statement of requirement is high and for so many of the ICT industry to be able to direct resources to mount a response is significant and very pleasing. A tender response comprises many volumes that need to be analysed against the defined evaluation criteria. This requires skilled assessors who are able to discern relevant variances and define the effect on the proposed solution.
Q: Does the tender include the provision of hardware or will Defence own the hardware?
A: The RFT requested the provision of ICT service management. The ICT infrastructure will remain with Defence.
Q: Are any consultants advising on the evaluation? If so, who?
A: The project is lead by senior public servants who use the services of skilled professionals to provide advice on an as required basis. The primary consultants are in the areas of legal, probity and evaluation facilitation. Representatives of Sage Legal Services Pty Ltd, Strategic Legal Services and Consulting Pty Ltd, and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu provide these services.
Q: One of the six compliant tenderers is Australian Base Services. Who are they and have they worked with Defence before?
A: Australian Base Services Pty Ltd (“ABS”) is the newly established business venture between Dialog Pty Ltd (“Dialog”), and DynCorp (Aust) Pty. Limited, a subsidiary of DynCorp International (“DynCorp”). ABS has not previously worked with Defence.
Q: Another of the six compliant tenderers is the In-House Option. Will this bid receive any advantages or special conditions in the evaluation?
A: The in-house response was structured in accordance with the Defence Commercial Support Program (CSP). The in-house bid was required to establish a specific response team and construct its bid against the RFT in the same manner as an industry respondent. The in-house bid will be evaluated against the evaluation criteria in the same manner as any other tender response. Competitive neutrality provisions are applied to provide a fair, equitable, and balanced consideration of the proposals.
Q: What is expected to happen to the 640 APS and Defence personnel who work in positions covered by the scope of this RFT? Are they expected to move across to the successful tenderer?
A: If an external service provider’s solution is recommended and accepted the 470 Defence civilian positions will be afforded their entitlements under the Defence Certified Agreement. This includes the opportunity for redeployment within Defence. Some of these affected people may elect to seek employment with the external service provider. The 170 embedded military personnel will be available to the new service provider in return for a rebate against their availability to assist in ICT service management while gaining valuable ICT support experience towards the military careers.