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Defence takes independent procurement path

by Aleks Vickovich •
Free resource

The Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG) within the Department of Defence has put out a Market Research Discussion Brief (the Brief), requesting feedback from industry ahead of the establishment of an ICT Applications and Integration Services panel. 

The move suggests Defence intends to remain independent of the Australian Government Information Management Office's (AGIMO's) whole-of-government ICT Services Panel procurement flagged for later this year.  The establishment of this WofG Panel has been listed in the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Annual Procurement Plans. 

In seeking market feedback on its potential panel, Defence has opted not to utilise the Gov 2.0 approaches now regularly utilised by agencies such as the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and AGIMO.  In AGIMO's third such move since the beginning of 2010, it  recently sought industry comment on the establishment of an internet-based network connections panel via the AGIMO blog

Defence expects that its market research will assist in defining the requirements for its ICT Applications and Integrations Services, with particular focus on its requirements relating to:

  • The panel’s scope;
  • The commercial model supporting the panel;
  • Governance arrangements for the panel; and
  • Any future market engagement process.

The Department has stated it will not provide feedback to respondents regarding their market feedback submissions.   Furthermore, the Brief stresses that participation in this process will not be considered an Expression of Interest:

“CIOG is not under any obligation to consider, use or incorporate any feedback, comments or information provided through this market research.  This market research should not be considered as an invitation to register interest or a request for tender”.

The Department has also made clear that in addition to  the Brief,  it has been seeking advice on the development of an ICT sourcing strategy from its existing contractors.

The Brief contains a number of discussion questions.  Firstly it deals with scope and size and raises the issue of the number of panel members, asking “what is the trade-off, in terms of the number of members of the panel, between having a large number of members vs. a small number of members?”

On this point the Brief also makes clear Defence’s intention for the panel to be “non-exclusive”, but requests feedback from the market as to the negative and positive repercussions of this approach.

Secondly it raises questions surrounding commercial models and best practices.  It asks for advice on which commercial and legal terms should be standardised in effort to reduce transaction costs and develop more consistent application of best practices.

The extent to which flexibility is required in adopting these practices is also flagged in this section of the document.

The Brief concludes by explaining Defence’s intentions to move to an open RFT process once the responses from the Brief have been collected.  It is reiterated that the goal is to establish stronger and long-standing relationships with industry through the panel process.

It is envisaged that Panel members will be engaged to provide services including:

  • Development and integration projects;
  • Managed Services (including sustainment); and
  • Provision of functional or technical expertise through labour contracting.

Written submissions in response to the market research discussion paper should be sent via email to the Department before 2pm on September 25 2010.

  • Federal
  • IT Services
  • Defence
  • Defence
  • Gov 2.0
  • Judy Hurditch
  • Mundi Tomlinson
  • RFT
  • Whole-of-Government