The Department of Human Services (DHS) has taken the first steps to renew its ICT Contractor Panel by publishing Request for Tender (RFT) documents, on 13 January 2012, opening the way for IT Services suppliers to contest a place on what has historically been the highest value labour hire panel in the Federal Government, according to Intermedium research.
The Department’s current ICT Contractor Services Panel is due to expire on 31 October 2012 and news of the panel renewal comes as no surprise. Intermedium previously reported in October 2011 that the panel renewal process was expected to commence sometime during the January – March quarter of 2011-12.
The RFT indicates that the panel will remain open for an initial three year period, with two extension options of two years each which may be exercised upon the discretion of the DHS, meaning that unsuccessful suppliers may not be able to access the opportunities that go through that panel for a total period of seven years.
According to research conducted by Intermedium, the Federal Government ICT labour hire market was worth approximately $871 million in 2010-11, with the current DHS panel responsible for facilitating $321 million, that is 37 per cent of all ICT labour hire contracts in the market during 2010-11.
As with the current ICT Contractor Panel, the upcoming panel will also be open for other Federal Government agencies to use.
According to the RFT documents, the upcoming panel will offer agencies a range of specialists with skill sets that include:
- Electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) implementation and integration
- Information architecture
- Information analysts
- Information and records management
- Document workflow
- Recordkeeping metadata
- Digital preservation
- Digital imaging and scanning
- Enterprise content management
- Collaboration information
- Information Security
As with the previous panel, the scope of the new ICT Contractor Services Panel will be restricted to labour hire and not include the supply of hardware or proprietary software.
According to Austender, the current panel lists 82 suppliers that can be accessed by 42 government agencies for labour hire services. Apart from the previous Centrelink and Medicare, Tier 1 level agencies with access to the current DHS labour hire panel include the Department of Defence and the Department of Immigration & Citizenship.
The current DHS panel was due to expire on 31 October 2011, but the Department chose to exercise its second and final option to extend the panel by a period of 12 months.
Originally established by Centrelink in 2007, the ICT Contractor Services Panel was moved under the DHS following the integration and consolidation of the Human Services portfolio, which was completed on 1 July 2011.
The timing of the DHS’ approach to market with the RFT allows the Department a significant period of time to assess what is likely to be a sizeable number of responses. Intermedium’s research shows that there were 496 suppliers of Labour Hire services in 2010-11.
If the new panel comes into operation at the point of expiry of the current panel (October 2012), the suppliers will find themselves contesting business in an environment governed by the 4% Efficiency Dividend which is to apply in the 2012-13 Financial Year, according to the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
Responses to the RFT are due by 13 February 2012 via the Austender website.