The Department of Human Services (DHS) has begun releasing details of who is on and who is off its $1.1 billion ICT Contractor Services panel, the most valuable ICT panel arrangement in the Federal Government at present.
DHS approached the market to refresh the arrangement in January 2012, ahead of the panel’s expiry at the end of October this year.
So far it has named 57 IT services suppliers who have signed deeds of inclusion to the new panel, 39 of whom are new panellists and another 18 who have been carried over from the expiring ICT Contractor panel.
A spokesperson for the DHS said that the contract posting on AusTender reflected only those agencies which had signed contracts prior to the 3 September publish date and that more suppliers will be added as negotiations are finalised. In the meantime, however, some of the top contractors from the previous panel have yet to be confirmed as members, including Paxus, Peoplebank, Greythorn and Talent International.
The Department also confirmed that the deeds include a controversial amendment to the panel terms allowing it to penalise recruitment agencies by up to 20 per cent of a contract’s value if personnel leave an assignment before the agreed end date.
Intermedium reported on the amendment back in February 2012, and the consternation that it had caused amongst the ICT Labour Hire supplier base.
Some Labour Hire executives complained that the clause created an imbalance of contract flexibility between the Government and the ICT industry, as the Government still reserved the right to terminate contracts at will.
Julie Mills, Chief Executive Officer at the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA) said that she hoped the Department would consider making a counter-commitment to suppliers around the cancellation of projects by the Government. However the DHS has advised that no such arrangement has materialised.
Since the original ICT Contractor Services panel was established in November 2007 by the then independent Centrelink (which has since been integrated into the DHS) more than $1.12 billion worth of ICT Labour Hire contracts have been signed through it. Contracts signed by the DHS agencies themselves account for just $369 million of this value, with the remainder coming from procurement by 37 other Federal agencies piggy-backing off of the arrangement.
Piggy-backing agencies will have to re-join as panel purchasers, says the DHS, by using the Schedule 9 Instrument of Acceptance contained within the Deed. It is understood that they will be prompted to do this within the coming weeks.