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Federal Government Opens Gateway to New Risk Assessments

by Staff Writers •
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Last week Finance and Administration Minister Nick Minchin announced the government’s plan to introduce the Gateway risk management system to ICT projects valued at more than $10 million.

The Gateway process, implemented by the UK's Office of Government Commerce in 2000, has already been implemented by the Victorian and NSW Governments.

As applied in NSW, the Gateway process examines a program or project at six critical decision points (or gates) in the procurement lifecycle to provide assurance that it can progress successfully to the next stage. These gates are:

  1. Strategic
  2. Business Case
  3. Procurement Strategy
  4. Tender Review
  5. Pre-Commissioning
  6. Post Implementation

Significantly, Gateway assessments are conducted by reviewers independent of the actual procurement, and where the project is sufficiently critical or high risk, by assessors external to the agency. The key is to ensure an arms’ length appraisal of each project.

As applied in the Australian Government context, it is understood that all ICT projects worth more than $10 million and procurement or infrastructure projects of more than $20 million will be assessed for risk. In addition, the Gateway methodology will be applied to other contracts where the risk warrants it.

A small Gateway Unit will be established in the Department of Finance and Administration. Some reviews will commence in 2006-07, and all targeted projects will be subject to Gateway from 2008-09.

The Gateway process will be complemented by the ICT Investment Framework developed by Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO). Currently however, neither the ICT Investment Framework or any specific Gateway process information is available on the AGIMO web site.

It is understood that the Framework provides guidance to agencies on business case development, performance management and evaluation, and includes a cost benefit analysis methodology to ensure government agencies select options with the greatest economic and social benefits.

In this sense, the Framework is totally congruent with the underpinning notion of ’value for money’, as expressed in the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. Savvy ICT companies will seek to understand how they can assist agencies with relevant information at various stages of the Gateway process.

Intermedium covers the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, ‘value for money’ concepts, gateway review process and risk management in its Federal Government ICT Market Master Class.

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