Canberra's skills shortage was highlighted recently when the Australian Federal Police (AFP) announced a new panel for labour hire providers to meet its ICT requirements. There’s no doubt that this contract reflects AFP’s enhanced global responsibilities, but it also seems to be a recognition that the agency (like many others in Canberra) is unable to meet its ICT requirements using in-house staff.
A maximum of 50 companies will be listed on the panel to provide "suitably qualified" personnel in 14 groups including strategic planning, architecture, software development, project management, security, geospatial services and helpdesk support. The tender closes on 7 August 2007.
Intermedium’s research shows that the number of labour hire contracts awarded by Federal Government agencies has increased in recent years, but of more significance is the fact that the value of these contracts has increased dramatically.
In the 2003-04 financial year, the average value of labour hire contracts was $76,209. By 2006-07, this figure had almost doubled to $139,761.
This growth indicates that the duration of labour hire contracts is increasing, and that agencies are entering into long-term contracts, securing external skills to augment their in-house resources, rather than hiring skills to meet short-term project requirements.
The number of Federal agencies using external ICT skills has also increased, with the number awarded skills contracts increasing by 20% in the last three years.