The Department of Finance and Deregulation will soon approach the market to establish an ICT Panel for itself and other agencies within the Finance portfolio.
According to a recently published procurement plan, Finance intends to approach the market for the supply of ICT Services, Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) Software and Hardware for Finance portfolio agencies, including:
- Australian Electoral Commission (AEC);
- ComSuper; and
- Future Fund Management Agency.
The panel will also be available to agencies outside of the portfolio.
Finance has previously displayed a preference for portfolio-based panels, especially in instances where whole-of-government offerings, such as those established by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), may prove too general to meet the specific needs of all of a broad range of participants.
Finance has indicated to Intermedium that the scope of the panel will not overlap with the panels in the whole-of-government coordinated procurement suite, which are mandatory for use by all FMA Act agencies.
This means it will cover different categories of supply to the Desktop Hardware Panel, the Microsoft Volume Sourcing Agreement and the yet-to-be confirmed whole-of-government IT Services Panel (WISP).
In terms of hardware, this would indicate that the deliverables of the panel are likely to be large computing systems such as servers, and storage facilities. The panel could also potentially cover any non-Microsoft COTS software.
AGIMO, which is a body within Finance, has yet to confirm that it will go ahead with the WISP, with an announcement on the matter due any day.
Both Finance and the AEC are Tier 2 agencies under Intermedium’stiering system. This means they spend between $20 million and $100 million on ICT contracts per annum.
According to Intermedium’s contracts database, Finance’s 2010-11 ICT contract total was nearly $77 million, excluding the $50 million Microsoft Volume Sourcing Agreement signed on behalf of participating agencies.
In 2009-10, Finance’s contract total was $53 million.
ComSuper and the Future Fund Management Agency are Tier 3 agencies, meaning that their ICT contract totals fall between $1 million and $20 million.
While this portfolio panel is unlikely to break procurement records owing to its lower-tiered client agencies, it is a significant indicator of avenues being explored by the Department of Finance and Deregulation for efficient procurement arrangements where whole-of-government models do not fit the requirements.
Finance has indicated its intention to approach the market in quarter two of 2011-12.