The $144 million whole-of-government Desktop Hardware Panel has been extended by 12 months ahead of its expiry in August 2013. The panel’s new expiration date is 9 August 2014.
The decision to extend the arrangement comes after a review in May 2013 found that the panel has been responsible for savings worth $27 million since its inception in October 2010.
“We’ve reduced the cost of desktop hardware, the standard PC, from 55 per cent above the Australian average some two and a half years ago when we started this [panel], to a consistent 50 per cent below the Australian average as a consequence of buying these things centrally,” said Australian Government Chief Technology Officer John Sheridan yesterday at the Technology in Government Summit.
"These savings are retained by agencies. As a consequence, the current panellists have been offered and are in the process of accepting an extension of 12 months,” according to a spokesperson from the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
In the four years it has been operational, around $144 million worth of procurement has gone through the panel. This represents nearly 77 per cent of the total federal desktop hardware market since 2010-11, according to Intermedium estimates.
The first half of 2013 alone has seen over $31 million in goods and services procured through the panel.
Leading panellists under the arrangement are:
- Acer, with 69 contracts worth a total of $61.1 million;
- Dell, with 352 contracts worth $32.8 million; and
- Hewlett-Packard, with 286 contracts worth $30.5 million.
The biggest government user is the Department of Human Services with a total contracting value through the panel of $65.5 million.
A breakdown of this figure shows that the Department spent around $38 million on hardware equipment and accessories, and nearly $26 million went towards services and maintenance costs.
Major contracts, all with Acer, include a $14.6 million deal for IT hardware services, which expired in June 2013, and a $15.1 million contract for desktop hardware in 2012. DHS also signed a $9.8 million deal for computer hardware maintenance in 2012.
Other big buyers through the panel include the Department of Defence, with 330 contracts worth a total of $21.3 million, and the Australian Federal Police with 115 contracts worth $7.3 million.
Another arrangement that is approaching expiration later this year, the Telecommunications Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services (Mobile) panel, has been somewhat less successful than the Desktop Hardware panel.
The Department of Finance and Deregulation has revealed that it plans to reform the scope of the Mobile panel before extending it beyond December 2013.
The arrangement was established in 2010 for the procurement of mobile devices, voice and data carriage services and associated services. However, a 12-month moratorium was put on the mandatory use of the panel for the purchase of mobile devices in July 2012.
“We discovered over time that the purchase of accessories wasn’t working, nor was the purchase of handsets,” said John Sheridan. “Principally because we have assumed incorrectly a behaviour model that could value the sort of whole-of-government protections that you would normally see in more expensive purchases of hardware.
“Agencies don’t buy mobile phones in the thousands, they tend to buy them in the tens or single digits, and as a consequence of that we couldn’t get the economies of scale that we can get in the use of mobile phone carriage.”
Finance expects to refresh the panel in the first quarter of 2014, according to its 2013-14 annual procurement plan.
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