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“Next Generation” TPAMS arrangements on their way

by Paris Cowan •
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The Victorian Government will look into transforming its $461 million whole-of-government telecommunications purchasing arrangement, according to the recently released draft ICT Strategy.

The document reveals that the State is looking for a “faster, more integrated government data network” as a basis for service delivery improvements.

“The next generation of the Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS) will create a common, high-speed, integrated platform for government communications,” it says.

The program is likely to culminate in a fresh approach to market to replace the arrangement, which commenced in 2004.

The current TPAMS arrangement consists of three categories:

  1. Telecommunications Carriage Services – provided by Optus and Telstra;
  2. Victorian Office Telephony Services – provided by NEC; and
  3. The Whole-of-Victorian Government Internet Services panel – made up of EFTel, Netspace, Optus and Pacnet.

Since the first head agreement was signed in 2004, the TPAMS arrangements combined have been worth in excess of $461 million.

The original terms of all of the comprising contracts have now expired but they will continue to operate indefinitely until new arrangements are finalised.

A spokesperson for the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), which oversees the TPAMS, advised Intermedium that a review into the current structure would formally commence with the release of a final whole-of-government ICT Strategy, which is scheduled to take place between November and December this year.

The DTF could not provide any detail on what a new TPAMS would look like or when a fresh approach to market was due.

The Draft ICT Strategy, however, does hint towards greater consolidation and standardisation of the Victorian Government’s telecommunications environment, whilst still retaining a multi-vendor procurement landscape.

“Government will procure a common data and communications platform. A common platform does not mean a single provider,” it says.

It is likely that a transformed TPAMS will put Victoria on the same path as many other jurisdictions, heading towards a widespread roll-out of VOIP telephony for voice calls.

The Draft ICT Strategy also outlines the State’s intent to make procurement processes more efficient for both agency customers and suppliers, and raises the possibility of exploring “alternative procurement models” and “public private partnerships” to achieve this.

Changes have already been announced to streamline the mandatory whole-of-government eServices Panel, turning it into a continuously open register of suppliers who meet minimum insurance and financial viability criteria.

The latest annual report from the Department of Treasury and Finance says that the Government saved a total of $109 million through the use of whole-of-government procurement arrangements such as TPAMS, between 1 July 2011 and March 2012. This exceeded the annual savings target of $101 million.

Related Articles:

Victoria reviews $461 million telco arrangements

Victoria’s Draft ICT Strategy: the in-depth guide

NSW Government hangs up the phone on telecommunications panels

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