According to the 2012-2013 NSW Department of Finance Annual Report, the ICT Services Pre-Qualification Scheme (the ICT Services Scheme) ranked 7th in terms of expenditure for all whole-of-government arrangements with a total spend for the year reaching just over $122 million. As the scheme only commenced in March 2013, this presumably all occurred in Q4 of 2012-13, suggesting that business through the scheme in a full financial year will be at least four times this amount, and probably higher. On this basis, the ICT Services Scheme is likely to become the highest value whole of government (WofG) arrangement in NSW.
A further reason for its likely ascendancy to the top of the WofG leaderboard is the fact that the NSW Government has now expanded the ICT Services Scheme to include hardware acquisition, software licensing and telecommunications (services and hardware) as part of its ongoing rationalisation of ICT panels.
The ICT Services Scheme now embraces the products and services previously under:
- the WofG Storage and Server devices State Contract 2846;
- The General Devices component of ICT Hardware Agreement 888 (the Hardware Agreement); and
- The Government Telecommunication Agreements (GTAs).
In a May 2014 press release, Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet said “The NSW Government’s ICT Services Scheme is growing rapidly with over 1,000 companies registered as the scheme continues to move into new categories, meeting the majority of the Government’s ICT requirements”.
By Intermedium’s count, the scheme currently has 1,299 suppliers.
The NSW Coalition government has been intent on procurement reform from the outset of its term. The then NSW Finance and Services Minister Greg Pearce told Parliament that he would continue his campaign against restrictive and unwieldy State Contracts by turning more whole-of-government agreements into simplified pre-qualification processes as their terms expire. “The Government is locked into a few suppliers, often for nearly five years, which limits its access to innovations in the marketplace, including better products and better prices,” he said in Parliament on 22 August 2012.
Categories in ICT Services Scheme that take over from the lapsed 2846 Contract include:
- Data Centre Services;
- Data Centre Equipment;
- Software Resellers and Software Asset Management Services;
- Infrastructure and Utilities Software;
- Server Installation, Configuration & Maintenance including delivery 'as a service'; and
- Operations Management including delivery 'as a service'.
The NSW Government originally intended that the Hardware Agreement would become the sole contract via which the NSW Government procured hardware. However, this no longer looks to be the case, with its ‘General Devices’ component now also allocated to the ICT Services Scheme. General Devices are those which do not meet the Government Standard Specification (GSS). General Devices were included to ‘allow the greatest possible flexibility, such that the full range of options including emergent technologies, or specialised or high performance equipment, will be available. However to do so, it is not possible for DFS to guarantee the best possible pricing in the same way as for the GSS devices category, so there is a responsibility on the buyer to pursue the best possible price in the context of the purchase they are making.’ states NSW ProcurePoint.
The scope of the Hardware Agreement was also originally meant to be expanded to include servers, storage and imaging devices as well as other categories, however DFS stated that “Contrary to previous advice, the scope of Contract 2846 will not be brought into the 888 ICT Hardware Agreement”.
Companies able to supply under the Hardware Agreement panel and who are also on the ICT Services Scheme are Acer, Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Lenovo and Pioneer Computers, both currently listed on the Hardware Agreement are not currently on the ICT Services Scheme.
The Government Telecommunication Agreement Category 5 (GTA5), also known as Contract 2360-5, expired on 31 March 2014 and was absorbed by the ICT Services Scheme at that time.
The GTA5 contract supplied telecommunication equipment and services and had a list of 85 suppliers providing services across 18 functions. Some of the GTA5 suppliers already on the ICT Services Scheme were Dimension Data, Fujitsu and UXC Connect. However Gen-i chose not to transition to the ICT Services Scheme.
Other Panels Remaining
Following these changes, only five WofG contracts now exist outside the ICT Services Scheme:
- The reduced scope Hardware Agreement due to expire on 30 April 2015 but with three 12 month extensions possible;
- ERP software contract 607 (Oracle) due to expire on 31 May 2016 but with two 12 month extensions possible;
- ERP software contract 2601 (SAP) due to expire on 26 March 2023;
- Imaging Devices 2390 due to expire on 30 June 2015, but with two 12 month extensions possible; and
- Microsoft Enterprise Agreement 2310 due to expire on 1 June 2015.