Further major changes will occur to the NSW Government’s telecommunications arrangements in addition to the announcement by Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance of the appointment of independent telecommunications consultancy Housley Consulting “to review pricing, vendor offers and help agencies focus on achieving value for money”.
A spokesperson has told Intermedium that the NSW Government will replace its telecommunications panels with prequalification schemes.
The last of the Government’s current Telecommunications Arrangement (GTAs), which once consisted of five related panels, is due to expire at the end of March 2014. In June 2012, NSW decided not to renew two of its telecommunications panels, opting to roll the services into GTA 5. This last panel has been in operation since 2009 and has exhausted all extension options.
A spokesperson from Finance told Intermedium that the current Telecommunications panels will be converted into prequalification schemes “to promote competition as new entrants can register at any time”.
The move to convert these panels to prequalification schemes was first outlined in NSW’s Procurement Reform Strategic Directions Statement. It outlines the benefit of such an arrangement as not “locking up” the market. The NSWBuy service catalogue is likely to be the listing vehicle for the selected Telecommunications suppliers.
It is understood Housley is available to assist agencies in choosing a supplier from the service list based on the agencies’ telecommunications needs. The spokesperson told Intermedium that, “Agencies will be encouraged to use the broker’s services. However, use of Housley’s services is not mandatory.”
ICT procurement reform was first flagged in the NSW 2012 ICT Strategy. In the 2013-14 ICT Strategy Implementation Update, one of the key actions by Q2 2014 was to “adopt new ways of engaging earlier and more innovatively with the ICT industry”. This first-time use of a broker in conjunction with a pre-qualification scheme quite clearly delivers on the strategy intent. .
The two year contract with Housley has no value attached to it. According to the spokesperson, “The agreement between Housley and the NSW Government is based on sharing of realised savings”, but no further information was provided as to how this mechanism would work in practice.
The spokesperson also stated that “there are no plans at this time to apply broker-style arrangements to other ICT service categories” although it has not been ruled out in the future. The effectiveness of this first broker service will be used to inform future procurement reforms.
Victoria has also taken up the option of brokered services albeit in a different fashion. It is currently in the process of transitioning shared service provider CenITex from being a supplier of services to a broker of services.
Housley’s remit in NSW accords with sentiments expressed in Victoria’s 2013-14 ICT Strategy . “Before entering into a procurement process, we will analyse the market’s capability to deliver value for money and innovative solutions that challenge and improve government service delivery”, it states.
The eventual fate of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services’ (FACS) shared services provider, BusinessLink is yet to be announced, but there has been recent indications to industry that it too is commencing to act as a broker of services.
In NSW, Housely one published contract in 2013 - a $363,000 contract with Transport NSW- Corporate for telecommunication expense management services.
In the Federal sphere since 2011, it has won contracts including:
- Telecommunications Project management services for Department of Social Services in a $190,000 contract;
- Preparing an RFQ for the Federal Court’s transition of its voice carriage services in a $20,700 deal; and
- A Solution design for the replacement of Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) communications systems in a $46,200 contract.
The NSW Government states that is has saved $3.3 million from reviewing its whole-of-Government telecommunications panels.
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