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Queensland goes its own way with IT services

by Paris Cowan •
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Queensland Government Chief Procurement Officer Mary Goodwin has addressed detractors criticising the State’s new IT services panel for being overly laborious in comparison to NSW’s streamlined offering.

To gain membership of Queensland’s new whole-of-government IT services panel, suppliers are asked to show evidence of capability across 24 forms and a checklist covering evidence of past work and future financial viability.

By contrast the NSW Government’s ICT Services Pre-qualification Scheme asks only that suppliers meet minimum financial viability and insurance requirements before becoming registered under a minimum tier of the arrangement.

 “We have had feedback like, gosh, NSW has a really simple business process. Why are you over-complicating it?” said Goodwin at a recent Partners in Technology Briefing run by Digital Economy Queensland.

“I acknowledge the concerns about the amount of work that goes into tendering. But the method to the madness is that we are trying to put the work in up front to really streamline the back end,” she said.

Goodwin says that the NSW model, where Tier 1 suppliers can fill out an electronic form online, just reassigns the workload to agencies.

“[In NSW] it is really up to the customer then to determine value for money, as well as capability and capacity each and every time,” she said. “We are trying to do that up front.”

Since June 2012 State and Federal governments have been progressively moving away from a traditional fixed-term, fixed supplier model of whole-of-government ICT procurement, and experimenting with a variety of alternative arrangements.

Queensland joined this process when it opened the first category of applications for its inaugural whole-of-government IT services panel on 15 March 2013, after a lengthy process of planning and consideration. Second and third round applications will open on 16 August and 8 November respectively.

The mandatory panel will share some of the streamlined features of overhauled IT services arrangements in NSW and Victoria, such as the absence of a fixed term and a regular (six-monthly) refresh cycle allowing new players to apply for membership.

Both the Victorian and NSW schemes replace fixed supplier panels with terms of up to six years. Membership was determined by lengthy bidding processes and new suppliers rarely had the opportunity to gain membership. The new models are being introduced to make the application process easier, generate competition and make it easier for SMEs to access government markets.

Goodwin said that evaluation of the first round of applications is due to be completed by 16 August this year.

Related Articles:

Queensland opens applications for ICT Services Panel

Queensland ICT Services procurement to be open to all

Queensland Government names new vendors on $130 million ICT hardware panel


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