The Queensland Government has confirmed that it will follow in the footsteps of its east coast neighbours by establishing an open-ended, multi-use list style whole-of-government arrangement for the procurement of ICT services.
A spokesperson for the QLD Department of Housing and Public Works (HPW) has told Intermedium that suppliers will be able to be added to the soon-to-be-established arrangement at any time, as long as they meet basic terms and conditions and have the proven ability to provide one or more of the ICT services offered through the panel.
“Unlike traditional panel arrangements, the Arrangement will have no fixed term, and the list of Contractors will be dynamic.
“This will allow new suppliers to the market and existing businesses which do not wish to be currently considered, to be included under the Arrangement if at a later date they meet the criteria,” said the spokesperson.
Fixed-term and fixed-supplier whole-of-government panels for ICT services are swiftly falling out of vogue in Australian Government jurisdictions. NSW has already begun calling for applications for its ICT Services Prequalification Scheme, which will replace State Contract 2020, and applications are due to open next month for Victoria’s equivalent eServices Register.
The Federal Government decided to place a cap on the number of agency-based IT services panels in operation rather than go down the whole-of-government panel route.
Plans for the establishment of the Queensland panel were initially revealed to industry in October 2011 and the relevant conditions of offer were finalised in July 2012. However, the next step, an approach to market for supplier submissions has been stuck in the pipeline due to a change of Government and subsequent audit of the State’s ICT operations.
A forward procurement schedule highlighted an imminent approach to market in late January 2013, but has more recently been updated to advise that Queensland Government’s Chief Procurement Office (QGCPO) is engaging in further industry discussion and “will provide further notice on the release of the ITO in the near future”.
The procurement plan has been developed by the QGCPO within HPW, with the assistance of the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and Arts (DSITIA).
As well as improving competition, the stated aim of the ICT Services arrangement is to increase opportunities for small and medium enterprises to supply to the public sector.
This will be achieved through a breakdown of ICT service categories into “a number of competencies”, according to the HPW spokesperson.
“This will enable niche suppliers to be included alongside large ICT companies which provide a comprehensive range of services,” he said.
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