The NSW Department of Services, Technology and Administration (DSTA) have released a pre-qualified, invitation-only request for tender for the development of an ICT Strategic Plan for ServiceFirst. Even with the scant detail published, it is possible to infer that the work being undertaken will be an input to the 2011-12 budget planning process, which, according to the standard budget planning processes in NSW, will now be underway.
ServiceFirst published the tender on 17 January 2011, indicating that the closing date was the day after (9.30 am on 18 January). The restricted RFT only allowed responses from a select group of providers who are ‘known to carry out the work or service’.
The notice posted on the NSW tendering site indicates that the preferred supplier will be expected to ‘deliver foundational work to enable top down review and assessment of required investment and cashflows as input into the final Business Case’.
The analysis to be performed by the supplier would be based on ‘available metrics and data analysis of work done to date’, with the preferred vendor expected to complete the required work in a period of four weeks.
ICT projects requiring budget funding in NSW must pass a mandatory Business Case gate as part of the Gateway Review framework, adapted from the UK public sector. The fact that the work is destined for a final business case, together with the short timeframe given for completion of the work and the point at which the budget planning process is at, is highly suggestive of the fact that the work will lead to a budget bid by Service First for the funds it needs to progress the integration of ICT platforms and the elimination of duplicate applications.
All three prequalified nominated suppliers (PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte and Third Horizon) have experience of providing ICT consultancy services to government.
In mid-2010, Third Horizon was commissioned to assist in the formulation of the NSW Government’s Blueprint for Corporate and Shared Services. As Intermedium previously reported, the Blueprint indicated that agencies would transfer their ICT requirements to six shared services providers: five of which were in-house providers for Super Departments. The sixth, ServiceFirst, the subject of this tender and the largest provider, would supply services to the remaining Super Departments, including Attorney General and Justice, Communities NSW, Industry and Investment, Environment, Climate Change and Water, Premier and Cabinet, Planning, Treasury and DTSA.
The other pre-qualified firms in the ServiceFirst RFT – PwC and Deloitte, both sit on the NSW Provision of ICT Services for Whole-of-Government panel (the 2020 Panel). Approximately half of the 300 plus suppliers on the 2020 Panel are approved to provide services in the Management of Processes: Governance / Policy Management category, including Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Bearing Point and Capgemini.
Deloitte was also commissioned to review the NSW Government’s Service Delivery through Agency Amalgamation in late-2009, while PwC was heavily involved in Queensland’s decision to abandon their shared services model in 2010.
A notable absence from the prequalified firms invited to bid for the ServiceFirst work is advisory services company Ernst & Young, given their participation in the People First Strategy Review in 2010. Ernst & Young was contracted by DSTA in order to undertake a review into the savings delivered by the People First initiative, delivering their report in August, though it has yet to be made publicly available.
Similarly, it is somewhat surprising that KPMG, which has been heavily involved in providing advice to the NSW Government on ICT matters, including, it is believed, on the Treasury led Better Services and Value Taskforce Review of ICT Costs, was not invited to bid.