Victoria’s Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) will aim to renew or establish a minimum of seven whole-of-government ICT contracts within the 2013-14 financial year, thanks to its new role overseeing the State’s coordinated ICT procurement.
The contracts renewal target is one of the key performance measures listed for DSDBI in last week’s State Budget. Machinery of Government changes which took effect in March saw Victoria’s ICT policy functions consolidated into DSDBI, formerly known as the Department of Business and Innovation. Responsibility for whole-of-government ICT procurement used to sit with the Department of Treasury and Finance.
While a spokesperson for Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips was unable to provide any detail on specific panels to be targeted, Intermedium’s Whole-of-Government Panels Database reveals that a number of current arrangements are due to expire very soon, having used up all of their options to extend.
The likely targets for renewal include:
- Mandatory Desktop and Notebook Equipment Panel, which expires 30 April 2014;
- Mandatory Document Output Devices Panel, which expires 30 June 2014;
- Networking Equipment Panel, which expires 30 June 2013;
- Servers and Storage Equipment Panel, which expires 30 June 2013;
- Oracle Software contract, which expires 30 September 2013;
- Mandatory VMWare products contract, which expires 29 June 2013 (and which is currently under review);
- The eServices Panel, to be replaced by an uncapped, SME friendly eServices Register through an approach to market due before July; and
- VicConnect, the telecommunications purchasing scheme and new platform set to replace Victoria’s long-running Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS).
Rich-Phillips announced in March that TPAMS would be abolished to make way for VicConnect, with the move forming a key element of the Government’s ICT Strategy.
According to the Strategy, VicConnect will involve the establishment of “a common data and communications platform,” adding that, “a common platform does not mean a single provider”.
A market consultation process is due to be completed this month.
The process of renewing a major whole-of-government arrangement from an approach to market to contract finalisation can take anywhere up to 18 months. Market testing has not yet commenced for any of the above listed deals, suggesting that the DSDBI may struggle to meet this particular performance measure within the 2013-14 year.
That said, if DSDBI decides to follow the NSW Government’s lead and apply the same multi-use list or prequalification scheme-style reforms to a broad range of procurement panels (not just eServices) procurement timeframes will be reduced dramatically.
The ICT strategy does foreshadow some major reforms to ICT procurement to be implemented ahead of the document’s first refresh in December 2014, including a review of all whole-of-government contracts, and a focus on sourcing ICT ‘as-a-service’.
The Victorian Government led the now widespread public sector shift towards open alternatives to fixed-term, fixed-supplier panel contracts with the announcement of its eServices Panel reforms.
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