It has been one year since the standing offer period for the whole-of-government Telecommunications Management (TMAN) panel commenced according to AusTender, and despite having the most members of all the whole-of-government panels, it has registered one of the lowest contracting values.
The Australian Government Information Management Office within the Department of Finance (AGIMO) says that the panel – part of a suite of coordinated procurement reforms established in response to the 2008 Gershon Review – is living up to its intended purpose, driving down the government’s telecommunications costs and streamlining procurement processes.
A spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Deregulation has revealed that a Best and Final Offer (BAFO) mechanism has been implemented upon all the whole-of-government telecommunications panels, including the TMAN.
“The Telecommunications panels seek competitive quotes, known as Best and Final Offers (BAFOs) from the telecommunications providers as required.
“Finance has received a number of very competitive BAFOs and, as a result, has achieved increased competition in the marketplace. Through this mechanism, government is driving competition past the Tier 1 companies in this field and creating opportunities for smaller companies,” she said.
BAFOs have been in operation as part of the whole-of-government Desktop Hardware panel, and were been credited by AGIMO’s First Assistant Secretary Agency Services, John Sheridan, with the dramatic drop in the price that Australian agencies pay for PCs in relation to the national average.
However contracting traffic through the TMAN panel is taking some time to gain momentum.
Intermedium has only identified $859,000 worth of contracts that have been signed through the panel since contracting opened on 14 June 2011. The largest of the seven contracts identified on AusTender as being linked to the TMAN Standing Offer Notice (SON) is a $289,000 agreement between IP Australia and UXC Limited for ‘Voice Services Equipment Maintenance’.
This total places the TMAN panel well behind the other whole-of-government telecommunications panels established by AGIMO in terms of the value of usage.
While it has been in operation for significantly longer than the other telecommunications panels, the Telecommunications Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services Panel – for the procurement of mobile devices and carriage – has seen more than $13 million worth of procurement since its standing offer period commenced in December 2010.
However, nearly $11 million of this has taken place in the same 12 month period since the TMAN panel came into existence.
According to agency reporting via AusTender, the Internet Based Network Connections (IBNC) panel has also seen a lot more business than the TMAN panel, with $8.1 million worth of contracts reported against the SON since its commencement on 5 July 2011.
According to First Assistant Secretary John Sheridan, the panel’s scope is comprised of the following areas of provision:
- “Design new telecommunications solutions;
- Manage mobile phone fleets;
- Manage telecommunication services contracts;
- Improve billing and inventory management;
- Procure telecommunications help desk support; and
- Source specialist telecommunication management advice to complement internal resources.”
Finance will review the performance of the TMAN panel between October and December 2012.