Transgrid, a State Owned Corporation (SOC) responsible for NSW’ electricity distribution network has bypassed a major NSW Government whole-of-government panel.
Transgrid has issued a three year tender for the supply of personal desktop IT equipment – PCs (approx 500 at July 2008), laptops (approx 700), tablet computers, maintenance and value-added services. Transgrid expects the new contract to commence on 1 October 2008.
The agency is tight-lipped about the identity of the current supplier whose three year contract expires shortly.
As a SOC, Transgrid is not obliged to source via established panels.
The NSW Government has in place a whole-of-government panel (ITS 2007) to supply its desktop, notebook and small server needs requirements until at least October 2009 (a two-year extension is an option). ITS 2007 is part of People First - the NSW Government’s ICT Strategic Plan framework. The panel includes Acer, Lenovo and HP, with local assemblers, ASI Solutions and Optima (now in voluntary administration) on a parallel panel. This panel covers around 280,000 machines and is expected be worth approximately $175m each year.
When announcing ITS 2007, the Government claimed it would leverage its purchasing power to achieve significant savings.
One of the possible reasons for Transgrid approaching the open market instead of using ITS 2007 is that suppliers not included on the panel will be prepared to offer very competitive pricing to access a significant piece of the NSW Government market from which they would otherwise be excluded for up to seven years.
A further possible reason is that the deal might be worth more than $5m, in which case according to NSW Government procurement guidelines (which as a SOC, Transgrid is not obliged to follow) the Tender should be tested in the open market.
Also atypically for a NSW Government agency, Transgrid signed a multi-million dollar contract with Mincom in 2006 for the provision of outsourced IT services. Initially for three years, Transgrid has an option to extend the contract for a further three years. For the previous five years, TransGrid had employed a selective sourcing model involving Mincom and Fujitsu.