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Trend Towards More Consultation in Federal Procurement

by Staff Writers •
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In line with what appears to be emerging collaborative trend, ComSuper has issued an Invitation for Industry Comment (IFIC) that asks prospective tenderers to comment on a draft RFT prior to any form of supplier shortlisting.

ComSuper is looking to replace its key business applications, including a new superannuation administration platform, as well as supporting infrastructure – Administration Management Platform (APM). This IFIC invites respondents to submit comments on the agency’s Draft Statement of Requirements (DSOR).

While the terminology is a little unusual, this IFIC is part of an emerging trend for government agencies. Tender processes are increasingly being opened up to broad input about technology options prior to agencies nailing down their specific RFT requirements.

Industry watchers will have already noted that the ATO is also using a consultative model as they move to a shortlist of suppliers in their three-stage infrastructure outsourcing procurement.

The main difference is that ComSuper is engaging in widespread industry consultation about specific requirements in advance of any short listing or prequalification processes.

The process so far within ComSuper:

  • August 2007: ComSuper presented an industry information session and invited industry parties to participate in a market research exercise involving one-on-one sessions.
  • ComSuper received strong industry response to the one-on-one sessions
  • ComSuper has now published its lessons learned from the one-on-one sessions as part of the IFIC process
  • 31 January 2008: IFIC was released
  • May 2008: RFT to be released

Also note, in the past, a number of tender processes have been criticised for their narrow focus to alternatives and their basic approach to risk management. The ComSuper tender process is dealing with these issues by comprehensively integrating them into the process. Indeed, one of the lessons learned from the formal consultations by ComSuper was that industry “highlighted the necessity of considering both emerging and well proven administration systems for the APM platform”.

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