Ten major ICT infrastructure projects are on the horizon for The Migration Review Tribunal and The Refugee Review Tribunal (the Tribunals) during a period of potential turbulence for the agencies following the Australian Government’s announcement in the 2014-15 Federal Budget of the creation of a single Civilian Merits Review Tribunal.
The idea was first put forward in the recommendations of the recently-released Commission of Audit.
From 1 July 2015, the Migration Refugee Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal, Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Classification Review Board will be amalgamated into a single tribunal, as part of a measure to consolidate or abolish more than 70 government bodies for estimated savings of $470 million over four years.
However, the prospect of amalgamation has not stopped the Tribunals from issuing a Request for Tender (RFT) for the provision of system architecture, development and advisory services, required to consolidate support for the ten major ICT infrastructure projects.
The RFT comes as the Tribunals gear up for a period of high ICT project activity in the next six to 24 months, covering both the ongoing development and maintenance of existing systems, as well as new projects which will have to be compatible with existing ICT architecture.
Among the projects underway are an e-services online lodgement and payment system for clients, operating in tandem with the Tribunals’ existing case management system ‘CaseMate’. The Tribunals have also embarked on planning for replacement Intranet and payroll systems, a website review, electronic case file, and the possible replacement of CaseMate within the next two years.
The RFT acknowledges that while the Tribunals’ Technology Services unit has some development capability, the provision of services to supplement this capability is required during the upcoming period of increased ICT activity.
The Tribunals are seeking additional web development services, and assistance with ensuring new ICT solutions are fully integrated with the Tribunals’ overarching systems architecture.
The RFT further outlines the needs for familiarity with .NET 4.0 applications, alongside best practice development standards for Java and ASP systems. The Tribunals have indicated a desire for advisory services for content management systems, in addition to bespoke, off-the-shelf and custom off-the-shelf systems. Informal technical training for existing Technology Services staff will also be required.
The RFT is open until 27 June, with the successful tenderer intended to come on board in the first quarter of the 2014-15 financial year, working on-site from Tribunal offices predominantly based in Sydney. The contract will have an initial duration of 12 months, with an option to extend and the possibility of a retainer agreement due to the fluctuating nature of demand for these services.
The decision to merge these tribunals follows a pattern of ‘super-tribunals’ being created in five states and territories in the last fifteen years, with the latest being the implementation of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), which took effect on 1 January 2014 through the merging of over 22 existing state tribunals.