The number of suppliers on the Victorian Government’s eServices panel has nearly doubled to 368 following a review into its composition which commenced earlier this year.
Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said in media release that this version of the eServices panel “is the largest panel since its inception”.
He added that companies will be notified from Wednesday whether their bids for a place on the panel have been successful, which could be enough to soften any Melbourne Cup losses incurred the day before for successful applicants.
The Government attracted criticism from both the ICT industry and the opposition in May 2011, when it was announced that 65 suppliers had been cut from the whole-of-government panel following a refresh of the membership.
Originally 253 members strong, only 188 suppliers held onto their place on the May 2011 eServices panel, which was the first to be made mandatory for use by all Budget Sector agencies in the state.
It was argued that the slimmed down panel was shutting a large proportion of the ICT industry out of the lucrative government market and stifling competition. These issues led to the review of the panel composition.
The subsequent round of tendering has now opened the door to many more ICT suppliers. The latest incarnation of the panel has 180 more members than the May 2011 announcement, nearly three times as many than were originally removed from the list.
“This refresh is a win-win situation leading to greater choice, and competition and therefore greater value for money for the government, as well as more opportunities for our local industry,” Rich-Phillips said.
The refresh brings the size of the panel into line with that of its neighbouring state, NSW. At present there are 305 suppliers on the whole-of-NSW-government Contract 2020 Panel for IT Services.
The initial term of the appointment is until 30 June 2014, with a possibility of two one year extensions.
As announced in July, the formation of an industry-government working party will ensure that the Baillieu Government is kept updated on best practice when it comes to ICT services procurement. The NSW Government too has just announced the establishment of a similar body, to be headed by ANZ Bank CIO John Baird.
The Victorian Government has not yet published a full list of the new suppliers on the eServices panel.