The Victorian Government’s new eServices Register for whole-of-government IT services procurement is set to become operational from 1 July 2013.
Suppliers who are not on the current Victorian eServices Panel should have the opportunity to apply for accreditation to supply ICT goods and services to the Victorian Government from this date onwards.
Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips will launch the register at an Australian Information Industry Association event, where a number of senior government ICT leaders will also present their procurement plans.
The register will replace the current eServices Panel as the mandatory ICT procurement vehicle for Victorian agencies. It will take the form of a continuously open multi-use list rather than the fixed-term, fixed-supplier basis of the outgoing panel.
The Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) is responsible for managing the register.
It has selected an Ariba procurement solution as the platform for the register and will configure it to be accessible through the Government’s existing online procurement portal.
Although purchase orders will continue to be issued through individual agency financial systems, DSDBI expects to develop automatic links from Ariba to agency systems “in the longer term”. The Ariba network will also be used to configure an online mechanism for collection and rate enhancement requests in the future, according to the eServices Register information page.
The scope of services covered by the register includes ICT services, related products and end-to-end solutions. Software and hosting services, including cloud services, will also be available through the scheme.
Efficiency and transparency are two of the main objectives underlining the new arrangement, which will eliminate many of the administrative processes involved in the previous panel. Suppliers will only be required to meet minimum criteria relating to company viability, financial sustainability and insurance.
Final and more detailed verification of these requirements will only occur when the supplier is contracted by an agency, in a bid to reduce the duplication of verification processes. This approach will also make assessment the responsibility of agency ICT project managers rather than a central procurement authority.
The 368 suppliers currently on the Victorian eServices Panel will automatically be transferred to the new register.
The Victorian Government’s transition to the eServices Register was initially revealed in mid-2012.
The announcement followed the release of findings of a joint government and industry working party tasked with investigating the operation of the eServices Panel. The working party report found that 50 per cent of all IT services procurements made since the Panel’s establishment had bypassed the ‘mandatory’ arrangement.
It concluded that the “high level of exemptions indicates the Panel may not be meeting its objectives in relation to procurement efficiency or facilitating access to government business”.
In the year since, governments across the country have begun to adopt similar approaches to ICT procurement. The continuously open NSW ICT Services Scheme is already in place, and the Queensland Government’s ICT Services panel in the process of evaluating supplier responses.
The Federal Government has also foregone traditional ICT panels, but has taken a wholly different approach to the states. Its Portfolio Panels for IT services policy caps the number of agency panels allowed in each portfolio in a bid to halve their numbers. It also mandates multi-agency access to all portfolio panels to give suppliers access to all agencies through membership of a single panel.
For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.