The Federal Government is calling on tech suppliers to come along to “speed dating” session to help inform the development of its proposed Parliamentary Expenses Management System (PEMS).
The Government first put the call out to industry in early July, roughly six months after Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced a series of reforms to the expenses system for members of parliament (MPs).
Turnbull said the new system would be “searchable” and updated “as close to real-time” as possible.
In an industry briefing held on 7 July, the Australian Government CTO, John Sheridan, shed more light on exactly what ideas and pitches suppliers will be expected to serve up at a so-called “market day”, scheduled for 17 July.
Sheridan described the market day as taking the form of a speed dating session for partners to talk about their ideas and potential solutions.
“There will be 25 minutes allocated to each vendor or indeed other stakeholder who wants to talk to us about this activity,” Sheridan said at the industry briefing.
He also outlined further details of the proposed system, revealing that the technology employed for the new infrastructure will need to be aligned with the “direction in which the overall government is progressing” in accordance with the directions from the Digital Transformation Agency.
Additionally, Sheridan said there are some 15 requirements or capabilities that the government requires for the system.
“They are elements that are required of an HR system. There are elements around managing work expenses,” Sheridan said.
Among these requirements is the ability to access the system centrally, the ability to manage customers in the system through a customer relationship management (CRM) component and the need to be able to manage the system through the back end, for example.
“We expect there will be reporting requirements, so we need to make sure that the data arrangements are solid and people can see what it is that they are doing in a useful and obvious way,” Sheridan said.
“We expect of course that we are creating records that have to be kept in the long-term. So there will be an appropriate mechanism to develop a digital records management part of the work."
Additionally, Sheridan said that the project is likely to involve iterative builds of the system.
This will start with an Alpha build to ensure those involved with the project look at the potential solutions available. This will be followed by a Beta build, and then iterations over time for a better product.
“This means that we won't be adopting the historical waterfall approach to the system document,” he said.
“We won't be putting out an enormous tender document and getting requests for tender, and hiding behind doors for six months while we work something out and then saying where we have gone; then embarking on a long development path.
“We will retain these principles in the Digital Service Standard as we work through various components of the activity,” he said.
The Government told suppliers to note that there will be no contract at the completion of the PEMS market day. However, consideration of the market day presentations will inform its next move to achieve solution advice and refine costings for the second pass business case.
The call for industry feedback for the project comes after the government decided in late 2015 that improvements to the Parliamentary entitlements system were required to better support parliamentarians and meet public expectations.
In February 2016, an Independent Parliamentary Entitlements System Review made 36 recommendations aimed at simplifying the parliamentary work expenses framework.
By March 2016, the Minister for Finance announced support for all of the Review’s recommendations in principle.