Local partners could get the chance to help shape the Federal Government’s IT procurement regime after the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) struck a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).
The MoU was signed on 14 March, formalising a commitment to the delivery of the Government’s digital transformation agenda by identifying opportunities for commercial IT industry players to share information and draw on expertise to deliver better government online services.
The agreement is inclusive to all AIIA members and lays out several mutual principles and suggested initiatives.
Specifically, these are largely aimed at seeing the two parties work cooperatively to exchange information, experiences and expertise to achieve better outcomes for individuals and businesses using government online services.
In practice, the arrangement will see AIIA members, such as Fluccs, NEC and JDS among others, given a pathway via which to bring their experience to the table and contribute to the ongoing work being undertaken by the DTA to overhaul Australia’s IT procurement landscape.
“The information and technology industry has much to offer government and by engaging early in the design and development of programs, we have an opportunity to build in industry best practice, encourage innovation and make it easier to do business with government,” DTA chief executive officer, Gavin Slater, said.
“In particular, we are looking forward to continuing to engage with the AIIA on the government’s ICT procurement reforms, and digital identity and building digital capability programs,” he said.
Among the things private sector IT players can bring to the table, according to AIIA chief executive officer, Rob Fitzpatrick, are case studies and experience from other areas of the market that may influence better outcomes for IT procurement and delivery of government services than in the past.
“As government represents around one third of all technology spend in Australia, getting the best outcome possible through close collaboration is critical for everyone — government, industry and citizens," Fitzpatrick said.
“If we’re going to create better forms of procurement for IT services, if we’re going to deliver on digital identity once and for all for Australia, then what are the lessons that we know from the private sector that we can bring to the table so that what we do doesn't repeat past mistakes?” he told ARN. “We can get better, more accelerated outcomes.
IT procurement has been one of the primary focuses of the DTA and its predecessor, the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), since their respective inceptions, with greater access to Government work for smaller providers being a core theme.
The Federal Government revealed on 23 August last year new procurement reforms that see IT contracts capped at $100 million, as part of its push to give smaller players a leg up when competing for lucrative public sector contracts.
Last year, eight major Federal Government IT procurement panels were moved from the Department of Finance, where they had resided for years, across to the DTA.
Among the procurement panels to make the journey to the freshly-created agency from the Department of Finance, where they have resided for years, is the government’s cloud services panel, the mobile panel, the telecommunications services panel and the data centre services panel.
The agreement between the AIIA and the DTA was struck as former DTO chief, Paul Shetler, called for a major overhaul of the country’s public sector IT procurement regime, suggesting it should cap what it spends on external consultants.