Along with potential improvements to the Government’s existing panel arrangements, there was strong support for increasing the $80,000 procurement threshold which, according to the DTA, adds red tape for buyers and is seen as a barrier to entry for sellers. This threshold forms part of the Government’s international trade agreements, making it a complex issue to tackle.
At the same time, many agencies suggested that they would like to see an IT procurement ‘One Stop Shop’ from the DTA, which includes guidance, tools and reporting.
“Agencies would like the DTA to create an [IT] contracting suite for medium value procurements (targeting SMEs). This could include adding clauses for contractor poaching, piggybacking and others where appropriate,” the DTA said.
Meanwhile, the DTA said it found that there is support for, and value in, like-minded people talking, sharing and collaborating.
“This could be in the format of a panel manager forum or ICT professional’s forum,” the agency said.
As a way to address some of the findings of the procurement taskforce, the DTA’s draft framework includes several principles, including the principles of encouraging competition, being innovative and to iterate often.
Other principles include being structured in a way that enables SMEs to compete fairly to directly provide components of significant IT projects, being outcomes-focussed, using open standards and being cloud first.
Additionally, the principles of minimising security risks and not duplicating the building of platforms built by other agencies were also included in the proposed framework.
The proposed framework also outlined four policies. These include a new fair criteria policy, aimed at encouraging competition and support SME participation by including considerations such as insurance, limiting liability, security, and separate financial criteria for large enterprises and SME.
Another new policy, the “ICT consider first policy”, is intended to make sure all options are considered before procurement starts. This could include consideration of cloud first, open standards, cyber security, shared platforms, digital service standards and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS).
Two existing policies proposed for the framework include the ICT portfolio panels policy, also aimed at encouraging competition and support SME participation, and a review of the ICT capped term and value policy.
The proposed framework also makes mention of guidance, in the context of making the Government IT procurement process consistent, easier and more efficient.
Meanwhile, the framework references reporting, suggesting that it should focus on data that can be easily tracked and monitored, and that measures both the principles and the policies.
“We want to hear from anyone who will work in this framework,” the DTA said. “That’s both people from government agencies -- especially those in procurement -- and from industry, especially those that sell ICT to government, or want to in the future.”