Victoria’s Department of Education has granted Acer a $46 million deal to supply notebooks for teachers as part of a proactive measure against potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
The state department is understood to have rushed in the notebook mega-deal by offering the incumbent Acer a one-year contract extension and cancelling a planned procurement for a new long-term supplier.
“The department has issued a short-term extension to an existing contact with Acer to allow the normal procurement process to be completed,” an Education spokeswoman said.
“The department has undertaken this procurement in accordance with its relevant policy setting and in adherence with the Victorian Government Purchasing Board supply policies.”
The spokeswoman confirmed to ARN the extension was not granted under its provision for critical incident procurement clause.
The department refused to reveal the number of devices included in Acer’s extension, but it is understood to number around 20,000.
These are geared to equip teachers with the necessary technology if further COVID-19 outbreaks lead to school closures in the near future, it is understood.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the department had originally earmarked a procurement for 80,000 teacher notebooks for the normal period of three years, with the option of two yearly extensions.
ARN understands that Acer, HP, Dell and Microsoft were the four vendors in the running for the contract.
However, the department is understood to have been impacted by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as have procurement efforts of numerous other government entities across Australia.
On a federal level, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) warned as early as March that product shortages and delays following the virus outbreak in China would hamper procurement efforts.
It later announced a decision to defer some of its approaches-to-market for its digital sourcing arrangements.