Australia's largest government service agency Centrelink will appoint an integrated services panel (ISP) to oversee one of the largest IT integration projects in the country from mid-2005.
Tenders will be called in December for the provision of a tranche of IT and communications services.
Headed by Centrelink's business transformation group, the panel will cover almost all of Centrelink's future IT and communications requirements, covering mainframe services, mid-range services, desktop services, network and communications services, and security services.
Sources familiar with the tender, which falls within Centrelink's Refresh Program, estimated the value of consulting services will be between $120 million and $200 million over the duration of the contract.
According to Centrelink documents obtained by Computerworld, the agency anticipates appointing between three to five IT services contractors to the new panel to help design the information framework of the department's IT future requirements and will also advise on the integration of current systems.
A spokesman for Centrelink would not comment on the request for tender, saying that there was strict policy of silence in place while any tenders were being sought.
Centrelink's Refresh Program started on July 1 2003 and the agency describes it as a "corporate business transformation program" which is scheduled to run for five years. The program aims to use available technologies including Internet, interactive voice response, virtual private networks and mobile computing to "enhance, extend and transform" Centrelink's business processes.
According to Centrelink, "The initial stages of the Refresh projects will deliver key infrastructure components and focus on the resolution of outstanding problems in critical business infrastructure."
The announcement of the services panel tender is the first for the agency since the federal election, and it is anticipated that a $140 million telecommunications and network backbone tender - which was put on ice during caretaker government mode - will follow.