Industry services panel feedback positive: AGIMO

Industry calls for wide-ranging changes to whole-of-government ICT services panel.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) claims positive responses from industry to its whole-of-government ICT services panel (WISP), despite the proposal being slammed by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

In a post on the official AGIMO blog, division manager of agency services division, John Sheridan, wrote that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in particular have been pleased with the opportunity to help shape this policy, despite most suggestiongs in the services panel proposal being either rejected outright or heavily changed.

According to Sheridan, SMEs have also called for a request for quotation (RFQ) process along with standardised and simplified tender documentation, but had spurned the idea of AGIMO providing eTendering tools.

“Three main areas generated the most responses; reverse auctions, panel fees and supplier performance management,” the post reads. “The responses ranged from simple rejection to sound arguments with alternative approaches/suggestions.”

Sheridan also said that reverse auctions were considered useful but some industry responses questioned the suitability of applying them to ICT services procurement.

“There was a consensus that used incorrectly, reverse auctions could compromise quality and stifle innovation,” the post reads.

The imposition of an annual panel fee, rather than a percentage fee for business won, was also thought by industry to exclude a large number of SMEs from participation.

“Supplier performance management was greeted with a degree of caution,” the post reads.

“Some respondents thought that candour may jeopardise future business opportunities and that performance management would be more appropriate via the existing contract management process.”

The post follows strong criticism from the AIIA, where the industry suggested the initiative reinvented the wheel for “no proven business or commercial outcome” in its submission on the services panel.

“AIIA believes that the overall direction presented in the discussion paper is essentially a good move for both government and industry, and has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for both parties over current arrangements,” the report reads.

“However, the general consensus of responses from over 400 AIIA members … is that there are still continued major potential areas for review and improvement.”

In related AGIMO news, Australian public servants will shortly receive a crash course on using Adobe’s popular Portable Document Format (PDF) in an attempt by the Federal Government to make the typically secure format more accessible.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags whole-of-government ICT services panelWISPAustralian Information Industry Association (AIIA)Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO)small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

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