The Victorian government has backtracked on changes to its eServices panel, announcing a restructure that will be finalised by the end of October.
Companies represented on the panel are eligible to bid for contracts to provide ICT services to Victorian departments and agencies. The previous panel had been in place since 2003, but changes that came in into effect on July 1 targeted inner government departments and 'streamlined' the terms and conditions of contracts.
The move was criticised by Victoria’s shadow Minister for ICT, Adem Somyurek, who said companies were provided only two days notice of the changes, which resulted in the removal of 75 per cent of companies.
“The wholesale changes to the panel include the cutting the number of companies on the panel and the removal of the $1 million cap for contracts,” he said in a statement.
Somyurek said departments had been left wondering as to the impact of the decision to the arrangements already in place between the government and the companies which were no longer on the panel. He called on the state's Premier, Ted Baillieu, to intervene.
The government has since announced companies will have another opportunity to gain a place on the panel and the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance will provide additional information about the evaluation criteria. The offer is open to both new tenderers and companies that were unsuccessful in the recent panel announcement.
Companies that are already on the panel will be able to either keep their existing bids or submit further bids.
“The eServices Panel is also designed to improve the Victorian Government’s value for money and efficiency in engaging ICT service providers, so it’s important the panel serves these purposes as well,” Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips, said.
The government will also establish a working party to provide advice to the government on the panel’s future.
“This is a win for the Victorian ICT Sector, a win for the various departments and agencies engaging the panel’s IT providers, and a win for common sense,” Somyurek said, adding the government will be forced to re-tender hundreds of organisations for hundreds of contracts across government.
ICT industry group, the Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA,) has welcomed the restructure. AIIA national chair, Philip Cronin, said the government had shown commitment to listening to industry concerns and to working toward outcomes that will better benefit the state.
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