Private sector submissions sought on ICT procurement

The Commonwealth's recently-formed ICT Procurement Taskforce has released a Consultation Paper today, Friday 25 November 2016, on the subject of the existing procurement rules as they apply to ICT expenditure, and how they could be improved.

This is an important opportunity for agencies and industry to have a say about the way that the Commonwealth conducts its $5.6 billion annual ICT spending.

The Commonwealth has a three-part strategy for the overhaul of its ICT spending processes: reform of rules, governance and technology. The Taskforce itself is charged with looking into the rules that apply to ICT procurement. The establishment of the new Digital Transformation Agency represents reform of the governance and the new Digital Marketplace is a step forward from a technology perspective.

The Taskforce, run by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, will specifically consider how to reform ICT procurement to make it easier for smaller innovative companies to do business with government. Some of the other themes that may be addressed by the Taskforce include:

  • How to enable the private sector to participate earlier in the procurement cycle, particularly in designing solutions
  • Whether government needs to be more 'porous' to small innovators and whether the current procurement rules can support this or needs to be amended
  • Whether existing procurement processes are too cumbersome and favour larger suppliers
  • The skills required of procurement officers to enable adoption of more innovative solutions

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor MP believes as much as $560 million of the $5.6 billion spent annually by the government on contracting companies to deliver ICT services could be redirected towards encouraging innovative companies to provide solutions that could quickly and efficiently change government service delivery.

The release of the discussion paper provides an important opportunity for agencies and businesses to comment on:

  • difficulties faced by procurement teams and business when engaging in the Commonwealth government ICT procurement process
  • existing Commonwealth government ICT sourcing arrangements
  • the Commonwealth Procurement Rules as they apply to ICT procurement.

HDY regularly advises agencies on ICT procurements and contracting. We have first-hand experience of the challenges agencies face in getting innovative ICT solutions implemented quickly and successfully. We welcome the Consultation Paper and this opportunity to take a fresh look at Commonwealth government procurement in the ICT context.

The Consultation Paper is available here:

If you would like to discuss any issues raised by the discussion paper, please do not hesitate to contact:

Peter Mulligan

I am passionate about the success of the firm's clients and doing everything to ensure we exceed expectations.

Peter Mulligan Partner

Peter is a specialist in all areas of commercial and technology law, with a particular focus on projects involving complex contractual structures and arrangements. He is recognised by his clients and peers as an expert in tendering and procurement.

Peter's clients call upon him to advise on projects involving the acquisition, licensing or supply of large-scale hardware, information technology, telecommunications systems and other goods and services. His expertise includes outsourcing, managed services and bespoke contractual arrangements.

In the government sector, Peter is an expert in State and Federal procurement, advising government departments and agencies on procurement reform, tendering, legislative compliance, delegations of authority and agency restructures.

One of Peter's career highlights has been acting for Global Television (now NEP Australia), on its agreement to design, install and operate the international broadcast centre for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. This included advising on the tender by the Organising Committee, structuring of arrangements for the supply of host broadcast services for the Games, and negotiations in London of a complex suite of contracts to document the deal including with UK joint venture partner Sunset + Vine.

Peter regularly presents to clients and industry on complex contractual issues, including indemnities, the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW), limitations and exclusions of liability, the law of penalties, product liability and the Australian Consumer Law.

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Debra Tippett

I'm driven to deliver the best for our clients, there are no shortcuts on the way to success.

Debra Tippett Partner

Debra heads up our Canberra office and is a leading government contracting and procurement lawyer specialising in complex information technology projects, smart card systems, e-health, health services and large scale contestability and outsourcing projects.

Prior to joining HDY, Debra was a partner at an international law firm for over 9 years.

Debra is an ICT procurement and contracting specialist with extensive experience advising major government agencies and the private sector on ICT / services outsourcing and contestability projects, systems integration, cloud computing, managed services, software licensing and smart card systems. Debra's experience includes several years managing a major ICT outsourcing contract with a tier 1 vendor. Her 'hands on' experience provides her with valuable insight into the issues faced by vendor managers and enables her to provide practical and effective advice to her clients in relation to vendor and contract management matters.

Debra is highly experienced in major projects for government and adopts a practical risk management and client focussed approach in the provision of her advice and services to her clients. She is also renowned as a highly experienced probity adviser for complex, sensitive projects.

Debra's long standing clients include the Department of Defence, Australian Taxation Office, National Disability Insurance Agency,  ASIC, Department of Health (Cth), Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services (including Centrelink and Medicare Australia), ACT Electricity and Water (Retail and Distribution), iCare (NSW) and Airservices Australia. She has developed deep relationships with many of her clients over several years. Debra's recent experience (including prior to joining HDY) includes:

  • National Disability Insurance Agency: Advising NDIA on its approach to market for local area co-ordination services to streamline the delivery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This project is the cornerstone of the NDIS and will support people with disability to transition to the NDIS, including through building trusting relationships and providing accurate and timely information to support informed decision making.
  • icareNSW (NSW Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer): Lead adviser on the outsourcing of policy and claims management services to scheme agents under the Workers Compensation Act 1987, valued at over $1.3bn over the term of the contract. Debra advised the Nominal Insurer on all aspects of this complex project and continued to advise post contract on transition and disengagement issues. Debra was subsequently engaged by the NI to advise on the  provision, implementation and support of an integrated insurance platform (to be procured as a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform),  involving several work streams and ancillary IT solutions for data warehousing, financial management, BI/data analytics and CRM. Debra continues to advise icare on multiple aspects of Scheme reform.
  • Major utilities provider (electricity and gas): Advised on the procurement of software and systems integration services for the replacement and/or upgrade of several core legacy systems, including financial information management and human capital management systems. These systems are critical to this providers' ability to meet its customers' needs and are to be used in a shared services environment. This project involved multiple, interdependent work streams and required the negotiation of separate contracts with multiple software and systems integration vendors. Debra continued to advise through the build, test  and implement stages.
  • Department of Defence (Joint Health Command): Lead legal adviser on the outsourcing of health services for Defence military personnel across Australia. This was a complex and mission critical sourcing project for Defence which involved multiple health service streams (valued at over $1.4bn). Debra assisted Defence with all aspects of this project for over 3 years including strategic procurement advice, preparation of request documentation, evaluation, negotiations and during the critical transition-in period.
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