Victorian eServices panel under fire again

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Victorian eServices panel under fire again
A field of grave stones

How some refresh 'winners' have still lost out.

The Victorian Government's eServices panel has come under fresh attack from IT services firms that face substantial revenue cuts under a recent refresh of the arrangement.

Panel category manager Andrew Nandan told iTnews there were "a few companies" that had been approved to offer services under some but not all categories they had applied for.

At least one IT service provider - who declined to be named - accused the panel of reinstating it into categories of service that were peripheral to its specialisation.

“We have a $4 million a year business but it will drop to $400K after this,” the service firm's director said.

The issues were the latest to beset the eServices panel, which the Victorian Government unsuccessfully tried to consolidate in July.

The State Government doubled the number of places on the panel in a backdown announced earlier this month, reinstating many who had missed out on a place in July.

Some service providers still faced lost business after being reinstated to only some of the categories of work they had previously been authorised to service in state agencies.

“Service providers with long and successful track records of providing service (under the previous long standing eServices Panel) have been included in one or more categories of services and yet excluded from their 'specialist' categories (such as project management or support services) under which they provide the majority of their services to State Government,” the director said.

The director said that some of his State Government clients would have to file applications for exemption from the eServices panel if they wished to continue taking his company's services.

He alleged that if his company was no longer able to service projects it had been involved in before the panel refresh, that these projects would grind to a halt.

Under the eServices scheme, a Government agency that finds that they have an ICT need that can not be met by a service provider on the eServices Panel may seek an exemption to use a service provider that is not on the panel.

Decisions on such exemptions take about three business days. However this is not a back-door to the new panel, exemptions are granted only for a particular piece of work being sourced.

In acknowledging that the director was not alone in raising concerns with the new eServices panel, Nandan said that the Government was "debriefing" the affected companies in a process that would run until at least January of next year.

However, requests by the service providers for re-admission to all categories of work they had previously held on the panel would not be considered.

Nandan confirmed the exemptions process was available but it would have to be prompted by a Departmental request.

Requests would be considered on their merits, he said.

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