The Australian government intends to reduce the number of panels it operates for the purchase of telecommunications services after finding several are failing to provide any benefit.
The Department of Finance operates five telco-based panels - for internet-based network connection services (IBNCS); telecommunications management (TMAN); telco invoice reconciliation services (IR); mobile; and Australian government telecommunications arrangements.
Three of these - the IBNCS, TMAN and IR panels - are due to expire this year.
In a recent review, Finance found the TMAN and IR panels weren't returning savings to government due to a low number of contracts, but were still expensive to maintain.
Finance found the IBNCS panel, however, had met its objectives and achieved savings of $87 million since its 2010 inception. It covers network carriage services, virtual connection management services, IP carriage services, and "major internet connection" services.
TMAN covers the procurement of operational management activities like help desk support, analysis, management of billing, and the design of telecommunications requirements.
At the moment it has 96 active contracts under the head agreement, with the majority of its buying value coming from two large contracts with the Department of Immigration and the Department of Defence.
The IR panel was intended to allow government agencies to procure invoice reconcilitation services, but only currently has two active contracts.
The department wants to ditch the telco management and invoice reconciliation services panels entirely when they expire and replace them with a more flexible telecommunications services panel.
It has approached the market for suppliers to join the panel, which will offer managed WAN, transport data links and internet connection services. It is also consulting with partners on the changes.
"The proposed TSP model is designed to allow for the inclusion of new services and categories as technology and requirements change," Finance wrote.
The new model would aim to deliver more flexible procurement of telco services, as well as outcome rather technology-driven technical requirements, the department said.
The new telco services panel would run for four years with three 12-month extensions on offer.
Finance is taking feedback on the changes until April 13.