IT procurement left out of red tape repeal day

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IT procurement left out of red tape repeal day

But AIIA bullish about reforms.

The Australian government has excluded IT procurement from its red tape repeal initiative, but IT lobbying body the AIIA remains optimistic about progress before the end of the year.

The Coalition's red tape repeal day - set for March 26 - will remove more than 9500 "unnecessary" pieces of legislation and 1000 "redundant" acts of parliament to cut $1 million in red tape-related costs annually.

The initiative will also ease the red tape burden on goods purchased by the goverment for under $200,000 by streamlining the tender process. But it excludes IT contracts, which the Finance department told iTnews had been ruled "out of scope". 

The changes will involve standardised terms and conditions, online templates, and the removal of the need for legal advice in drafting the contract.

The department also confirmed there would be no change to the present $80,000 threshold, the point above which every government contract must be offered through a formal tender process. 

The threshold was called a "significant burden" by the 2008 Gershon Review for many government agencies and suppliers, and a barrier for small businesses bidding for government work.

Finance released a suite of standardised contract templates for IT procurements below $80,000 in 2011.

The consultation version of the new Commonwealth Contract Suite is located on the procurement blog. The procurement reforms are expected to save $38 million.

CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association Suzanne Campbell told iTnews the exclusion of IT procurement reform in the red tape repeal project was not the end of the conversation.

She said the Government had an opportunity to work with the industry to create a more "harmonised set of terms and conditions" to reduce the costs associated with the procurement process for both the industry and Government. 

"This is the beginning of a process of change and the first announcement is not an end point at all. I am pretty sure that ICT procurement will become part of it," Campbell said.

She said the huge number of government IT procurement panels, as well as the associated varied contract terms and conditions, required immediate reform attention.

"We have too many procurement panels. They are archaic. They lock Government into solutions that are many years in duration. Government needs to find new and different ways of engaging with industry that are not panel based," she said.

The AIIA would also push for a smaller amount of contract terms and conditions for IT vendors across all levels of government.

"It just doesn't make sense to have different terms and conditions across agencies."

Campbell will front the Senate Estimates inquiry into procurement procedures on Friday 21 March.

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