NSW government dumps telco procurement panels

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NSW government dumps telco procurement panels

GTAs to lapse, new purchasing to be scrutinised by consultants.

The NSW government has pulled the plug on its telecommunications procurement panels, opting for a private sector ‘broker’ to audit agency purchases instead.

The set of ‘government telecommunications agreements’ (GTAs) were established in 2009 to leverage discounts from vendors using the government’s collective buying power.

The state’s agencies used them to buy $371 million in telecommunications goods and services in 2012-13.

The last of the GTA panels will reach its final expiry on 31 March 2014 and a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance and Services has confirmed to iTnews that it will not be renewed.

“It is intended that after 31 March 2014 telecommunications procurements will be made under the Procure IT Framework 3.1 through the ICT Services Scheme,” she said.

Currently 61 vendors are signatories to the GTA panel, and if they haven’t already done so they will now need to apply for membership of the state’s flexible term list of prequalified vendors that it hopes will cut down on the red tape associated with panel procurement.

The government has also appointed a private sector “broker” to audit agency requirements and telco pricing and help public sector buyers squeeze the most from their telco dollar.

Specialist telco consultancy Housley Consulting has won a two year contract (with options to extend) to deliver the services, although their use will not be mandatory for NSW agencies.

They will work alongside the state’s ICT procurement and technical standards working group as well as assisting agencies on an individual basis.

The DFS explained that Housley will take a cut of the measured savings in return for its work.

“The engagement is based on sharing of realised savings. The quantum of savings will depend in part on the nature and extent of brokered services under the agreement,” said a spokeswoman.

“While there are no plans at this time to apply a broker model to other ICT services, the effectiveness of this broker arrangement will inform future consideration of a range of ICT procurement models,” she added.

It will not be mandatory to turn to Housley for advice but agencies will be “encouraged to use the broker’s services”.

DFS said the government has already managed to save $3.3 million, or 11 percent of its anticipated telecommunications spend by having the working group scrutinise deals over $100,000 before they go ahead, a process which began in early 2013. The PTS review scheme has also capped new contracts at 24 months in duration.

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