NSW Government revamps standard IT contracts

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NSW Government revamps standard IT contracts
NSW Parliament in Sydney

Intellectual property remains with supplier by default.

The Australian Information Industry Association has welcomed a directive from the NSW Government that will enable suppliers to commercialise ICT systems they create for the state.

NSW Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce unveiled the changes last week, which include a directive that contracts between agencies and suppliers comply with version three of the Procure IT Framework (pdf).

The 41-page revision of Procure IT offers simpler, short-form contracts to reduce burdens on small and medium enterprises in key ICT procurement areas.

In addition, companies that develop innovative ICT systems for the NSW Government will now be better able to capitalise on their innovation because — in most cases — they will retain ownership of the associated intellectual property, rather than handing it over to the state government.

"For too long... the terms and conditions in ICT contracts were a drag on innovation as they unnecessarily denied companies the ownership of intellectual property for products designed for the NSW Government," Pearce said.

"Under Procure IT, ownership of the intellectual property will remain with the supplier. 

“This will provide businesses with a greater opportunity to commercialise their products and grow their business."

However, Pearce noted some "safeguards" were in place that enabled the Government "to retain control of intellectual property when it is in the interests of taxpayers."

It did not elaborate further on examples of these types of conditional exemption.

ICT industry body the AIIA welcomed the changes, with CEO Suzanne Campbell noting the organisation had pushed for the changes for some time.

“This is the result of a long-term consultation between industry and government," she said.

“Over many years we have been working on behalf of AIIA members and the ICT industry to address the inconsistent and unnecessary red tape and legal requirements faced by companies when supplying ICT goods and services to the NSW Government.

“Under this new mandated directive from the [Department of Finance and Services], they [companies] will be able to focus their resources on innovation and growth.

The AIIA said it would work with the department on the implementation of the newly mandated procurement framework.

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