The Queensland government has begun phasing in its new IT contracting framework to make it easier for agencies and suppliers to buy and sell ICT while better addressing risk.
The state's new information technology contracting (QITC) framework is being incrementally introduced to replace the national government information technology contracting (GITC) framework, after a 2015 review found it had not kept pace with the needs of government and industry.
GITC has governed the development of ICT contracts since the early 90s, and has evolved into around five different versions variously used by different governments.
The new Queensland framework offers four standardised contract types that address different value thresholds and risk profiles to better reflect the inherent risk in each procurement.
These range from a general contract for low-risk procurements worth $1 million or less, to a bespoke contract where the procurement is perceived as being very high or extreme risk.
The new framework also caters for as-a-service procurements, considers supplier terms and conditions in some circumstances, and aims to reduce the time taken to buy products or services.
Agencies will be able to use either framework for the next three months while QITC is phased in, and existing GITC contracts will remain in place until they expire.
The QITC builds on recent changes to the state government’s procurement policy, which offer ICT suppliers the opportunity to bypass a pre-qualification scheme in an effort to give a leg up to the state’s small-to-medium enterprises and start-ups.
The changes within the new “Buy Queensland” procurement policy will see suppliers bidding for contracts worth less than $1 million exempt from needing to acquire QAssure accreditation; previously the threshold was $500,000.
Most Queensland government ICT procurements fall under the $1 million threshold.
A spokesperson for the Department of Science, IT and Innovation told iTnews the changes would further simplify the procurement process for suppliers wanting to engage with government.
But the ICT SME participation scheme, which allows agencies to directly engage SMEs to provide innovative solutions valued up to $500,000, will remain unchanged.
NSW has made similar changes to its SME procurement process in recent months, increasing the tender-free threshold to $1 million for small-to-medium business.
Queensland suppliers will also now receive a 'local supplier weighting' of up to 30 percent on any tender lodged for a significant procurement. Local suppliers are defined as businesses that maintain a workforce within a 125km radius of where business is conducted.