Government sets up IT supplier complaint email account

13 November 2017

The Australian federal government has created a dedicated email account for IT suppliers to lodge complaints about procurement involving the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth’s lead agency for IT, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), said the email was set up to encourage IT businesses to give their feedback about the barriers they face when dealing with the government.

It added that emails would be seen and managed by the assistant minister’s office and the DTA.

Speaking at to the National Press Club last week, Angus Taylor, assistant minister for digital transformation, said the email was part of the DTA’s “focus on engagement”, which had become central to it’s achievements during the past year. 

“We are constantly engaging across government and looking for solutions that will deliver benefits more quickly and effectively,” he said.

“I think we have made it clear how important the partnership with industry is for us—I mean it when I say, we have to be porous.

“I think if the industry uses this service well, it can be incredibly powerful.”

He added that the move is in line with the federal government’s pledge to provide new opportunities for SMEs to win government contracts and he would “aggressively seek solutions” for the procurement difficulties faced by IT suppliers.

In late August, SM reported that the federal government declared it would cap any new IT contracts at either $100m or three years, in order to open up more of the Commonwealth’s $6.5bn annual IT spend to smaller players.

The announcement comes as the DTA unveiled its first insights into the federal government’s review of all its major IT projects.

In October 2016, the DTA announced its new agenda revealing that it would manage a whole-of-government IT programme management office, which would oversee all “significant” IT and digital investments.

It said this would mean a review of all the significant IT contracts it has with its external providers in order to deliver greater transparency of projects funded by the tech spend of the federal government.

The move to take a closer look at the federal government’s IT projects came after a series of high-profile mishaps arising from IT contract arrangements struck between government entities and external IT providers. 

Based on the DTA’s latest figures, there are now 72 initiatives that fall within the scope of a major IT project with a budget of $10m or more. The 72 projects are happening across 21 agencies and have a total lifetime cost of $7.24bn. 

According to the DTA’s first insights, 17 out of the 71 projects are categorised in the “engage” category, which covers projects that are highly complex, of high strategic importance to the government, of significant investment or where a project needs a renewed focus to ensure it’s delivering on its intended benefits.

The data revealed that most of the IT spend is going into defence, both corporate and non-military applications. Less money is being on health, agriculture and water resources.

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