Consultation on Open Contracting Data Standard

Author: 
Michael Hirschfeld

Commitment 4.3 of the Open Government National Action Plan was to undertake a review of Australia’s existing compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), publish the review and receive public comment before implementing any agreed measures to increase Australia’s compliance.

On 19 July 2017, Finance released the Review of AusTender data against the Open Contracting Data Standard for public consultation. Consultation closed on the 10th of August 2017.

Finance received five submissions from interested parties during the consultation period, and I thank these interested parties for their contributions. Key points from the submissions were:

  • a general belief that there would be benefits from adopting a higher standard of compliance with the OCDS;
  • that it was premature to suggest it was cost prohibitive to expand existing systems to increase compliance; and
  • that it may be possible to adopt an OCDS-compliant data publication process in the interim.

The Open Contracting Partnership noted in its submission that it commended the Australian Government on drawing links between its existing system AusTender and the OCDS, suggesting there may be no change needed to AusTender beyond transforming the existing data collected into an OCDS suitable format as a new dataset.

I thought it was worth clarifying that, whilst the report notes the likely significant cost associated with modifying the existing AusTender system, the cost referenced does not purely derive from changes to the AusTender system. It includes the total cost of collecting and publishing the additional information on AusTender – largely derived from modifications to the data collection processes (FMIS systems) of the 67 Commonwealth entities who automatically upload to AusTender.

From here, Finance will brief the Government on the outcome of the review, including potential options for Government consideration. It is worth noting, the Government makes iterative changes to the data collected and published via AusTender over time, for example, the upcoming changes to collect and publish additional data on limited tendering. As such, irrespective of the Government’s decision, further potential improvements to increase the level of compliance with the OCDS can be considered as part of these regular improvements.

Regards,

Michael

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Last updated: 08 September 2017