Portfolio Panels for IT Services Policy

John Sheridan - CIO & CISO
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As announced by the Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, in a media release today, the Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board has endorsed the Portfolio Panels for IT Services Policy. This policy, effective immediately, is the outcome of the consultation across industry and agencies on the optimisation of IT Services Panels including the 2010 discussion paper, commonly referred to as WISP.

The new policy provides the flexibility that agencies require over a wide range of IT Services. It will deliver operational efficiencies while maintaining a high level of open competition.

Efficiencies are gained by reducing the large number of IT Services Panels that exist across Australian Government agencies and the burden this places on agencies and suppliers. Competition is maintained by allowing a maximum of three IT Services Panels across each portfolio and thus providing IT suppliers with future panel tenders to which to respond.

In practice, an agency will normally use its portfolio’s panels to procure its IT Services; however, it is not restricted to these. Newly established IT Services panels must include a whole-of-government multi-agency access or ‘piggybacking’ clause, ensuring that they will be available to all Australian Government agencies. Over time, the first step an agency takes in securing IT Services will be to see what IT Services are available via its existing portfolio panel, followed by what is available via panels across the Australian Government. Only then will there be a need to investigate an approach to market via open tender. This is expected to significantly reduce time and dollars spent by agencies and suppliers alike. AGIMO will provide, via the Finance website and govdex, support to assist portfolios with multi-agency access clauses, templates and processes related to the panel development and operation. In addition, Finance will develop a matrix of IT Services panels to help agencies locate the ideal panel for their needs.

What of the earlier WISP consultation?

Thank you for the ideas we received following consultation; these have been included into this policy. Your feedback will also contribute to the development of a new ICT Multi-Use List to replace the two that Finance administers; the ICT Multi-Use List and the ICT Management Consultants Multi-Use List. It will feature updated product categories and improved functionality, delivering suppliers and agencies with savings in time and money. It will provide current and emerging ICT suppliers a channel in which to engage with Government and demonstrate their capabilities. This is expected to be operational during 2012. Like the current lists, its use will not be mandatory.

The new list will be designed around a mandatory head agreement, reducing ongoing legal costs, and online, templated RFTs, RFQs and responses. Combined with performance assessments of suppliers by agencies, the list will simplify procurement, particularly for the over 70% of ICT services contracts that are valued at less than $80,000. Consultation on the policy will be conducted through this blog and is likely to begin in the New Year.


Comments on this blog are now closed. Please let us know if you would like to discuss this post or have any general comments.


Comments (4)

We have already received several questions regarding this policy and there have been online articles about it (here and here). This comment addresses these matters.

Will there be a single whole of government ICT services panel as postulated in the WISP discussion paper? No. The consultation conducted with agencies and industry, and particularly the comments, online and elsewhere, generated by the discussion paper, revealed that this was not the preferred option. This demonstrates the advantages offered by this form of consultation in reaching more stakeholders and generating a wider range of responses. As discussed in the post above, points gathered as a result of the consultations will be used to inform our work in streamlining the ICT multi-use lists.

Which panels will go? That’s a matter for the portfolios and agencies involved. This is a convergence policy that moves gradually towards the desired outcome. Some portfolios might decide that all their needs can be met by the new piggybacking arrangements. Such portfolios might not need their own panels at all. AGIMO will publish an online matrix of existing IT Services panels (with multi-agency-access) to assist agencies during implementation to locate a suitable panel for their procurement needs. This matrix will be updated throughout the implementation of the policy.

What happened to the proposed fee? The fee was part of the discussion paper proposal to fund a central, single panel. As this is not the policy direction preferred, a fee is not required.

Where can we find public submissions regarding the discussion paper? We published them online here in February 2011.

The discussion paper put the number of panels at about 87. Why are there about 120 now? The analysis conducted for the discussion paper was completed in late 2009. It focused on those standing offers with multiple suppliers. The latest analysis takes into account those panels which only have a single supplier of IT Services and those panels with only a proportion of IT Services in their service offering. It is thus a more accurate figure.

We'd welcome other questions or comments as usual.

Are there any valid exemptions from this policy? What is the definition of "services"?

Why three panels per portfolio, not just one?

Are the portfolios the same as those listed here http://www.finance.gov.au/financial-framework/fma-legislation/docs/FMA-A... ?

Will the policy take into consideration that small portfolios (such as Veterans Affairs) would have different scale requirements (less need for 3 panels) than large portfolios (such as Treasury of Defence)?

Hi Justin

Three is the maximum not the compulsory number. We expect some smaller agencies may choose not to establish/maintain their own panels.

And yes, that link shows the portfolios and the agencies that comprise them.



Last updated: 01 August 2016