ACS has called on the Australian Government to take a broader view in its procurement practices as part of a response to the Australian National Audit Office’s review of the Digital Transformation Agency’s Procurement of ICT-Related Services.
The DTA is the federal authority tasked with overseeing whole-of-government IT policy and strategy, and which provides procurement guidance to other government departments.
ACS noted three areas of concern with current procurement practices in its response: diversity and inclusion (D&I), professional standards and sovereign capability.
On diversity, ACS has recommended the DTA and government start factoring D&I into procurement processes, noting that “a comprehensive and robust audit into the DTA’s ICT procurement should include D&I”.
That would, according to ACS, include evaluating and factoring the D&I policies of suppliers into decisions on the award of government contracts.
ACS also recommended that professionalism and professional certification should be a notable considerable for government procurement, with greater professionalism providing assurances of fewer failed projects or projects with massive cost overruns.
“We believe that this professionalisation process would both improve supplier performance and assurance as well as provide a net benefit to the Australian economy,” the response noted.
“A standardised ‘IT professionalism’ framework … would also assist in conducting like-for-like comparisons across suppliers.”
Finally, ACS recommends that more consideration be given to sovereign capability, especially in light of recent world events.
That might include preferencing suppliers that use in-country professionals.
Initially, ACS has asked for ANAO and DTA to perform an assessment of the number of current government contracts going to companies with in-country professionals working on them.
It noted that of the eight companies with whole-of-government agreements, not one of them was Australian.
“An increase in the use of Australian suppliers not only ensures Australia is protected from sovereign risk, but will encourage development of more local capability for the future,” the response said.
The full response can be found on the ACS website here: https://www.acs.org.au/insightsandpublications/public-policy-position.html