ATO overhauls IT contractor panel in red tape blitz

The Australian Taxation Office is hoping to save up to AU$4 million annually from an IT contractor panel overhaul.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) today released a request for tender for a flagship IT contractor panel aimed at slashing up to AU$4 million worth of red tape and transforming the current panel arrangements.

ATO chief information officer Bill Gibson said that he expects the new model to save the agency millions of dollars through a combination of improved procurement processes and reduced supplier costs.

The panel will consist of five large Tier 1 IT service providers, along with a number of Tier 2 specialist service providers to address specific niche skill-set requirements.

Additionally, the panel will be supported by a vendor management system in order to procure and manage contractors, while cutting down on administration. It is also expected to improve compliance and cost-management tasks.

The agency announced earlier this month that it had gone to tender for a software-as-a-service solution that would be used to manage and procure contractors.

"This new model has been developed by cherry picking what we believe are the best aspects of government and private sector IT procurement arrangements," said Gibson. "The first of its kind in the APS, this panel will allow the ATO to create a better process for attracting and engaging suitably skilled and experienced IT contractors quickly and cost effectively.

"It will increase transparency, accountability, and allow room for innovation over the long term," he said.

Earlier this year, the ATO issued a formal public request for information process inviting stakeholder feedback, and has since consulted extensively with industry stakeholders.

The consultation was part of the agency's IT Contractor Procurement Reform Program, established in order to review existing procurement processes and introduce a best-practice model.

"It was clear there was a strong desire for a new model that encapsulated best-practice features of private sector procurement processes, while meeting contemporary government procurement standards," said Gibson.

"We were pleased with the level of stakeholder involvement throughout the process, and the resulting new approach. Ultimately, these new arrangements will deliver significant cost savings and business efficiencies to the ATO," he said.

The outgoing IT Contractor Resources procurement model has been used by the federal government for the past decade. Following evaluation of the Request for Tender (RFT), the new panel is expected to commence mid-2015.

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