Following controversy around vendors being excluded from a newly refreshed eServices panel, the Victorian Government yesterday announced that it had appointed another 180 vendors to the panel.
Companies on the panel can bid for IT services contracts with Victorian government agencies. The panel had been set up in 2003, but had been drastically slimmed when the government conducted a refresh earlier this year. The almost 300-strong panel was slashed to 188 companies, despite hundreds of firms registering their interest.
The industry was incensed at how few companies had been appointed to the panel, with the Australian Information Industry Association criticising the lack of communication between the government and industry. The association held meetings with Victorian ICT Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips, with the hopes of achieving a debriefing as to why companies had been left off.
However, the government went further than that, finally deciding to re-evaluate the panel to see if more vendors should be added. Today Rich-Phillips said that the panel now has an additional 180 suppliers across 18 service categories, which boosts the number of the vendors on the panel to 368.
"It is the largest panel since its inception," he said. "We understand the importance of improving this access as government can be an important market for our local ICT industry."
The companies' appointment runs until 30 June 2014, with the possibility of two one-year extensions.
An industry-government working party will now advise the government on potential improvements for future eServices panels.