Qld govt reveals IT contractor model

Qld govt reveals IT contractor model

Summary: The Queensland Government has released its new model for sourcing contract work from the IT industry.


The Queensland Government has released its new model for sourcing contract work from the IT industry.

Concerned with the amount of money it was spending on contractors, the Queensland Government decided to introduce a new sourcing model, called a master vendor model, which would see the government draw on a database of contractors controlled by a single vendor. The database of contractors would be owned by the government, which would eventually bypass current vendors.

This idea neither met approval of industry groups, nor Queensland-based analyst firm Longhaus which had been commissioned to write a report on the model.

The government then entered discussions with the industry to find an alternative. Public Works and Information and Communication Technology Minister Robert Schwarten announced the new model in Queensland Parliament today.

"The government will not develop its own contractor resource pool but will continue to access the skills required from industry through the resource manager [within the Chief Procurement Office]," Schwarten said.

"The resource manager will be responsible for establishing clear and transparent protocols for managing recruitment agency requests for contractor placements, levels of payment, skills required, contractor management and performance."

Agencies would continue to source contractors from the labour-hire firms they had previously worked with, according to Paul Campbell, executive officer of ICT Industry Workgroup. However, all agencies would be required to work through a specific framework for asking for and engaging a contractor.

The information from this framework would flow through to the resource manager to be analysed in a database. "The process will be tied down, the datasets will be comprehensive, and will be analysed in a timely way," Campbell said. "There's going to be accountability."

Pay rates would be monitored via this method, he said, with questions asked if rates were far from the mean.

Only companies which met a capability threshold could take part in the process. If performance criteria were not met, agencies could not use the under-performing company. The person hired to do the work, the agency and the labour-hire firm would all be able to comment on performance, Campbell said.

Until they were proven otherwise, all companies currently supplying contractors to the government were eligible to do so, he said.

The government hoped to have the new model finalised by the end of the year, according to Campbell.

Topics: Government, Government AU

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Bureaucracy at its finest...

    So, when you need a contractor.

    1. Get Form A for apply for approval to fill in form B.
    2. Then someone with a non IT background will ask you to fill in form C showing why you need to fill in form B.
    3. After filling in form B you will get it back because you didn't fill in the new version B2. This will take at least a week.
    4. After you finally get approval and advertise you will be offered a small number of people to interview.
    5. Then you have to fill in forms E for every person interviewed and finally form F showing why you chose the person you chose. This is all sent away and you wait.

    THEN, and this is the important part, you have to fill in form Z and argue that the cheapest person is not the best person to do the task you require done.

    Then after you are forced to take the cheapest person you have to explain to management why after six weeks of forms and waiting you have someone who has to be shown how to do the tasks you are paying premium rates for them to do.

    You think I'm joking don't you?
  • Bureaucracy at its finest...

    To darn right!!

    Been there and done that ,.......
    Why do you think that as a contractor I REFUSE to make myself available for any Queensland Govt Work. I'm always a little to dear, but can do jobs in half the time and half the cost, plus there is my reputation on the line. What do they care........ What does the labour hire firm care ?? Nothing ... they still get paid for being mediocre!

    This not only happens in Queensland but WA as well......... So don't feel left out
  • IT Contract debacle

    Once again we are faced with government intervention in name of "saving costs" like the QLD shared services model which cost more than 300 million to implement and was supposed to save 100million per anum, & fell flat on its face.. We have Procurement who treat services like commodity purchasing (pencils and paper), and have no clue as to how to deal with complex isues managing the model. This process is going to keep an army of bureaucrats in motion with no measurable progress. Each of Campbell's statements reflect magnificent naivete - the process will be mismanged and open to jobs for mates. and as for accountability???! Since when has the Bligh Govt taken accountability for anything? Water? Hospitals?Police?Gold Coast Indy?
  • Good workers won't wait

    This is yet another example of why I won't contract to Qld Gov't. I've been hired on contract by Qld State Gov't Departments and also tried to hire contract staff as a Manager in Qld Departments and the major hurdle was always approval times. Quite simply good workers don't wait 4 to 8 weeks for agencies and departments to get back to them - they go out and get another contract!
    This new bureacracy that Schwarten is proposing isn't going to work - every Dept manager with a brain will simply go around the process and hire through purchase orders.
  • They are trying....

    I have been involved with QGCPO in the scoping and design phase of this project. The problem is that the large national/international recruitment agencies make so much money out of the govt because of the poor visibility from dept to dept. They simply move contractor from dept to dept, billing a fat 30% margin all the time. It was the large recruitment agencies through their industry body ITCRA that paid for and commissioned the report that (what a suprise) slammed the introduction of a new model. The purpose of the changes were to allow a MSP to work with the govt to build and maintain a talent pool of contractors that were not though agencies, therefore representing a significant saving. The balance of contract needs would be distributed by the MSP to QLD based recruitment companies. What we are left with is a situation where out of country or state recruitment companies have bullied the govt and industry to keen their big fees. Its a disgrace. BTW - the messy and time consuming approval process is easily solved through the implementation of a Vendor Management tool, a tool that would have been deployed by the MSP but now will have to be acquired outside of this framework.
  • Mediocrity promoted

    This is just plain dumb. Nobody of any worth will go this this process. All it will do will drive down prices and every one will lose. It is about time Governments started to focus on value and not just cost. Anyone of quality will go elsewhere. I for one will not deal with governments. They are too costly in the cost of the sale, generally don't know how to manage the project, don't know what they want and at the end of the assignment, the contractor doen't get fair value for experience and expertise.
  • mercenary contractor

    interesting article - unfortunately for the queensland government I am a mercenary contractor. I will blacklist them and continue on my journey of obtaining large amounts of cash for my knowledge and experience :)
  • Trying what?

    Ben. Your problem is what? That agencies are making fat 30% margins. That contractors get paid sooo much. Not all agencies make margins like that. And why shouldn't people in the private sector be allowed to make money, contractors and agents alike. I have been a contractor and am now an agent and this situtation annoys me. There are a lot of problems in the contract and procurement market. Things like poor management of contractor staff ensuring they are retained way beyond their need because it becomes easier to roll over, poor selection processes due to poor selection criteria, briefs, and selection processes based on cost not value, and jealousy of how much contractors get paid without realising what a permanent staff member costs (about 1.75/1.95 of annual salary I think). And doing the recruitment inhouse, the reason agencies started in the first place is because organisations decided that is a function they could do without. So now because someone can make good money from it they decide that's not good enough. And contractors? Why do techcnical experts contract? Because they can't get paid as much for their expertise and years of experience in a permanent role that is matched to a pay grade and compares them with less capable people (ouch that hurts!). Maybe they should look at remuneraton based on experience and worth to an organisation not just rank on the ladder, that might reduce the churn and ensure good people are retained. As you can see there are a lot of issues and the emotion is far from being taken out of it.
  • career public servant

    And the QG care factor is a big fat zero, get over yourselves
  • We do care!

    Career Public servant.......I am also now a public servant who works in recruitment (from private sector) and I am ashamed of your attitude...."get over yourselves"?? we are trying to attract these contractors, maybe you need to get over yourself as you are making the jobs of your colleagues harder!! Contractors I understand your frustrations, the red tape involved is a deterrant, but there are still great benefits (if you can bare with us a little). Hopefully things can change asap as we face a renewed skills shortage.... government needs to be more responsive....and I think that is the intention of this change, whether it works or not....
  • Excellent response

    As a senior Public servant I would like to endorse the previous writer's comments. We should never forget who pays our salaries, and as a Public SERVANT - that we are members of a proud profession whose main constituency is the PUBLIC not some ego driven political spin master disguised as a Minister.
  • One Problem STILL not addressed...

    Queensland Purchasing saw this as a procurement problem but really this is a HR problem - and I am not sure who in the Queensland Government does strategic HR anymore? Not meant to be facetious - I just don't know. Why is it a HR problem? Let me explain.

    In QLD under a model first introduced by the Goss Government in the early 90's ICT staff are remunerated according to a salary scale set up for non-professional, non-qualified clerical staff.

    (Before anyone starts I know there is a PO scale but it just maps the AO scale. And by non-professional I mean they don't have a degree.)

    Paying skilled professionals on a scale set up for non-professional clerical staff is a bit silly to say the least. The top of this AO scale is about $85K - I think give or take a few bucks.

    Can you imagine trying to employ a guru project manager for $85K - hahahahahahahaha.

    Over the years the QLD government thought that this scale drove salaries of professional people down - and they are right. It did!!!! But it drove costs up because a lot of people (who were happy to work in the public service) left and became contractors. Why? Because they were being sooooo underpaid. Today QLD has 9% more contractors pro rata than any other jurisdiction and that's a budget issue.

    Now imagine if the QLD government paid technical staff at rates like the federal government? Would that reduce contractor numbers and SAVE money. I think it might.

    In fact I estimate paying public service experts more and retaining them would save hundreds of millions of dollars.

    But Queensland Purchasing could never solve this problem. Why, because it's not about procurement. It's a HR problem.