No "bleeding-edge tech" for access card

We don't want bleeding-edge tech, says Access Card officials

Government officials have told potential suppliers for the AU$1.1 billion health and social services access card to forget providing "bleeding-edge technology" ahead of the first request for tender early next month.

Around 300 vendor representatives attended an industry briefing by the Office of Access Card in Sydney today.

The access card will replace 17 health and social service cards, including the Medicare card, and will contain personal data such as name, address, and concession status on a chip.

Government officials revealed the first in a series of requests for tender for the card would be for a systems integrator, to be issued on 5 January. Tenders will close on 1 March.

Office of Access Card deputy secretary Kerri Hartland and chief technology architect Marie Johnson told assembled vendors not to build solutions from scratch.

"We're not interested in elaborate, customised solutions that put at risk the program budget," Hartland said.

"We're not interested in bleeding-edge technology."

The government wants off-the-shelf technology as it aims to have vendors contracted by early next year. Contractors would have one year to design and develop their system, according to Hartland.

Johnson said the government was looking for vendors with strong experience in systems integration and card issuance and management.

The systems integrator for the card would implement hardware and software for the customer (citizen) and operations systems. The integrator will also develop, distribute and install the distributed registration system used to register applicants, the integration layer to share data with other agencies, and the software application to be used by network service providers.

The systems integrator contract would be for a fixed price, with payments linked to the completion of project phases.

Johnson would not reveal the value of any of the requests for tender, other than to say they would be of varying amounts.

A second request for tender, for card issuance and management, will be issued in mid to late January.

This would call for a vendor to produce card supply, card issuance and the card management system.

Johnson said candidates for this tender would be required to source at least 40 percent of the cards from at least two sub-contractors across the card lifecycle.

This was to spread the risk of a bottleneck in supply, she said.

The contract period would be for three years, with the option of two one-year renewals.

Subsequent tenders for network service providers -- which will supply terminals and networks, and IT infrastructure services, would follow from January.