The South Australian government is moving to
streamline its procurement processes for information and
communications technology (ICT) to reduce the high opportunity
cost of bidding for government contracts, especially for small to
medium enterprises (SME)s.
The move includes changes to intellectual
property rulings, liability capping and insurance
Grantly Mailes, South Australia's chief
information officer (CIO), said that a new eProjects Panel, due
to begin in the second quarter, would also cut the time taken for
smaller companies to apply for projects valued up to
Responding to tenders can take a week or
more out of the business for a small business managing director,
who is usually also the business owner.
Mailes said that the idea of the
e-marketplace is that all government agencies and enterprises
would be able to request a quote from companies registered on the
"The agencies can go to the panel, and,
based on dollar value, require two or three written quotes to get
the jobs done," he said.
"We will already have on record each
vendor's skills and capabilities, key personnel and financial and
insurance status to assist agencies in vendor
Agencies will be able to release their
work specifications to selected vendors, who will only be
required to submit suggested staff for the work, methodology and
The Web marketplace will provide
templates for agencies putting the work out as well as templates
for vendor responses.
"We are also seeking concessions on limit
of liability and insurance levels and we are looking to make sure
that the panel contracts are appropriate to the scale and nature
of the work categories," he said.
Currently there is a requirement of
unlimited liability even for the provision of relatively low-cost
services to government.
"What we are trying to do is align the
limit of liability so that it's more sensitive to the risk
profile of the work being done," he said.
David Raffen, chair of the ICT Council
for South Australia, said he would support anything the
government could do to reduce the cost of dealing with red tape
and give more firms access to government ICT spend.
"All end of guarantees are required for
companies to engage with government, and they are well and truly
beyond the means of small business," Raffen said.
"Unlimited liability insurance is a large
cost that doesn't bring any other benefit to the organisation.
The current process marginalises smaller companies from being
able to demonstrate their product to agencies."
The state government is also considering
a relaxation of some ICT intellectual property arrangements.
Currently, the government owns all the IP rights in work carried
out by ICT contractors.
"We might consider some form of joint
ownership of the technology, so that if it can be commercialised,
government could have a view on how that might be done," Mailes