Telco procuring scheme saves NSW government AU$3.3m

Since its introduction in May 2013, the telecommunication procurement scheme has already generated AU$3.3 million in savings, and has simplified agency access to telco equipment and infrastructure.

A telecommunication procuring scheme introduced by the Telco Authority has saved the NSW government more than AU$3 million, according to NSW Finance and Services Minister Dominic Perrottet.

The procurement system for telecommunications equipment and infrastructure was introduced in May 2013 to help service more than 70 government agencies, including the state's emergency services, which own and operate radio to support their operations.

Perrottet said the ITS 2573 Scheme has improved purchasing arrangements of telecommunications support including handsets, network assets, design services, and radio networks, such as Government Radio Network.

More than 120 vendors operate in the scheme, according to Perrottet.

Under the arrangements, vendors can be added to the scheme periodically, and are "prequalified" to do work over AU$150,000 or "registered" for work under AU$150,000. Vendors report into the scheme quarterly, and are rated by users for quality and value.

Perrottet said that in the 10 months since the scheme was rolled out, it has already generated AU$3.3 million in savings, and has simplified access for NSW government buyers and industry suppliers.

"This saves time and money, while driving a more competitive marketplace that is fairer for both large and small suppliers," he said.

Despite the savings, an audit report by the NSW Auditor-General, released in June, suggested that several government agencies are still paying too much for telco services , as they are failing to negotiate the best price for their contracts. The report found that in financial year 2012-13, agencies including Fire and Rescue NSW, the Department of Education and Communities, and Sydney Trains spent over AU$115 million on telecommunication services — almost a third of the NSW government expenditure on telecommunication.

The ITS 2573 Scheme forms part of a whole-of-government strategy that the NSW government has been working towards in an aim to streamline the procurement process for agencies and vendors.

The NSW government has also recently identified seven new strategies that it plans to action for the 2014-15 business year to reduce procurement red tape for small to medium-sized enterprises .