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Tuesday, 10 September 1996
Page: 3925

(Question No. 563)

Mr McDougall asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 20 August 1996:

(1) What function does the IT Services Panel undertake within his Department.

(2) Will (a) the Government and (b) small business derive any benefits from the panel's activities.

Mr Jull —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The IT Services Panel was established by the Department of Administrative Services to provide all Commonwealth agencies with a streamlined process for the procurement of information technology services. The IT Services Panel is a pre-qualified group of companies who have agreed to supply IT services under a standard contract known as PE68.

(2) (a) The Government benefits from using the IT Services Panel by decreasing the cost of contracting. This is achieved by eliminating the need to assess each tender for commitment to quality, financial viability and industry development, as all panellists have been pre-qualified for those aspects. Government also reduces its legal and contract administration costs by obviating the need for individual agencies to negotiate their own set of terms and conditions, as DAS has already done so on their behalf.

(b) Small business benefits from using the IT Services Panel by reducing the amount of paperwork to do business with Government. The benefits of pre-qualification that the agencies derive are, in turn, enjoyed by small business, as they are not required to re-establish their credentials for every tender. Paperwork has also been reduced through electronic tenders, and access to relevant information via the Internet.

Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) also benefit because the IT Services Panel removes barriers for these companies to participate in significant government contracts. The IT Services Panel currently comprises 76 panellists of which 46% are SMEs. This Panel will be added to as more companies apply for admission.