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Australia releases Digital Sourcing Framework and Digital Sourcing Contract Template

Last week, Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) announced
its next steps for the country’s new procurement framework.

The Digital Sourcing Framework was released after a period
of public consultation, to guide policy and decision making. Previously called
the ICT
Procurement Framework
, the new name reflects the fact that the term “digital”
is broad and includes information and communications technology (ICT).

According to the press release, the Digital Sourcing Framework is at the centre of a series of reforms to make ICT procurement a
simpler and faster process for everyone involved. It is a set of principles,
policies and guidance that on how to buy digital products and services.
The first phase of the Digital Sourcing Framework went live in June 2018.

The core
principles
of the framework are: (1) encourage competition, (2)
be innovative and iterate often, (3) be structured in a way that enables
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete fairly to provide components of
large ICT projects, (4) be outcomes focused, (5) use open standards
and cloud first, (6) minimise cybersecurity risks, and (7) avoid
duplication by not building platforms that other agencies have
already built.

The draft framework was developed by an exemplar team made
up of representatives from seven different government departments. During their
research they spoke with companies who sell to government as well as those in
government who manage procurement to understand the barriers and difficulties
with current policies and processes. The process emphasised the co-design
approach which aims to make sure the framework reflects the needs of both
buyers and sellers.

During the public consultation, DTA received hundreds of
comments from more than 12 government departments and 20 private sector
businesses. The feedback showed that there is broad support across government
and industry for the principles of the framework.

On better managing sellers, government buyers gave feedback on
making improvements to notification timeframes, improving processes to advise
unsuccessful vendors, developing milestone payments for vendors working on long
contracts and improving clarity on the number of contracts going to SMEs.

At the same time, the Digital Sourcing Framework includes 4
policies to help buyers and sellers of government digital products
and services. DTA received feedback on the policies under the framework,
such as on the Capped
Term and Value Policy
 which will be reviewed in the future, the draft
principles for the Digital Sourcing Panels Policy
which is now
available for public consultation,
the draft Fair Criteria Policy which will soon be available for public
consultation, and a future draft Consider First policy.

As part of our ICT procurement reforms, the DTA is also
simplifying contract templates to make it easier for government to source
digital products and services. On 13 June, the agency announced the release of
the Digital
Sourcing Contract Template
.

According to the press release, this is the first in a suite
of model contracts to make it easier for government departments to buy digital
products and services. The new contract replaces SourceIT Plus and is simpler
and more flexible than the previous template.

By using the new template, those who are buying
ICT and digital products for government don’t have to reinvent the wheel each
time. Contracts with government for simple and semi-complex procurements will
be more consistent for sellers.