The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), has declared the launch of its first government 2.0 initiative around procurement a success, arguing that it has effectively crowd-sourced ways to improve its procurement processes.
Speaking to Computerworld Australia AGIMO agency services division manager, John Sheridan, said the decision to post a draft request for tender (RFT) for the Finance Department’s Telecommunications Operational Management Services (TOMS) panel had succeeded in stimulating industry debate and discussion.
“What we wanted to do was get discussion, or crowd-sourcing points around the things that were in the draft RFT and how we could improve it,” Sheridan said.
“We also got comments about general procurement processes and how we could address them.”
Despite a lack of return comment from AGIMO itself to around 15 industry posts on its TOMS panel tender post, the exercise was still in keeping with Gov 2.0 principles of openness and collaboration, Sheridan said.
“There are things that are commentable – things we can comment on — and others that stand by themselves,” Sheridan said.
“The nature of the comments that went up this time didn’t lend themselves necessarily to detailed discussion… the point was to get a better view of what people think about it so we can get more useful comment on it.”
“As [AGIMO acting branch head Mundi Tomlinson] says in her post about it, this is the first time we have done it, and could be the first time the government has put a draft RFT on a blog site and we are trying to learn form it, and learn the best way to do it.”
Sheridan said AGIMO was happy with the blog as a first attempt at crowd-sourcing ideas on the government’s procurement process and had learnt to make the each tender’s statement of requirements, rather than the mechanics of how the Austender website worked, for example, the focus of future procurement blog postings.
“There is an element of exploring how we do this and see how it goes, but what we have learnt is that if we focus on the Statement of Requirements we think we will get more comments directly around the matters we are most interested in,” he said.
In her post, AGIMO’s Tomlinson said the Gov 2.0 exercise had provided fresh ideas and suggested areas that AGIMO needed to review to ensure its tender documents were easy to understand.
Hinting at the reason behind the lack of AGIMO responses on the blog, and not boding well for future blogs, Tomlinson posted a note from the agency’s lawyers.
“Comments or information provided to AGIMO may or may not be responded to, or even considered, subject to the probity rules that apply to Government procurements,” the note reads.