AIIA slams AGIMO plans to reduce WISP services

WISP reinvents the wheel, according to government report

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has slammed the Australian Government Information Management Office’s (AGIMO) discussion paper, which aims to reduce the number of whole-of-government ICT services.

According to the AIIA’s report in response to the discussion paper, the government’s approach makes no commercial sense.

“We note that there is no case made out in the discussion paper as to why the federal environment needs to differ markedly from state jurisdictions that have already met with industry approval,” the report reads.

“It ‘re-invents the wheel’ for no proven business or commercial outcome.”

While the organisation is “highly supportive” of the government’s plan to reduce the number of ICT services panels from 80 to four, the AIIA says there are a number of areas that still need to be reviewed.

“AIIA believes that the overall direction presented in the discussion paper is essentially a good move for both government and industry, and has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for both parties over current arrangements,” the report reads.

“However, the general consensus of responses from over 400 AIIA members … is that there are still continued major potential areas for review and improvement.”

The eight-page response went on to say that the organisation has grave concerns about the impact the proposal will have on the industry and compromises government principals.

“This proposal in itself partially departs from and compromises the government and industry principles of engagement on ICT,” the AIIA report reads.

“…These are principles that both government and (some) industry have signed up to; it is disappointing to see them potentially compromised by these proposals.”

The AGIMO discussion paper states that one of its aims is to target small to medium value contracts and apply a price ceiling.

“The WISP (whole-of-government ICT services panel) is intended to target the large volume of small to medium value contracts in this procurement category,” the paper read. “There would be a price ceiling applied to the ICT Services panel procurements.”

The AIIA says that while the proposal is aimed at reducing business costs, there is a likelihood that agencies will actually need to pay more.

“Its proposals do not necessarily reduce the cost and effort to industry in responding to requests for business,” the report reads.

“Unless such costs are reduced, competition will be reduced and agencies will pay more to cover built-in costs industry has to bear because of the sub-optimal environment.”

The AIIA's report comes as the industry body last year warned Australian businesses to start preparing for the onset of the National Broadband Network or risk being left behind.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags AIIAAustralian Information Industry Association (AIIA)Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO)whole-of-government ICT services panelWISP

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