Australian federal government senators Eric Abetz and Helen Coonan have announced moves to simplify contracting in the government information and communications technology arena.
The ministers released the outcome of the review of the Government Information Technology and Communications (GITC) Framework and a draft guide on capping liability for ICT contracts which deliver on key Howard government ICT election policies.
“The draft guide provides practical assistance to procurement officers on how to identify and manage risk in government ICT contracts, including sample clauses for ICT contracts,” Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Coonan said. “Ultimately when the guide is finalized it will result in the capping of liability in [most] government contracts.”
In announcing the outcomes of the review of the GITC, Special Minister of State, Senator Abetz said more standardization across government contracts would be a benefit for all involved.
“It makes no sense for government agencies to have completely different forms of contracts,” Abetz said. “Prices and supply will be different in each case, but there is no justification for other conditions in contracts varying as much as they do.”
Established in 1991, the GITC is a set of terms and conditions that Australian government agencies use to create contracts for ICT procurement.
“In particular, the review highlighted the scope for a series of model contracts to be developed that are tailored to the different elements of ICT procurement, such as hardware, software development and licensing (including open source software) or managed services,” Abetz said. “These contracts will improve the way Australian government agencies deal with changing technology and promote the take-up of innovative solutions.”
The GITC review process included extensive consultation with industry and government agencies. There will be further consultation during the development of the model contracts, which are expected to be available for use by the end of May 2006.
The contracts will be available online and the government’s ICT procurement Web site, www.gitc.finance.gov.au, will be redeveloped. An explanation of the outcomes of the GITC review is available at www.agimo.gov.au.
Senator Coonan called for industry, government agencies and other stakeholders to have their say on the draft Guide to Limiting Supplier Liability Policy in ICT Contracts for Australian Government Agencies, before the guide is finalized.
“The guide is accompanied by a short, practical checklist, including case studies, for procurement officers to cap liability in government contracts,” Coonan said. “Following industry consultation, the finalized guide and policy will make it clear to both procurement officers and the industry that Australian Government agencies should cap liability in the majority of contracts for ICT goods and services.”