The Queensland Government will attempt to reduce the barriers of entry for small-to-medium enterprises in government contracts with a new set of guidelines aimed at improving opportunities for state business wins.
SMEs currently struggle to compete against larger competitors with Queensland state contracts. As part of its ICT Action Plan released today, the government announced it would implement measures to ensure at least one capable SME responding to a tender will automatically be short-listed in the evaluation phase.
Major consortiums which sub-contract part of a government contract out to an SME will also no longer be able to change sub-contracting arrangements without the government’s approval.
“If a customer comes to us and says, 'This is what we’re proposing for the government, and we’ll engage QLD IT Solutions down the road,’ to sweeten their proposal, they won’t be able to dump them later without our approval,” IT minister Ian Walker told CRN.
“We want to make sure SMEs have an appropriate role in everything we’re doing.”
The government will also look to split up significant contracts to allow SMEs to bid for a particular stage of the project, where appropriate, and will simplify the Government Information Technology Conditions (GITC) for SME contracts.
The government will also directly engage SMEs, avoiding tenders, in the provision of innovative solutions up to $500,000.
‘Innovation’ will be determined by how well the solution addresses government problems via new ways of doing business, whether a broader range of viewpoints have been drawn on, and whether the solution “puts great new ideas into action and creates value”.
An SME ICT policy will be developed by next July to cement such initiatives.
The measures form part of the state’s new ICT Action Plan. The plan details almost 80 measures across 12 key areas of focus to fix the state’s dire IT systems and get up to speed with the digital economy.