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Brandon How

DTA wants more labour suppliers for Digital Marketplace

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is looking for more ICT labour hire businesses to join its Digital Marketplace (DM) panel.

The digital marketplace connects pre-approved businesses supplying digital and tech services with all levels of Australian government. The DTA’s marketplace effectively operates as a standard procurement panel. The panel is expected to operate until February 2023, avoiding the need for a tender process for every project.

The DTA’s standing request for proposals on AusTender was updated on February 17 to include ICT Labour Hire businesses. This is an extension from the 17 other areas of expertise, from data science to content and publishing, that were already listed on the marketplace. A full list of the areas of expertise being called for can be found here.

Government departments and agencies can list opportunities on the marketplace that are either open to all or only invited panel members. Invites to opportunities can also be made to just a single firm. Of the 338 registered buyers, 51 per cent are Commonwealth entities.

Almost $7.1 billion worth of contracts have been awarded since the system was launched in August 2016. Currently, there are 4128 registered sellers.

To join the marketplace as a seller, firms must submit their business information in addition to case studies, pricing, and references for their nominated area or areas of expertise. Businesses become approved sellers on the DM panel after completing two stages. Firstly, a representative must accept the Master Agreement, which details the terms of contracts secured on the marketplace. Secondly, the DTA must conduct a value for money assessment in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

An audit of the DM carried out by the Australian National Audit Office in August 2020 found that Commonwealth Procurement Rules were breached when it was being established. Although these issues had since been corrected, the report found that the process of joining the DM panel was “still not robust.”

The digital marketplace is one of seven online marketplaces established by the DTA and accessible through the BuyICT procurement platform.

The DM had a rocky start after an survey found that as of November 2017, 72 percent of registered small business sellers had not won any contracts through the marketplace. The survey was sent to more than 400 of the 700 registered sellers at the time after removing recruiters and multinational corporations.

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