Digital Sourcing Consider First Policy

The Digital Sourcing Consider First Policy is effective 1 July 2019. The policy applies to Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities, as defined by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

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Application

The Digital Sourcing Consider First Policy is effective 1 July 2019. The policy applies to Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities, as defined by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. Corporate Commonwealth Entities may apply the policy.

This policy must be applied to any investment in digital products and/or services with an expected or realised whole-of-life cost of $80,000 or greater (GST inclusive).

The procurement threshold is $80,000 (GST Inclusive) at Paragraph 9.7a of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. If the threshold is changed, this policy will automatically apply the new threshold.

Agencies are still encouraged to apply the policy for each investment below $80,000 (GST inclusive).

The policy must be used during the identification of business needs and before making any investment decisions (prior to sourcing, building or re-using a digital product and/or service). The policy does not replace other evaluation requirements.

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Aim

The Australian Government agreed to the ICT Procurement Taskforce recommendation for ‘adopting a framework for ICT procurement that includes ICT procurement policy principles to guide decision-making’. The Digital Sourcing Consider First Policy is the first policy under the framework.

This policy aims to guide agencies through early consideration of important factors that help investments meet their intended outcomes.

An assessment tool is provided to assist in this process. The tool helps agencies to focus on the most important principles, early in a digital investment.

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Consider First Assessment Tool

Agencies must complete a self-assessment using the Consider First Assessment Tool for each applicable investment. Using the tool is an easy way for agencies to make better investment decisions, supported by policy principles.

The tool must be used during identification of business needs and before making any investment decisions (prior to sourcing, building or re-using a digital product and/or service).

To complete a self-assessment, visit the ICT Procurement Portal. Once you register or sign in, you will then be automatically directed to the tool. Your self-assessment can be saved in the Portal and be submitted at any time.

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Consider First Principles

Agencies must consider the principles when completing a self-assessment.

Principle 1: Be user-centred and prioritise usability

Understand intended user outcomes and prioritise user needs. 

Principle 2: Allow room for innovation

Frame business needs in a descriptive rather than prescriptive way. Ensure that the descriptive set of requirements promote discovery and innovative solutions.

Principle 3: Engage early and consult widely

Drive early engagement and consultation to help challenge traditional practices and explore new possibilities. Seek advice from technology, industry and procurement experts at the earliest possible stage to reduce wastage of time, resources and effort later on.

Reach out to other agencies or areas within your agency to establish if an existing solution or platform is suitable to reuse. Also consider how your investment fits into the existing agency and technology environment.

Principle 4: Consider the whole-of-life cost

Avoid equating value for money with initial cost. A low initial cost does not mean a low whole-of-life cost. At a minimum, investments should consider each element of whole-of-life cost in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Principle 5: Align with whole-of-government requirements

Align with relevant whole-of-government requirements early to ensure that digital investments deliver their outcomes with lower cost and reduced effort.

The key requirements are:

5.1 Accessibility

Design digital investments for all users, including people with disabilities, older people, and those who struggle with technology.

The Commonwealth Procurement Rules contain mandatory requirements for applying Australian Standards, this is relevant to most investments subject to this policy. If the Australian Standard for Accessibility (AS EN 301 549:2016) is applicable to your goods or services being procured:

  • tender responses must demonstrate the capability to meet that standard,
  • contracts must contain evidence of that standard, and
  • include periodic auditing of compliance.

Please refer to paragraphs 7.26 and 10.11 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules for more information.

5.2 Privacy and security

Ensure you align to relevant privacy and security conditions. Consider documents such as the Australian Privacy Principles, the Protective Security Policy Framework and the Australian Government Information Security Manual.

5.3 Cloud first

Consider cloud solutions and follow the Secure Cloud Strategy. The strategy explores how cloud reduces costs, lifts productivity and delivers better services.

5.4 Use open standards and common platforms, make source code open, and allow government reuse

Follow the Digital Service Standard, particularly, use open standards and common platforms (Standard 7) and make source code open (Standard 8).

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Guidance

Our guidance provides helpful advice on completing a self-assessment using the Consider First Assessment Tool.

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Digital Sourcing Journey

When a proposed investment becomes a procurement activity then the next two policies under the Framework will need to be considered: the Digital Sourcing Fair Criteria Policy and ICT Contract Capped Term and Value Policy.

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Get in touch

You can send your feedback, comments or questions to sourcing@dta.gov.au