Digital Sourcing Panels Policy

The Digital Sourcing Panels Policy encourages competition and makes using panels easier and clearer. It helps government buyers use digital panels and enables new sellers to join panels more often. This policy is guided by principles that support a flexible government and an environment that fosters digital.

Application

The Digital Sourcing Panels Policy (the policy) is effective 1 July 2019 and supports the Digital Sourcing Framework

The policy applies to Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities, as defined by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. Corporate Commonwealth Entities may choose to apply the policy.

The policy is designed for new or updated digital (including ICT) multi-supplier panel arrangements (panels). Multi-supplier panels have 2 or more sellers. Updated is defined as any of the following: opening a panel to new sellers; any change to categories, terms, head agreements, exercising extension options, or making substantial changes to a panel.

Aim

The Australian Government agreed to the ICT Procurement Taskforce recommendation for the ‘immediate simplification of a range of ICT procurement practices for agencies, including reforms to ICT procurement panel arrangements.’

The policy delivers on this recommendation for panels and aims to:

  • modernise panels
  • make panels easy to use for buyers and sellers
  • improve access to emerging products and services
  • reduce costs and duplication

The policy does this by creating a panel certification scheme supported by 8 principles (we will publish the list of categorised panels on our website prior to this policy taking effect on 1 July 2019).

The certification scheme helps agencies be recognised as digital sourcing leaders who provide panels that meet the modern expectations of buyers. These panels will attract more buyers and provide them with opportunities for buying the latest technology.

Having certified panels will help agencies attract interest from sellers who are seeking a better experience when selling to government.

Principles of the policy

The principles form the basis for certification assessments. Your panel must meet the 8 principles below:

  1. avoid duplicating existing panels or categories within panels
  2. be for commonly used, clearly defined products and services
  3. be open to all agencies with multi-agency access clauses
  4. be easy to find by being registered on our website
  5. aim to have consistent and user-centred design for requests for quotes, templates, terms and conditions and reporting
  6. be regularly monitored and assessed, to ensure it is operating as intended
  7. be open at least annually for sellers to apply to join
  8. allow for regular updates of pricing and categories

Further information on the principles will be available in guidance prior to this policy taking effect on 1 July 2019.

Certification of panels

The policy creates a panel certification scheme. This certification scheme is designed to make it easy to find modern panels that meet the 8 principles. In the below scenarios, agencies apply for certification by submitting their assessment form to us:

  • Creating a panel: upon making a decision to create a panel, they apply for certification. This should be done prior to undergoing an open tender process.
  • Updating a panel: upon making a decision to update an existing panel, they apply for certification.

If agencies wish to certify an existing panel without updating it, they may apply for certification at any time.

The assessment form will be available on our website prior to this policy taking effect on 1 July 2019. We will review applications against the 8 principles of the policy. Panels will be assessed as belonging to 1 of 3 categories: Digital Certified, Digital Mandatory Whole-of-Government or Non-Certified.

  • Digital Certified panels are assessed as meeting the principles of the policy
  • Digital Mandatory Whole-of-government panels are assessed as those defined under section 4.9-4.10 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules
  • Non-Certified panels are all panels that do not fit into the former categories as they do not yet meet the requirements of digital certification

Appeals

You may choose to appeal a panel certification assessment. If you wish to make an appeal, you will need to follow the steps below:

  1. You may seek to have your assessment amended by submitting evidence that was not included at the time of your initial assessment
  2. If the initial assessment is upheld, you may lodge an appeal with us. We will notify you of the outcome of this appeal
  3. You may have your minister seek a review of the appeal outcome from the Minister with responsibility for Digital Transformation

Guidance, tools and templates

You will be able to access guidance and tools to help you apply the policy on our website prior to this policy taking effect on 1 July 2019.

Get in touch

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