Leveling the playing field

The DTA recently brought together a team of experts from across the public service to research how we can increase fairness by improving digital sourcing.

We talked to both government buyers and industry sellers and we have turned what we learned into a series of draft recommendations. Now we’d like to hear what you think.

Why increasing fairness is important

Increased fairness means better access to opportunities for more companies, regardless of their size or previous experience with government. Increased fairness also results in more effective competition and better value for money in digital sourcing for government.

During the research, we heard 4 key areas of concern:

  • Ease of access — some sellers believed that those who already hold contracts with government may benefit from insights others suppliers would not.
  • Prescriptive requirements — government requirements are often overly prescriptive which could stifle the breadth of ideas and solutions being presented.
  • Better feedback — government agencies did not always provide sufficient feedback for businesses to help improve their offering the next time they pitch to government.
  • Streamlined procurement — sellers indicated the cost of doing business with government, lengthy procurement processes, complex contracts and panel arrangements being not clearly understood as burdens. This was the case particularly for smaller sellers.

What is the DTA doing to address these concerns?

We have taken on board the outcomes of this research and believe there are ways the government can improve its processes. The DTA want to help make these changes so that sellers of all sizes can compete for contracts on a more level playing field.

By increasing fairness, government can play a key role in growing Australian digital businesses. At the same time it can help deliver high-quality outcomes that are good value for money.

We have drafted 5 recommendations for government agencies to consider adopting:

  1. Explore ways to improve the imbalance between sellers who already have access and new players in being able to showcase what they have to offer.
  2. Provide guidance on better government requirements and documentation methods. This includes identifying more ways for the government to develop outcomes-focused requirements.
  3. Refresh and improve training for sourcing staff. This would include a clear focus on how to provide better feedback to sellers during evaluation and assessment processes, including escalation processes.
  4. Make panel on-boarding and management processes and tools easier. This would reduce barriers that make it hard for sellers to participate.
  5. Improve transparency in opportunities available across government and make it easier for sellers to navigate them.

Give us your feedback

We’d like to know about your experiences buying or selling products and services to government and how the proposed recommendations might impact or support your work. We’d especially like to hear from you if you are a small business or new to the government market.

Read more about our research and the recommendations and send us your feedback by 4 September 2018.

Your answers will build on our existing research and help shape the final digital sourcing fair criteria guidance.

For media enquiries, email us at media@digital.gov.au