$30 billion reform kicks off with huge PC tender

The Department of Internal Affairs has released its much anticipated all-of-government PC tender, which could lock in -- and lock out -- PC makers from supplying government agencies.

DIA's IT Centre of Expertise is inviting proposals for the supply of notebook and desktop computers for the whole New Zealand government, replacing existing arrangements where individual agencies conduct their own tenders.

The move is the first part of Commerce Minister Simon Power's drive to reform government procurement, worth $30 billion a year, announced last June.

"A reform of government procurement activity is of high importance to the National Government, especially given the current financial climate," Power said announcing the changes.

The objective of the tender, DIA says, is to contract a prime supplier or suppliers to provide a "standardised range of desktop and notebook computers and associated services". Prospective suppliers can respond individually or as part of a consortium.

"Respondents will have the opportunity to bid for one or more of three product 'lots' (desktops; laptops/notebooks; and tablet notebooks) and associated services," the tender says. "Each product lot comprises a range of devices to standard specifications with upgrade/downgrade and peripheral options.

"State services agencies are required to transition to these contracts from existing arrangements as soon as practicable from 1 July 2010. Agencies in the wider State sector and School Boards of Trustees are encouraged to use these contracts, but their participation is, ultimately, optional."

A briefing session will be held in Wellington between 2-4 pm on 12 March and responses are required by noon, 31 March.

The Centre of Expertise was established as part of the Government Procurement Reform programme announced in June 2009 and led by the Ministry of Economic Development. The programme "aims to improve State sector productivity and efficiency, increase opportunities for New Zealand business to participate in government contracts and release fiscal savings for use in priority areas", the tender says.

The Government Procurement Reform Agenda is based around four key themes, Power says: cost savings, building procurement capability and capacity; enhanced business participation; and improved governance, oversight and accountability.

"Decisions on procurement can determine how government delivers its functions and services. The government's procurement reform agenda will drive cost savings, releasing fiscal savings to be used in other priority areas," he said.

"Substantial cost savings will be delivered with the establishment of Centres of Expertise within lead agencies to negotiate all-of-government contracts in common-spend areas."

However, the scale of the shakeup has many in the ICT industry watching the development of the programme closely.