Taylor unwinds tech tender traps, flags digital government by consent

Everyday digital interactions between government agencies and citizens will be device agnostic, highly personalised and based on an “entirely consent driven process” Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, has said, as the Turnbull government sets about recalibrating its digital identity and wider technology procurement plans.

In a speech to industry in Canberra on Thursday, Taylor set out expectations for agencies and their incumbent and prospective suppliers following the creation of the Digital Transformation Agency, which will now largely lead technology procurement and delivery strategy ahead of a what is anticipated to be the biggest shake-up of Canberra’s $5.6 billion annual spend on equipment, software and services.

While a 10% target of the $5.6 billion spend has remained as a headline target for “innovation” spend, the biggest shift for agencies will come in the form of more liberalised and far less prescriptive purchasing rules that date back to the era of whole of government outsourcing of the 1990s — a policy outcome now regarded as suboptimal by both sides of politics and the bureaucracy.

One of the biggest shifts flagged by Taylor is a shift away from the present system of agencies needing to specify requirements to industry and allowing providers to nominate off-the-shelf solutions without a formal approach to market from agencies.

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