Australian government launches new digital marketplace
The government of Australia has launched a digital marketplace which aims to make it easier for businesses to sell their services to government, following collaboration with civil servants in the UK.
The Digital Transformation Office (DTO) – the government agency tasked with leading the transformation of government services – on Monday announced the launch of the new website in Beta “ahead of schedule” and completed “just five weeks” after its Alpha launch in July.
Collaboration with officials from the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) – the British equivalent of the DTO – “contributed to this fast result,” Catherine Thompson, the DTO’s head of Digital Marketplace, wrote in a blog.
Thompson said her team had been able to use code from the GDS, according to the Mandarin: “They provided the base code on which we’ve iterated and they also came over to spend some time with us.
“And the principle is that whenever we develop something they don’t have, we chuck it back over the fence at them and they can then use it themselves.”
The UK government launched its Digital Marketplace in 2012 as an initiative to simplify the procurement of IT services by public sector bodies by providing a list of pre-approved suppliers.
Mirroring that aim, Australia’s new platform matches suppliers with government departments and agencies on technology projects.
Government buyers can now publish briefs for the work they need done, suppliers can respond to those briefs allowing for two-way collaboration to take place.
There are already more than 220 digital specialists on the Marketplace, after the DTO ran an open tender asking businesses to join a Digital Service Professionals panel in March this year.
Assistant minister for cities and digital transformation Angus Taylor said the Marketplace simplified what had been a bureaucratic process for businesses to access government technology work.
“This is an important change in the way government has traditionally done business.
“It’s a new platform for businesses and government to work together in a creative and flexible way.
“I congratulate the Digital Transformation Office on delivering the Beta product well ahead of schedule.”
Taylor also told the Mandarin that he would like to see the same principles used in the new marketplace “applied more broadly” across government procurement: “I think if we can get it to work in digital, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be trying to get it to work elsewhere, but let’s start at the beginning and we’ll see where we can take it.”
The Digital Marketplace Beta, Thompson added writing in the blog, “provides a richer and simpler environment for technology procurement, enabling businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, to provide specialist digital services to government.
“Another key feature of the Digital Marketplace, due for launch later this year, is the Ideation platform, where government buyers will be able to launch challenges to solve digital business problems and where suppliers can pitch creative ideas to solve these problems.”
For more information, visit gov.au/marketplace
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