SMEs and startups the focus for new digital procurement taskforce in NSW

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A new taskforce plans to make it easier for local suppliers of digital and information and communication technology services to engage with the New South Wales government.

The ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce will look at ways to up spending on small and medium enterprises, Aboriginal organisations, disability enterprises, and startups, “stimulating the local digital economy and extending it through regional NSW”, according to small business minister Damien Tudehope.

“We have the best small businesses in Australia right here in NSW, who deliver amazing products and services and we should always be looking at ways to make sure these businesses are getting more government work,” he said.

The group will be made up of senior public servants. Innovation Aus has reported that membership will likely include the state Treasury’s chief procurement officer Sue Woodall, and either the Customer Service department’s chief information and digital officer Greg Wells, or the executive director of digital sourcing Mark Lenzner.

Membership will also include representatives of the ICT sector, startups, regional suppliers and Indigenous-owned businesses, as well as Tudehope.

The taskforce will be chaired by customer service minister Victor Dominello.

He argued the move would help build “critical sovereign capability” for the state while supporting local businesses.

“It’s all about levelling the playing field and ensuring small and medium enterprises can compete on an equal footing,” he said.

Until August 7, the Department of Customer Service is seeking feedback on a range of areas related to the initiative, including:

  • The definition of sovereign procurement;
  • Building a current baseline and setting measurable targets for ICT/digital sovereign procurement and spend;
  • Barriers to achieving measurable targets;
  • Strategies and policies to bridge the identified gaps in achieving the targets; and
  • Assessing effectiveness and target outcomes of current ICT/digital procurement initiatives; technology sector growth initiatives; and social procurement policies.

Last month the state government committed $1.6 billion over three years to transform government services through digital infrastructure and cyber security capability.

Part of the funding is planned to go towards providing more government services online and via Service NSW, and to improve the digital experience across agencies, including in education and health.

This article was first published by The Mandarin.

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