Consultation on the Digital Marketplace draft Panel Agreement Extended

20 December 2023

As members will be aware, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has proposed a new Digital Marketplace Panel- a whole of government panel to replace the six ICT panels currently in operation. This new panel is set to replace the previous Digital Marketplace Panel in 2024, and DTA claims changes to the design reflect ambition for continual improvement and evolution to ‘improve efficiency, value and operation’ while ‘delivering the best possible outcome’ for users.

RCSA has been actively engaged with the DTA after a significant number of members raised serious concerns around the structure and requirements of the panel as proposed. While feedback on the proposal was originally due to be submitted this Friday, the DTA have advised that the deadline for feedback on the panel proposal has now been extended until 6pm AEDT on Friday 12 January.

RCSA encourages all members engaged with the Digital Marketplace, or who deal in ICT services and participate in government tenders, to review the proposed panel and submit feedback directly through the supplied mechanism. RCSA will be compiling an industry-wide response to the proposal, summarising members’ key concerns around requirements and will meet in person with representatives from the DTA shortly after the submission deadline in mid-January.

Key concerns raised with RCSA to date will form the core of our response to the proposal and, at high level, include:

  1. Clause 37.2 (Pricing Transparency) which requires disclosure of fee breakdown, including margins, to candidates. RCSA has significant concern around disclosure of margins to candidates both from a privacy perspective, as well the concern it poses from an anti-competitive / unfair contract terms perspective. We are concerned that terms requiring the disclosure of sensitive information to competitors, especially where that disclosure is a requirement of the only mechanism for supply into government, may present a challenge to fair contract terms from a commercial perspective.
  2. 37.6.1 (Unique Identifier) which requires suppliers to provide personal and contact information of all candidates to DTA at the time the candidate is offered to a client. RCSA is keen to ensure that collection of this information is used to support procurement and engagement processes and does not undermine the value of the work related to sourcing, screening and preparing candidates for roles, nor form any kind of direct hire pool that fails to recognise the work of companies who originally sourced the candidate.
  3. Concern that the emphasis this panel places, through the disclose of margins, on pricing could create a race to the bottom on cost, at the expense of value, level of service and outcome that should be a priority for any sourcing and procurement process. This undermines and devalues the importance of outcome and service quality provided by professional staffing firms, as well as the valuable work which feeds into sourcing, screening and placing talent.

Should members have questions, concerns or feedback that can help inform RCSA’s industry-wide response, please reach out to Lily Andrews in RCSA’s advocacy team on 0448 332 610 or at [email protected].