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AGIMO suspends govt supplier application process

Is anyone using Oz government's multi-use lists of approved suppliers?

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Application security programs and practises

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has suspended its Multi Use Lists (MULs) for consultants and general ICT suppliers, possibly because no-one is using them.

The lists contain vendors approved to supply goods and services to Australian federal government agencies.

A blog post announcing the suspension of new applications says “[The Department of] Finance is undertaking a review … to understand further the effectiveness and patronage of these two ICT-based multi use lists.”

There's no indication in AGIMO's post of the reason for the suspension, but the missive does offer suppliers and vendors a survey to complete. Those surveys hint strongly at worries about whether anyone is using the lists.

The survey offered to agencies, for example, asks if they have ever used a supplier from an MUL, and if so which one and how often it is used. The quiz for vendors asks which list they're on, whether they get any inquiries from the lists and if so how much business it delivers.

The survey also looks hastily-cobbled-together, as it is provided in Excel files. Given that AGIMO oversaw Australia's Gov 2.0 taskforce, it's odd (to say the least) that it cannot erect a web form to gather opinions.

The Reg is not aware of any particular complaints about the lists' operations, but AGIMO's procurement plans have been criticised as favouring larger vendors capable of allocating resources to the application process. Australia's Small Business Commissioner, for example, has wondered if AGIMO's procurement panels are helpful ways to achieve a policy aim of ensuring small business gets access to government IT work.

AGIMO hopes agencies and suppliers alike will return surveys before September 14th and promises to complete its review before October 5th, when applications for the lists will resume. ®

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