Audit office now taking submissions on DTA’s tech procurement

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

The national audit office is now taking public submissions as part of its inquiry into the Digital Transformation Agency’s technology procurement.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) launched an investigation into the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) procurement of ICT-related services late last year, with a reporting deadline of September this year.

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The ANAO is looking into whether the federal government’s digital office has established a sound procurement framework, if it has conducted procurements effectively and if it has managed contracts effectively.

Submissions on these issues are being accepted until the end of March.

The DTA underwent a significant restructuring early last year when it was moved from Services Australia to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet. This move saw the DTA stripped of its service delivery and project management responsibilities and be tasked primarily with delivering whole-of-government advice and strategy, including on procurement.

The DTA has regularly handed significant contracts to large consultancies for tech-related work, including on its major projects such as the development of COVIDSafe and the enhancement of the myGov platform.

Both of these projects have since been moved to other agencies as part of the restructuring.

The DTA is also responsible for setting up and managing marketplaces, panels and agreements for Commonwealth procurement, and also manages bulky whole-of-government tech procurement deals with the likes of Microsoft.

DTA chief executive Randall Brugeaud stepped down from the role in June last year, to eventually be replaced by former Queensland NSW senior technology executive Chris Fechner in October.

The DTA was handed a $58.8 million over four years funding boost in the Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook update late last year, along with $17.5 million annually in ongoing funding, to provide “enhanced digital and ICT oversight and advice”.

The DTA was previously in the audit office’s crosshairs in 2020, with the ANAO finding that the agency did not follow procurement rules when establishing its Digital Marketplace, and that the process behind it was “not robust”.

The agency is heading into a new era, Mr Fechner said late last year.

“The third iteration, and the one that I’ve sort of come in to lead, is the one that talks about how do we leverage and maximise the value of digital [and] data for all of the country,” Mr Fechner said in November last year.

“And how we can think about the massive amount of investment the Commonwealth has in the space and optimise it to deliver outcomes?”

The DTA will be focusing on exploring new technologies, prioritising government investments, delivering on promises and overseeing the delivery of digital services, Mr Fechner said.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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