Consulting giant Deloitte has landed a $5 million pay rise from the Digital Transformation Agency for its work on a new social network-inspired myGov platform, while its rival KPMG has also been handed a $1.3 million contract extension with the agency.
Deloitte is developing its own prototype for a revamped social network-inspired myGov update, for which it was paid nearly $1 million, into a working beta product, dubbed “GOVDXP Horizon 1”.
The global consultancy was awarded a contract for this work in March, originally worth just under $9.5 million. This contract has now tripled in value for the same six-month period of work, across a series of amendments to the tender.
The contract was doubled in value in May, bringing it to about $20 million, before a further $3.5 million was added in June.
Now, in tender documents published this week, the DTA revealed it handed Deloitte a another $5,100,723 in early July for its work on the project. It is now being paid a total of $28,130,966 for six months work on the myGov update, which is set to be completed by the end of the month.
Deloitte’s rival McKinsey was also paid nearly $1 million to develop a business case for the new myGov platform that Deloitte is developing.
This is just the first stage of the project, involving the creation of a platform offering personalised content including a web-based myGov inbox, opt-in notifications and login access to myGov.
Horizon 2 is still to come and will allow users to browse information and manage government services via the one platform, including a dashboard, profile, inbox and forms.
The overarching aim of the program is to make myGov more user friendly and the digital experience more in-line with private sector offerings such as Facebook or Netflix.
“This platform will collect services, apps and other customer experience capabilities to give users everything they need,” the DTA said about the project.
“This will operate on a ‘Netflix’ model, providing users with what they need to do next based on their previous interactions with government services – similar to Netflix’s ‘recommended to you’.”
Work on Horizon 2 had been slated to begin in July, but the government is yet to reveal who has been awarded that contract, or if any companies had yet been invited to bid.
The DTA has also handed another big four consultancy, KPMG, a significant pay increase, with the firm receiving an extra $1.5 million to deliver “subject matter expertise for transformation and improvement of government digital services”.
This contract, awarded in June, was originally only worth just over $200,000, but its worth has now been increased by more than six times.
The amendment began in mid-July, with the work running until the end of the year.
Earlier this week Boston Consulting Group also received a contract extension and pay increase from the DTA, winning a further $300,000 for its work helping to design government technology investment policy and governance.
There has been a significant increase in the size of contract values awarded by large consultancies by the DTA in the last financial year. These contracts increased by five times in 2019-20 compared to the previous financial year, with Deloitte, McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group the big winners.
These contracts, including for GovDXP, are typically posted on the DTA’s Digital Marketplace. Catherine Thompson, the co-founder of Hypereal, was a foundational leader of the Digital Transformation Office and led the team that designed the Digital Marketplace.
She has raised concerns about the lack of transparency around procurement on the marketplace, and the labelling of opportunities as “open tender” when they are actually only open to invited sellers.
“Reverting to a system in which only certain suppliers are invited to bid reduces both the transparency of government opportunities and the ability of new sellers to connect with government,” Ms Thompson said.
“The practice of restricting respondents also challenges the value for money equation, because it reduces competition, especially from nimbler and more innovative competitors. Checklists and advisories for buyers that would shed light on government assessment criteria are hidden behind the DTA’s procurement portal.
“Cumulatively, a lack of transparency in procurement matters is important. It’s said that sunshine is the best sanitation. Certainly, working in the open is a powerful disincentive to malpractice and fraud.”