The QITC Framework
In August 2017, the Queensland State Government introduced the new Queensland Information Technology Contracting (QITC) framework for procurement of information and communications technology (ICT) products and services by Queensland Government.
In this QWIK QITC Series, we are providing general information in respect of how the framework operates.
In this edition of the QWIK QITC Series, we will consider the matters a Government organisation takes into account in determining which QITC framework or other contract to use in ICT procurement.
Developed after extensive government and industry consultation, the QITC framework replaced the Government Information Technology Contracting (GITC) framework as the basis for all procurement of ICT products and services for Queensland Government.
It also replaced the Department of Housing and Public Works’ General Contract Conditions for General Goods and Services, previously used as an alternative to GITC for the procurement of low risk ICT services with a total contract value of under $1 million.
The framework is intended to be used by State Government Departments and entities (including some government owned corporations) in procuring ICT products and services.
Which contract to use?
Generally, the QITC framework contemplates use of terms and conditions for ICT procurement as follows:
- a bespoke contract, in cases where the procurement is assessed as an extreme/very high risk
- the Comprehensive Conditions and Modules, if the cost of the ICT product or service is over $1 million, and the procurement is assessed as medium to high risk
- the General Conditions, if the cost of the ICT product or service is $1 million or less, and the procurement is assessed as a low risk
- the use of the supplier’s terms and conditions, if the cost of the ICT product or service is $100,000 or less, and the procurement is assessed as a low risk
- Standing Offer Arrangements, in which case the Comprehensive Conditions would be the contract type used by organisations purchasing under the ICT SOA.
Matters to consider in assessing risk
The QITC user guide and reference material give a non-exhaustive list of examples in which it is considered that the procurement is likely to be assessed as medium to high risk (in which case the Comprehensive Conditions will be most appropriate). These involve circumstance where there is a risk:
- of significant interruption to the organisation's core business or front‐line services if the supplier defaults or the ICT products/services do not perform as required
- to people (e.g. health, welfare, safety) or environmental risks if the supplier defaults or the ICT products/services do not perform as required
- the ICT products/services may have a major impact or dependency on other government critical services or systems
- that the supplier (or third party) may store sensitive personal or confidential information in providing the ICT products/services
- that the transition-in or transition-out of the ICT products/services require significant co-operation and assistance from the supplier
- there will be a major financial impact to the organisation if the supplier defaults or the ICT products/services do not perform as required
- that means that the organisation may require security from the supplier (e.g. in the form of a bank guarantee, or performance guarantee, or letter of comfort)
- which may arise where the ICT products/services involve new emerging technologies; and/or
- of reputational, social or media risk to the organisation if the supplier defaults or the ICT products/services do not perform as required.
Further, the QITC user guide indicates that the General Conditions may also be appropriate where the organisation is buying standard “off the shelf” ICT products or services over $100,000. Otherwise, the supplier’s terms may be appropriate.
For Government organisations
- It will be important to assess the risk level to ensure that the most appropriate contract is used by the Government organisation.
- Any contract which involves the storage of sensitive personal or confidential information is likely to require a Comprehensive Contract.
- Any contract for procurement of new emerging technologies is likely to require a Comprehensive Contract.
- There is a need to be familiar with the contract assessment process to identify the likely terms applicable to each supply of ICT products and services.
- There is provision for use of supplier terms, but only for low risk transaction with a value of less than $100,000.
- Any Standing Offer Arrangement will be subject to the more extensive Comprehensive Contract Conditions (including the associated module orders).