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Queensland Government Bulletin: Key issues in contracting under QITC

03 October 2023

12 min read

#Government, #Procurement, #Technology, Media & Telecommunications

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Queensland Government Bulletin: Key issues in contracting under QITC

With the Queensland Information Technology Contracting (QITC) framework now well established, it is timely to look at the some of the key issues that can arise for government in using the framework.

Service level agreements (SLA) can be tricky for customers – it is common for them to be included in a contract, but then not measured, and for any service credits not to be claimed. However, a good SLA can be the main tool to ensure good supplier performance in the contract's operational phase, which is especially critical given contracts are often being extended for longer periods.

The key to a good SLA is to keep it simple – identify one to three key KPIs specific to the project to measure and apply credits to, have a credits regime that escalates as the performance gets poorer, and include termination rights as a final remedy. As part of this, the customer needs to ensure a significant amount of the relevant fees are at risk.

Specifications and requirements remain an ongoing challenge. It can be hard for government to document its requirements in detail – often these evolve throughout the project. But these documents, whether available at the start or down the track, are key to setting the appropriate bar for the supplier to reach, especially if acceptance testing is part of the project.

Acceptance testing remains important for customers to ensure that they are getting what they need and will be paying for. Suppliers often claim that this is not required, especially for off-the-shelf software, but customers should resist these arguments. Good quality products and services should have no problems passing reasonable acceptance testing.

Cyber security is a growing challenge for all customers and the contractual requirements for supplier security are ever increasing – from a paragraph or two a few years ago, to potentially a few pages in some contracts now. While the QITC does contain various requirements in relation to security, it may be necessary to supplement this – such as with additional clauses, reference to relevant customer or other standards, and including a requirement for cyber security insurance in the additional insurance provisions.

Customers should also clearly describe the commercial details they have agreed upon with the supplier. Clear pricing details (broken down into individual components as necessary) and payment arrangements need to be set out in the schedules. Customers need to consider and try to avoid paying too much ahead of delivery. This can be particularly tricky if third-party software providers are involved and are seeking payment for the software from the start of the contract, even though the customer may not be actively using the software during the implementation phase. Pricing should also clearly cover any additional items that may be required, and any potential increases so that the customer has cost certainty throughout the contract term (including extensions).

Customers should also be mindful of their obligations as these can often lead to delay claims or variations from suppliers. For the most part, the contract is about the supplier providing a product or service and the customer paying for it. As such, other obligations on the customer should be relatively limited and very specific.

Finally, a good contract is of no use if it is not properly managed. Any significant contract (whether it involves high risks or value) should have proper contract management processes in place. These processes may include the development of a contract management manual, management of key dates (particularly end of term and extensions), briefings for the operational team on key contract features, and careful management of any variations.

If you have any questions about the QITC framework or your contract management processes, please get in touch with partner Andrew Hynd.


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Bills introduced
Emblems of Queensland and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023
Local Government (Councillor Conduct) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023

Bills passed without amendment
Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Surgeons) Amendment Bill 2023

Bills amended during passage
Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023
Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2023

Proclamations commencing Acts made
Proclamation No. 1 – Domestic and Family Violence Protection (Combating Coercive Control) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2023 (commencing remaining provisions)

Subordinate legislation notified
Criminal Practice Amendment Rule (No. 2) 2023
Local Government (Fraser Coast Regional Council – Suspension of Councillor) Amendment Regulation 2023
Local Government (Gold Coast City Council – Suspension of Councillor) Amendment Regulation 2023
Mutual Recognition (Queensland) (Tasmanian Container Deposit Scheme) Amendment Regulation 2023
State Penalties Enforcement and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation 2023
Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Queensland) (NT and Tasmanian Container Deposit Schemes) Notice 2023

Subordinate legislation tabled
Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2023
Biosecurity (Polyphagous Shot-hole Borer) Amendment Regulation 2023
Civil Partnerships Regulation 2023
Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Regulation 2023
Disability Services Amendment Regulation 2023
Economic Development (Vegetation Management) By-law 2023
Economic Development Regulation 2023
Forestry (State Forests) and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 2) 2023
Governors (Salary and Pensions) Regulation 2023
Local Government (Fraser Coast Regional Council – Suspension of Councillor) Amendment Regulation 2023
Major Events (Motor Racing Events) (Gold Coast 500) Amendment Regulation 2023
Mineral Resources Amendment Regulation 2023
Parliamentary Service By-law 2023
Planning (Queensland Rural Workers’ Accommodation Initiative) Amendment Regulation 2023
Public Sector Ethics Regulation 2023
Public Trustee Regulation 2023
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment Regulation 2023
Rural and Regional Adjustment (Climate Smart Energy Saver Scheme) Amendment Regulation 2023
State Penalties Enforcement and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation 2023
Statutory Instruments (Exemptions from Expiry) Amendment Regulation 2023
Transport Infrastructure (Public Marine Facilities) Regulation 2023
Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation 2023
Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2023
Work Health and Safety (Codes of Practice) (Amusement Devices and Concrete Pumping) Amendment Notice 2023

The information in this bulletin is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this bulletin is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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