A change to a Australian government ICT procurement policy will allow contract extensions to exceed the length of an initial deal, but also make sure there\u2019s no default \u201cset and forget\u201d approach by departments and agencies.\nThe Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has unveiled details of its new Digital Sourcing Contract Limits and Reviews Policy, which replaces the ICT Contract Capped Term and Value\u00a0Policy.\nThe updated policy takes effect on 1 February and sits under the broader Digital Sourcing Framework; the policies contained in the framework are mandatory for most Commonwealth entities.\nA blog entry published on the DTA site said that under the new policy, contract extensions can be up to three years. Previously, extensions could not exceed the length of the original contract.\n\u201cWe heard the previous policy could stifle innovation by not allowing trials and proofs-of-concepts,\u201d the DTA explained.\nA new requirement is that an extension is only allowed after a contractor\u2019s performance and deliverables are reviewed.\n\u201cIt is clearer that buyers need to review the performance and deliverables of a contract prior to extending it,\u201d explained the blog entry. \u201cWe are making sure there is no default \u2018set and forget\u2019 in our digital sourcing contracts so we aren\u2019t left with old technology or solutions that aren\u2019t working.\u201d\nAs was the case under the previous policy, a contract must not exceed $100 million over the course of its life, including all extensions, and the initial length of the contract cannot exceed three years.\nThere are a range of exemptions possible, however. One is a joint exemption granted by the relevant minister as well as the minister for government services. That requires an entity demonstrates \u201ca special need for an alternative arrangement and their exemption request must be premised on a genuine intent to meet the policy requirements,\u201d states the policy.\nAn exemption is also possible under section 2.6 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs): \u201cThese CPRs do not apply to the extent that an official applies measures determined by their Accountable Authority to be necessary for the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security, to protect human health, for the protection of essential security interests, or to protect national treasures of artistic, historic or archaeological value.\u201d\nThe other category of exemption is for purchases made from the mandatory categories of the digital whole-of-government panels (which include data centre space and services, the hardware marketplace, the telco services panel, and the mobile panel).\nThe federal government in 2017 said that it would revamp ICT procurement, including by capping contracts to $100 million and three years.\nAs part of the establishment of Services Australia as a successor to the Department of Human Services, the DTA was moved to the new department. New administrative arrangements announced in May 2019 formally gave Services Australia responsibility for whole-of-government IT.