Approaches to Market from government come in various forms with the most common being the Request for Tender (RFT). RFTs are a known scope requirement, whereby government will be seeking a pricing commitment of some sort, which can be range from a rates table to a fixed price or a combination of both. However other than an RFT, there are also other ways the government seeks to approach the market which might allow for market preparation, or shortlisting of tenderers and as such improve the end result. In these situations, government uses a Request for Proposal or an Expression of Interest process. One further process government might use is the Request for Information (RFI). This process is a form of market research allowing government agencies to pose a number of questions or scenarios to industry and gain an understanding of the possible options and feasible solutions. The process is not competitive and does not guarantee any procurement, but from industry’s perspective it is an opportunity to shape or influence a potential procurement while allowing government to be an informed buyer.
RFIs are definitely on the increase with most agencies taking the opportunity to engage with industry prior to formulating the final RFT. So this week we look at an RFI issued by the Department of Home Affairs seeking Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Portable Radio Capability with the objective to explore industry capacity and capabilities for delivery of suitable future technological and commercial options. Home Affairs is inviting respondents to provide information on product solutions, indicative costings and potential suppliers to meet the requirements and is looking for potentially innovative solutions to achieve the projects outcomes.
This particular requirement is for the Australian Border Force which uses secure UHF radio communications as a critical tool to meet its border protection obligations while maintaining secure transmission. As noted above, this is not a commitment of any future procurement but will allow the department to understand what capability/solutions exist in the market. This RFI is due 17 Dec 21.