The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has decided to extend Silverstripe's contract to provide the government's Common Web Platform (CWP) by one more year.
The original contract was due to conclude this month, with a six month disengagement period for agencies to transition to a new solution by March 2021.
However, with the impact of COVID-19 it was important to DIA and Silverstripe to stay focused on providing government agencies with a secure and stable platform that would help them keep citizens at the centre of government digital services delivery, Silverstripe said today in a statement.
Silverstripe CEO Sam Minnee said he was enormously proud of the work that Silverstripe had done to deliver the CWP, starting with ICT.govt.nz and several other websites in 2013, through to high-profile sites such as COVID19.govt.nz now.
"The delivery of such a broad range of the government’s digital communication is a responsibility that we take very seriously," he said.
An extension to the CWP contract gives government agencies the flexibility to continue working with a provider that is experienced in supporting high-performing public sector websites while agencies work towards transitioning to their new hosting solutions, Silverstripe said.
As an approved supplier on the government's Marketplace, Silverstripe said it was available to assist agencies while they decide what their next steps are for their digital services.
Catalyst Cloud appeared to be positioning itself for a run on the contract earlier this week when it launched a partnership with amazee.io to deliver the same platform used by the Australian government for its GovCMS service.
Catalyst Cloud managing director Bruno Lago said whenever DIA created a panel agreement like the CWP or IaaS, agencies began to rely on the department's central procurement role to set the roadmap, continuation, and evolution of these capabilities on their behalf.
"Despite receiving a notification from DIA that CWP was coming to an end in September this year, many agencies have not made plans to either procure something else or to continue to buy from Silverstripe directly," he said.
Covid19 had also stolen a lot of time from web managers, preventing them from planning these sort of changes to their websites.
"DIA has stated multiple times that their preferred procurement model going forward is the new NZ Government digital marketplace," Lago said.
"Besides being more efficient, this model gives agencies access to more choices and innovation.
"We strongly believe DIA had plans to invite content management system platform solutions to join the marketplace, but ran out of time to do so.
"As a result, we think they are extending the existing CWP contract to buy more time (for themselves and other agencies)."
Lago said Catalyst thought it would be unreasonable for DIA to continue with the panel procurement model.
"They have invested substantially in the digital marketplace, and have acknowledged it is a better path forward.
"We expect that both CMS platforms (CWP) and cloud infrastructure (IaaS) solutions will be made available and procured via the digital marketplace."
Silverstripe said it would continue to work with DIA to develop and improve CWP over the course of extended contract period focusing on the needs of participating agencies.