New bids to lock-up the Taxman

By Julian Bajkowski

The Australian Taxation Office is best known for banging up tax cheats, but the Commonwealth’s chief revenue raiser has just announced it’s now officially on the hunt for a national locksmith to secure its sprawling estate of 51 offices across all states and territories.

The call for national locksmith services is likely to be one of the biggest of its kind in the federal market given the ATO’s official employee headcount of 24,740, a number that that excludes external contractors.

Tender documents released to the market reveal that the ATO has put its “Secure and Restricted Key and Cylinder Service” and its “Secure Storage Container Maintenance and Support Service” out to market.

The tender covers services for internal and external doors as well as secure storage containers that include “secure cabinets, safes, compactus units [and] wall mounted key safes”.

However the ATO has emphasised that the deal will not cover so-called “commercial grade” lockable compartments including cabinetry like filing cabinets and mobile storage units.

The provision of government locksmith services to government and industry remains a highly regulated industry which is overseen by technical experts at the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation – which has an obvious interest in securing government facilities that now ranges from offices to data centres.

The physical security requirements of the ATO’s dispersed premises is at the upper end of government requirements due to the large volume of personal and sensitive information the revenue agency collects and stores, including material on sensitive investigations

According to the tender, the ATO uses two “primary keying systems.”

The first is the ‘Secure key system’, also known as the ‘T-system’ that secures doors for the main entry, perimeter, plant rooms, server and communications rooms, evidence rooms and other segregated work areas.

The other is the ‘restricted key system’ that is used for internal doors that include offices and meeting rooms.

Under the deal that the ATO is seeking, suppliers are expected to provide “the basis for a consistent restricted keying system for the ATO nationwide, without proceeding to a full master key system.”

The taxman has also asked suppliers to provide independent keying systems at each siteso that there is “no linking of keying systems across sites.”

In addition to the usual requirements that keys cannot be illegally copied and recut, the ATO has asked for systems to have “legal patented protection for a minimum of 15 years from the date the agreement commences, unless otherwise agreed.”

The ATO locks tender closes on 29th April 2013 and tender documents can be found here.

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