NSW embraces digital signatures for big-ticket government purchases

The news that the NSW State Government has mandated the use of digital signatures for all government procurements worth over $150,000 is a win-win for procurement teams and their suppliers.

Why? eSignatures are so much faster, easier and more secure than the old pen-and-paper method of sealing deals with suppliers. And, with around 10,000 purchases over $150,000 per year, that’s a lot of time and money saved. Here, we take a look at what the rules entail for government agencies.

The new rules around digital signatures

The mandate was announced on 8 February by the Hon. Victor Dominello, MP, who is the NSW Minister for Digital, and requires all government agencies to use a workflow solution with digital signature for their major purchases. Agencies must comply by 30 June 2022.

As Hon. Dominello said in his announcement:

“Many businesses have already moved to digital signatures 👍

I can’t believe that we (Government) are still behind in this regard 🤦🏻

So from 1 July, if you’re a supplier to NSW Government, we are working to enable digital signatures through the buy.nsw Supplier Hub.

It’ll be a secure, tell-us-once experience and will help reduce the paper-heavy 🌳process that is traditionally Government.”

Fixing a broken system

Until now, many NSW government agencies have been saddled with legacy systems and outdated procurement processes. They’ve had to contend with inconsistent workflows, messy paperwork, and a lack of auditability, visibility and control. 

With all this in mind, the process of undertaking a procurement has been slow, costly and unreliable. 

Speaking to Government News recently, Victor Dominello said: “Using digital signatures saves time and reduces operational costs, including removing the need to print and physically sign contracts,” he told Government News.  

“They are more secure as only intended recipients can access signed documents.”

Currently, NSW government agencies are required to disclose all contracts valued at $150,000 or greater on eTenders within 45 days of signing, with agencies manually uploading the relevant contract details.

“Implementing digital signatures is estimated to deliver average savings of $36 per agreement with the NSW Government each year, with more than 10,000 purchases worth around $150,000 annually to benefit from the system,” Mr Dominello said.

“Contract volumes where the value is less than $150,000 is also expected to be substantial. These contracts do not have a disclosure requirement but will also benefit from digital signing.”

By mandating the digitalisation of procurement processes, NSW is taking positive steps towards improving a system that has previously been criticised by suppliers and agencies alike. As digital signatures and workflow solutions gain adoption – not just for big purchases but across all government contracts and agreements – the state will move to the front in the race to become a leader in digital government.  

Following the rules

Every government agency in NSW will need to have a workflow solution that includes digital signature in place by mid-2022. At this stage, it’s only required for big-ticket purchases, but it’s expected that digital signatures will soon be required for all contracts, NDAs, declarations and approvals. 


If your government department is ready to get started with a leading eSignature solution that ticks all of the boxes for the new procurement rules, get in touch with Docusign today


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