New Calif. policy puts department heads on hook for IT purchases

The state of California is trying to build more accountability into their information technology purchases. In a policy letter, circulated by the newly renamed California Technology Agency, department-level directors will have to personally certify IT products and services previously approved at lower levels.

According to IT Policy Letter (ITPL) 11-01, Department Directors will have to approve all IT Acquisition Plans (ITAPs) for a number of IT services and products. The list of purchases that Department Directors will be on the hook for include:

  • IT Services and Consulting acquisitions with an aggregate value of $100,000 or greater;
  • Public Safety Communications Goods and Services acquisitions (e.g., purchase, lease, maintenance, support, and related services) with an aggregate value of $25,000 or greater;
  • Hardware acquisitions (e.g., purchase, lease, maintenance, support, and related services) with an aggregate value of $20,000 or greater;
  • Telecommunications Goods and Services (e.g., purchase, lease, maintenance, support, and related services) with an aggregate value of $5,000 or greater (services purchased through CALNET 2 are exempt from this Policy Letter); and
  • Software acquisitions (e.g., Software-as-a-Service, purchase, lease, maintenance, support, and related services) with an aggregate value of $5,000 or greater.

The new policy letter builds on a 2009 letter that required agencies to submit ITAPs as a way for the Technology Agency to review and coordinate technology acquisitions, to reduce overlap and achieve efficiencies. At the time, department CIOs would have to sign off on ITAPs, but now the state is requiring new levels of scrutiny be given to technology-related spending.

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