As part of a mission to make Ipswich City Council an exemplar operating model for other councils to follow, 18 transformation projects have been identified as key areas for review. Today, we look at the procurement project and what that might entail.
High on Ipswich City Council’s 2019 resolution list is a new, easy-to-use and secure procurement system which encourages more local businesses into the local government supply chain.
Chief operating officer of Finance and Corporate Services Andrew Knight is overseeing a team drawn from across council which will aim to adopt a new system by the end of the year.
“If by December we can have a procurement framework that will provide clarity and probity for our staff, suppliers and contractors, this will encourage more businesses to be confident in supplying and contracting with Council,” Mr Knight said.
“This makes perfect business sense. It also means better value for money for ratepayers.”
Both Mr Knight and Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said the city’s procurement system had progressively evolved in a way which was now too onerous, thereby leading to confusion and discouraging smaller operators from submitting tenders.
“One of the criticisms I have heard from a number of sources is favouritism by council for certain suppliers,” Mr Chemello said.
“This is our chance to embrace a new procurement system which is second to none, watertight, transparent and which will encourage more local businesses to work with council with the utmost of trust and confidence.”
Mr Chemello said the review covers much more than just a new procurement software system. The council team will be scrutinising everything – from the overall procurement policy to administrative processes, to the way council manages consultant and supplier agreements, through to payments and reporting arrangements.
“If you are a potential provider of products or services to council, you will have confidence and certainty in the process. If you are a ratepayer, you will see greater transparency and certainly greater efficiency,” he said.
Mr Knight said there would be some key components to the project which would lead to an adopted system:
- The review of a procurement framework, which includes addressing policies and procedures, tendering, evaluation and the awarding of contracts.
- Review how council manages its general procurement of goods and services.
- Review the interface between procurement and payments to suppliers and contractors.
- Review and develop improved reporting structure for council to make strategic decisions.
“Importantly, the changes we make should provide the transparency for council to increase local business participation, possibly increase our ‘buy local’ weightings in tenders and encourage business, in general, to tender for work and or supply to council.” Mr Knight said.
“By December, the formula will be fairly simple: Better reporting equals better knowledge and better decisions. That’s what makes this project so exciting.”
There are 18 transformation projects currently being undertaken by Ipswich City Council while under administration.