(17 November 2016) The final presentation at the recent Red Tape Outreach Session in September 2016 was given by Yvette Sims, Assistant Secretary, Procurement Policy and Advice. Yvette’s presentation focused on the myths in the public service that surround procurement and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.
Procurement is a classic example … in relation to our tendency to provide an overlay of unnecessary administrative processsaid Yvette.There is a common misperception out there that the Commonwealth Procurement Rules contain many [requirements] that aren’t there and likely never have been
The Department of Finance has been working hard to simplify and de-mystify the procurement process.
Some of the things that we’ve done to assist [with procurement] are that we’ve developed the Commonwealth Contracting Suite, [to] streamline the standard terms and conditions for all procurement under $200,000.
The Commonwealth Contracting Suite’s goal, Yvette explained, is to strip out the unnecessary process and duplication of effort across the Commonwealth, to free up time of people conducting procurement activities to focus on getting the specifications right and to get the right response from the market.
And in the future, procurements up to $1 million may be covered by the Commonwealth Contracting Suite Plus (which was recently launched for public consultation).
This work has been complemented by work to streamline the procurement process, including:
- a review of the model Accountable Authority Instructions for procurement,
- the introduction of the BuyRight tool within the Department of Finance, and
- new functionality being added to Austender to simplify the procurement from panels, called Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P).
Yvette then went through three common myths around procurement in the public service. Test your knowledge below:
1. How should you pay for purchases less than $10,000?
Request Secretary approval
2. If you’re buying something that costs less than $80,000, or if you’re buying off a panel, how many suppliers do the Commonwealth Procurement Rules require you to approach?
No set maximum or minimum
3. How many people do the Commonwealth Procurement Rules require you to have on an evaluation panel?
No set maximum or minimum
The correct answer is use a credit card – RMG 416 Facilitating Supplier Payment Through Payment Card articulates the Government’s policy on payment cards as the preferred method to pay suppliers, for eligible payments valued below $10,000.
The correct answer is unless your entity’s Accountable Authority Instructions state otherwise, you should approach Suppliers in proportion to the scope and scale of the business requirement, in order to achieve a value for money outcome. Sometimes, this may only be one or two suppliers. The CPRs do not state how many suppliers you must approach. As such, obtaining 3 quotes is not a magic number/rule unless your entity’s Accountable Authority Instructions state it.
The correct answer is the Commonwealth Procurement Rules do not state a minimum or maximum number of people that should be on an evaluation panel. Much like the number of suppliers you approach, the number of people evaluating responses should be proportionate to the scope and scale.
How many of the above did you get right? Are these myths common in your organization? Let us know in the comments below.
More information: the Finance procurement page or Yvette’s full presentation below:
Themes: Red tape reduction, cultural change, red tape myths, common myths, Department of Finance, Commonwealth Procurement Rules, red tape in procurement, Accountable Authority Instructions, change management, review of internal procedures.