Throwing your procurement weighting around

Thursday 31 August, 2017

At CCIQ we are always careful to review and compare strategy and policy, because what is formulated as a strategy may not always make it to a policy. It can be like comparing a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show to what arrives in driveways 18 months later. 

In politics, we know governments always try to sell a strategy far harder to the voting public than they do a policy.

With a strategy, you can say what you like – you can use emotive language, set aspirational goals and focus on the big picture.

When it comes to policy, policy makers take the strategy document and its core concepts and replace the emotional and big picture with the practical, legal and instructional actions to ensure the policy can be delivered.

At CCIQ we couldn’t support the Queensland Government Procurement Strategy, but we can give in principle support to the Queensland Procurement Policy 2017. Here’s why:

  • Our members have instructed us to advocate to all levels of government for improved access to procurement opportunities for Queensland’s small businesses;
  • Research shows that increased involvement of Queensland small businesses in both private and public-sector projects leads to positive impacts on employment and business growth, particularly for regional Queensland;
  • It is a common approach to government procurement policy, similar to those in other States and Territories, that sees smaller businesses compete on a more level playing field when tendering for government projects;
  • In our opinion, the policy does not prevent contracts being awarded to entities from other States, Territories or International Trading Partners; and 
  • CCIQ would not support a policy position that contravenes our international obligations under free trade agreements and have iterated that position consistently in our previous advocacy and policy submissions

Here’s our take on a key difference in the recently released Queensland Government Procurement Strategy and the actual final version of the Queensland Procurement Policy 2017.

The Strategy

In the Queensland Government Procurement Strategy; the document states on P6:

‘Putting Queenslanders first Queensland Government purchasing will no longer be confined by free trade agreements that see jobs go offshore or interstate.’

Download the Queensland Government Procurement Strategy

The Policy

However, in the final Queensland Procurement Policy 2017, there is no mention of the phrase, ‘free trade agreements’ with the final procurement policy stating within Principle 1: Putting Queenslanders First When Securing Value For Money:

Each agency must seek to obtain best value for money in its procurement. Agencies are mandated to address the following factors when assessing value for money:

  • conducting a local benefits test for all significant procurement where a weighting of up to 30 per cent may be applied
  • advancing relevant government objectives and the outcome being sought
  • cost-related factors including up-front price, whole-of-life costs and transaction costs associated with acquisition, use, holding, maintenance and disposal
  • non-cost factors such as fitness for purpose, quality, delivery, service, and support.

Download the Queensland Government Procurement Policy 2017

What we have seen is a classic case of strategy being turned into policy and all of the necessary changes being made that make a policy a workable outcome of a strategy.

At CCIQ will continue to analyse policies using cold hard data and direct feedback from small businesses in Queensland.

Given the importance of this policy, CCIQ will be investing in a ReachTel poll of 1,400 Queensland small businesses to measure what they think of local content in government procurement policy, and what free trade agreements mean to their day to day business operations.

We look forward to sharing the findings.

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