Procurement policy needs change

Rod Drury (in his excellent blog) has raised again the tremendous waste of resources around the RFP processes for bidding on government contracts. He offers some actual suggestions that I’d like to see debated more widely.

As procurement policy is so important in growing the ICT sector it needs to me managed and monitored. A great start would be a Procurement Ombudsman that can provide a confidential and independent path for addressing procurement issues. This person cannot reside inside the Ministry of Economic Development as they are one of the biggest procurers themselves. The Audit Office or State Services would be a more appropriate home.Their first job would be to establish a Procurement Policy. This seems to have been kicked off several times but nothing useful to industry has ever surfaced. It needs an owner.

Having been on the response side of dozens of RFP (and similar) processes over the years I am very happy someone like yourself can stand up and offer some possible new scenarions. I have also been on the inside of a few such processes and I believe there are many frustrations from both sides.

Unfortunately if I want to keep working in the industry I mostly have to follow the particular formulas – as flawed as they might be and that will be holding many people back from public debate.

I do remember back in the early ’90s there was a move to become Government approved suppliers which was a way to “raise the bar” and in my view dispense with some of the wasted efforts of restating the obvious on each bid.

Whatever the future – there does need to be a change. The new system also needs to allow outsider and new entrants into the market as every industry needs that.

I also seem to remember that there were some themes around egovernment initiatives of being a model customer for the best local and international service providers. Many years ago (early ’90’s) – in Australia I was involved in some public policy generation around such issues. It resulted in a manifesto called *“The Creative Nation” which stimulated and provoked many changes in both the arts and technology industries of the day. It was an example of thought leadership at the time. (*Cultural policy was the focus)

What do you think about this debate? Here is an opportunity to save on costs and ultimately focus on growing your business rather than just padding the status quo. We need to think this through and make our public representatives and policy implementors aware of the need for positive change.