In February 2013, the Victorian Government Purchasing Board introduced a new policy framework designed to support a more strategic and efficient approach to procurement. As part of this reform, the VGPB adopted five new policies, intended to replace more than 30 policies previously in place. The reform seeks to reposition procurement as a core business function for departments.
Of course, the procurement profile of each department is quite different. Departments were given an extended period to transition to the new framework and they have progressively done so. As of 1 January 2015 all departments had transitioned to the new policy framework. As part of these reforms, each department now has a Chief Procurement Officer.
VGSO have met with a number of these CPOs to discuss the challenges they have faced in implementing the new policies and improving procurement practices and outcomes across their departments. While their experiences varied, there were a number of common themes. A key concern was the need to increase capability in various areas. These areas include:
- understanding probity considerations, including conflicts of interest;
- preparing sourcing documentation; including the importance of clear evaluation criteria and setting clear mechanisms for evaluation;
- increasing understanding of issues encountered in negotiation and award of contracts including how to drive value and the inclusion of appropriate price review clauses;
- risks involved in incorporating external documents including specifications into the final contract; and
- the importance of clear, measurable and achievable KPRs with clear consequences.
Last year, we held a seminar dealing with this final point: 'Managing Performance under Contracts'. During August, our annual Projects and Procurement Practice Group seminar will focus on the role of specifications at various stages of the procurement process and how to ensure that it becomes a robust part of your contractual suite.
Our August seminar 'Metamorphosis: The evolution of the specification' has already booked out, however we will be live tweeting. You can follow us @VicGovSolicitor and join the conversation using #vgsolive.
For legal assistance regarding procurement please contact:
Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor
Managing Principal Solicitor