Industry Advocate Update – December 2018
From day one, the objective for my office has been to increase the number and diversity of locally owned and operated business winning government contracts. Over the last 5 years the Industry Participation Policy has played a significant role in leveraging government’s expenditure to create jobs, growth and diversification in the economy.
This year saw another milestone with the Industry Advocate Act 2017 coming into operation, formalising my role in Legislation but more importantly giving me responsibility to further the objectives of the South Australia’s Industry Participation Policy. This includes building the capability and capacity of businesses based in South Australia to participate in government contracts and to hear from business and their industry representatives about their experiences with the South Australian Industry Participation Policy.
The introduction of the Skilling South Australia Procurement Guideline will make it easier for businesses tendering for large projects, the reforms will focus on having a skilled future workforce ready to support growth and diversification in the state’s industry sectors.
During the latter part of 2018 there have been two very important inquiries conducted in which I have provided submissions to – one is the Statutory Authorities Review Committee looking at the scope of the State Procurement Act, current State procurement processes and practices and how small and medium sized businesses participate in government procurement. In addition to this, the Government has asked the newly formed South Australian Productivity Commission to do an independent inquiry into government procurement, this will identify reform options to improve procurement practices and the impact of procurement on local industry output and employment.
It is my view that State Procurement Board Policies and the Industry Participation Policies are more than adequate, however, it is their interpretation and application where improvement is needed.
From the feedback we have received, businesses experience with procurement is often that processes can dominate the tender, rather than the strategic goals of the purchase being clear.
As the Industry Advocate I receive significant feedback from businesses indicating they are overwhelmed with the amount of information required during tendering and quoting processes. The same information about the company, insurance, financials, capability and compliance to standards such as quality, diversity, safety, employment contribution test and past performance is asked for time and time again.