Finally there is some movement on procurement reform in NSW. Steve Kennedy provides an update.
The ACA, in association with Consult Australia, has been leading negotiations for some time with NSW Finance and Services over establishing improved government policies and protocols for the procurement of consultant services. We have been a key member of a drafting group responsible for drawing up a new NSW standard document. Adrian Pilton, Director of JPW, has represented the ACA on the drafting group.
Unfortunately the process stalled in 2013, due to a series of internal issues within Finance and Services. However, that has now changed.
Finance and Services has a new Minister and a new Director General and there is again a strong interest in, and recognition of, the importance of addressing and resolving the myriad issues and concerns faced by architects and engineers when tendering on government projects in NSW. These concerns include:
Consistency across agencies
- Proportionate liability
- Intellectual property
- Fit for purpose clauses
- Latent conditions
In August, the ACA and Consult Australia, now also in assocation with the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, wrote to Paul Dobing, Executive Director, NSW Procurement outlining our concerns and frustrations. Paul responded positively and on 29 October, Steve Kennedy and Adrian Pilton from the ACA, and Robin Schuck from Consult Australia met with Don Jones, Director, Procurement and Construction Reform, NSW Office of Finance and Services.
Don, whose job is to address the sort of issues we have been raising, acknowledged not only the substantial work the ACA and Consult have already done, but also the fact that the government did understand the value and importance of providing fair, efficient, and consistent procurement practices across the whole of government, and were keen to achieve it.
Don has agreed to work with the ACA, Consult Australia and the Institute to address the issues and get the process not only back on track, but to deliver an outcome.
Time frames are still being discussed but, with an election looming in NSW, we are looking at finally achieving genuine reform within the next term of government.
Steve Kennedy is ACA – NSW/ACT President and National President of the ACA.