‘Monumental change’ in works for procurement

| 21/09/2015 | 10 Comments
Cayman News Service

Craig Milley, Central Procurement Office Director

(CNS): A new law to manage government contracts and the purchase of goods and services is in the works and will bring “monumental change” to the current failing system, according to the new procurement director, Craig Milley. Accounting for more than 27% of public spending, how government buys things and awards major contracts will fall under the new legislation next year, officials have said. Milley maintained the new law will herald a simpler, much more transparent, accountable and fairer system, giving value for money and greater opportunities for local businesses.

Speaking at a ‘Be Informed’ session at the Chamber of Commerce last week, Milley, the director of the Central Procurement Office, who was appointed last February, and Peter Gough, the ‘strategic advisor’ to the deputy governor, explained the motivation behind the new law and how it will work.

Pointing to a history of criticism by the auditor general and his numerous reports, as well as wider concerns in the business community that the system is unfair, Milley described the aims and ambitions of the legislation, which is the first ever attempt at a law to manage how government purchases what it needs.

With a significant amount of changes to the system, starting with the need for a business case for all major purchases all the way through to debriefings for unsuccessful suppliers and the introduction of more accountability and transparency, Milley described entirely new methods of procurement and an end to tailor-made requests for proposals (RFPs).

The Canadian procurement expert told a small audience of business owners that the law would affect every government department and every supplier of goods and services. Milley said the law’s success would require a significant amount of training for government workers and public awareness campaigns for the local business community.

The new regime will pave the way for entirely different types of procurement than the current open tender. It will allow conversations with possible suppliers before an RFP, and the publication of all contracts and much more transparency.

Milley said that the public “is the best policeman” when it comes to preventing potential abuse of government contracts and address the criticisms that have been made of the regime, from the risk of fraud and corruption to the failure of the current system to provide value for money.

The objectives of the new law, which is still being formulated, is to improve governance, transparency and reporting and to limit political involvement. It will also provide for different ways of awarding contracts, make contracts more accessible to more local businesses as well as create a regime that collects and publishes data on public contracts.  Milley said that at present no statistics or information about procurement and which business are reviewing what is routinely collected, which he said was “unacceptable”.

In a comprehensive and detailed presentation of the law, the new procurement office, future procurement committees and a procurement code of conduct for companies doing business with government, Milley said the new regime would be fairer, more reasonable and, above all, much more transparent, including undertakings by winning bidders, such as employing local workers, so that they can be more easily held to account if they break conditions of contracts.

Milley also spoke about the need for much more transparency regarding business cases for a given project or purchase before it happens as well as after the fact.

When and if the law is passed, it will apply across the board to all public sector entities.

Peter Gough told the audience that while all chief officers and major authorities, such as the Water Authority, are on board and supportive of the new much more rigorous regime, some of the smaller government companies and statutory authorities were less enthusiastic because they saw the new law as a threat to their independence. Government is, however, determined to press ahead with the legislation and improving procurement, Gough stated, adding that it was expected to reach parliament early next year, depending on the workload of the currently hard pressed legal drafting department.

Check back to CNS later for the full presentation.

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (10)

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  1. Knot S Smart says:

    Does this mean that they cant give the government business to their friends anymore?…

  2. I Wunder says:

    Well at least there is a possibility that something will finally be done about certain interests making under-the-table deals that have no real purpose other than to get a nice “showcase accomplishment” while siphoning off untold amounts of money to the perpetrators. I look forward to this “monumental change”. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  3. kenny says:

    i think this was done just right- hire someone who is an expert in the field and get him to help draft the law that he will implement- private sector thinking drives me crazy.

    This is a huge win for the Government…. wow accounts in order, new procurement law, no more incompetent hires, better accoutablity, airport started, new travel policy, minimum wage, port decision shortly, landfill soloution shortly….. and you say the Premier and DG not doing making a difference?

  4. Anonymous says:

    All that is necessary is to open all bids before the public and the press as well as all the bidders and the amount of each bid identified and the amount announced publicly.
    Why do we have to write a new law certainly the current regulations can be amended to accommodate greater transparency.
    The Government should publish all the bids received on each RFP clearly identifying the bidder and the amount of each bid on a quarterly basis.

  5. Anonymous says:

    BS certain companies have to bid for contracts certain companies are just given it to them…depends on who you know…this should have been enforced long long long time ago

    • Anonymous says:

      1:33
      You are so correct, many don’t have to bid especially in the building business, they will never speak out about unfairness in the country, it’s all about them getting jobs through political association.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If it gets into law as what it is advertised at, then that is great…however too many interests clinging to their money earners may allow a watered down version in, so we still need to be on guard…regret it is a case of seeing is believing…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Even with complete transparency there needs to be concerned observers, and a mechanism to correct abuses if they are discovered. Deliberate under-bidding on CIG contracts has been a problem for decades, but this dishonesty goes entirely unpunished. Under-estimating a contract and revising the actual bill to double or triple, is a chronic form of theft.

  8. anonymous says:

    Cart before the horse again, guy hired from February, legislation to support his work not coming til next year, backward much?

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