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Expertise needed to make procurement bill work

| 20/09/2016 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Government’s new procurement bill, which is expected to be debated in the Legislative Assembly next month will depend on the development of expertise in the civil service to make it work, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has stated. The draft legislation introduces what has been described as a comprehensive and accountable regime for the purchase of goods and services by all government entities. While it introduces a specialist office, a committee, new rules and guidelines, codes of conduct and much more to tighten up what is considered to be a major risk area for the public purse, Manderson said skills were central to its success.

“Although the law is important to underpin this function, the success of the new regime will depend on improving the procurement expertise across the public service. I am pleased that the Ministry of Finance will have trained more than 100 civil servants by the end of 2016 in the provisions of the new law,” Manderson said in a government release about the new law.

Public procurement accounts for the next biggest chunk of public spending after civil servants’ pay and benefits. Procurement amounts to around 27 per cent of CIG’s annual budget and the new law is designed to help government improve efficiency, save money and be more accountable about where the money goes and why, as well as who it goes to.

“Broader in scope than simple purchasing, procurement requires long-term strategic thinking to assure citizens that public money is well spent,” government officials said.

The new regime includes establishing clear rationales for business purchases on a case-by-case basis, the management of risk, market analysis, transparency and value for money.

The new law will affect all public spending initiatives by government chief officers, heads of department and suppliers to government and it has mechanisms to limit unilateral tendering and enhance regulatory compliance in an effort to address the existing wasteful practices, lack of transparency, corruption, political interference, fraud risks and the skills gap.

The goal is to improve expertise by employing procurement professionals to supervise and monitor the process while encouraging increased oversight, consistency, value for money, fair-dealing and accountability.

The law also proposes to limit political involvement at policy level by restricting procurement decisions to public officials. Over the years procurement has been seen as a political tool, with the community almost expecting government to award contracts to supporters. With the technical boards usually loaded with political cronies rather than experts in a particular field, the perception of corruption has loomed large for decades.

The new law establishes a public procurement committee which will oversee the purchases government departments make and the eight members will be chosen by the governor in consultation with the premier, the opposition leader and the deputy governor, and it will include private sector expertise.

Government suppliers will also be required to toe the procurement line and they will need to adhere to a written code of conduct. Any supplier that provides false information, offers an inducement or gratuity to public officials or enters into lobbying will be disqualified from participating in public procurement for a period of time or permanently.

Finance Minister Marco Archer said the strengthening of the procurement regime would cut costs and improve the overall regime and said the country should welcome the legislation.

See the procurement bill in the CNS Library

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Category: Government oversight, Laws, Politics

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Incompetent teachers, headteachers etc become headteachers, ceo’s and permeate every aspect of education. People gets jobs because of family connections so how can expertise be built up from such rocky foundations?




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  2. Anonymous says:

    how about developing a basic level of work ethic and courtesy first????




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  3. Anonymous says:

    any experts in the civil service left for the private sector along time ago……..




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  4. Anonymous says:

    12 :23. Did you really log on just to make a comment like that. Wow private sector workers at it again. Jealous of all the good things happening in our Civil service.

    I am so proud to see this Bill send to the LA. I have read the Bill and believe it is a game changer.

    Gone are the days when our Civil service wasted money. Gone are the days when the recommendations of the Auditor General were ignored.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Not gone are the days of the Civil Service being one vast welfare state with people being given jobs based on nationality rather than ability. There are so many examples of the continued waste of money going on. We just keep putting in layer upon layer of incompetence and it will get worse in this election year.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    CNS you must have a different bill than the one I have;
    eg You claim “the procurement committee will be chosen by the Governor in consultation with the Premier, the opposition leader and the Deputy Governor and will include private sector expertise”
    My Bill in schedule 3 – Constitution of the Public Procurement Committee
    (1) the Public Procurement Committee shall consist of eight persons and a recording secretary who shall not be entitled to vote.
    (2) The Governor acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier shall appoint from persons in the private sector the chairman and three other members of the Public Procurement Committee, one of whom shall be an attorney-at-law.
    (3) The Governor acting on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition shall appoint from persons in the private sector one member of the Public Procurement Committee
    (4) The Governor acting in accordance with the advice of the Deputy Governor shall appoint three member of the civil service to the Public Procurement Committee.
    What this means is that the Governor has to appoint the four persons recommended by the Premier and the one person recommended by the Leader of the Opposition, that is five out of eight political appointments how can such a committee not be political controlled.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    civil service….incompetence at every level……




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    • Anonymous says:

      I want some of the incompetent people that drafted this Bill and who can process 23000 works permit to come and work for me. My business needs help.




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  7. Veritas says:

    This is a brilliant idea “to develop expertise within the Civil Service” – why has nobody thought of this before?.




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