Procurement reforms

The Buy Local Plan consists of a suite of measures designed to improve the way that local benefits are identified, evaluated and realised at all stages of the procurement and contracting lifecycle.

Supporting and enhancing the capabilities of local business and industry is fundamental to creating value for the Territory.

Changes implemented during 2016 included:

  • requiring all capital grants to include a Buy Local condition
  • increasing the minimum weighting applied to local content in tender assessments from 25% to 30%
  • that Buy Local must be driven through the whole project, not just at the top layer. This represents a major growth in support from government to local businesses.

In addition to the immediate changes implemented to strengthen the Buy Local policy, a range of additional improvements are being rolled-out following consultation with industry.

Buy Local Industry Advocate

  • The Buy Local Industry Advocate provides an independent advocacy function to government on behalf of the local Northern Territory (NT) industry.
  • Their role is to ensure that Territory enterprises are provided full fair and reasonable opportunities to compete for government contracts.
  • The industry advocate will be supported by staff within the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation (DTBI). The advocate is a member of a reformed Procurement Review Board and will head up a sub-committee of that board to focus on Buy Local policies.
  • The additional NT Government reforms will reduce the number of procurement boards and panels from three to one with a balance of government and industry representation.
  • All agencies will be directed to provide an annual audit of the procurement performance against the government's Buy Local procurement policies, and the audits reports will be public.
  • Expression of interest for the Buy Local Industry Advocate closed on Friday 26 May and were assessed by a panel of government and industry representatives
  • Mr Denys Stedman was been appointed as the Buy Local Industry Advocate and commenced in January 2018.

Procurement Review Board - Industry Representative

  • The NT Government have also established a new role of Industry Representative on the Procurement Review Board (PRB).
  • The Industry Representative will provide a conduit between industry and government ensuring the interests of industry are represented and considered on the PRB and the Buy Local Sub-Committee.
  • The PRB has independent oversight of government procurement activity to ensure adherence to procurement policy and identifies strategic opportunities for improvement.
  • Expressions of interest for the newly established role of Industry Representative on the PRB closed Friday 2 June and were assessed by a panel of government and industry representatives.
  • Ms Andrea Moriarty has been appointed as the PRB Industry Representative.
  • Ms Margret Michaels has been appointed to the Buy Local Sub-Committee.

Value for Territory Assurance Program

  • The Value for Territory Assurance Program is an overarching program of audits and assurance activities that evaluate:
    • internal NT Government and external industry compliance with the Buy Local Plan
    • the effectiveness of the Buy Local Plan
    • the impact of the Buy local Plan (including unintended impacts).
  • Evaluation of these criteria is achieved through the direct and indirect activities of the Buy Local Industry Advocate and sub-committee.
  • The Buy Local Industry Advocate will prepare and publicly publish annual reports on the findings of Value for Territory Assurance Program.

Replace ‘Value for Money’ with ‘Value for Territory’

  • Achieving the best ‘Value for Money’ was an overarching principle of the NT Government’s procurement framework.
  • The term ‘Value for Money’ has been changed to ‘Value for the Territory’ to better communicate the government’s commitment to supporting local content and to demonstrate that procurement value is broader than price.
  • This initiative was implemented in early 2017.

Cap the maximum weighting on price in tender evaluations to 30%

  • With mandatory local content weighting at 30%, government agencies can apply 70% weighting across the remaining assessment criteria when evaluating tenders.
  • Previously, there was no specific limit on the weightings allocated to the remaining criteria, including price.
  • Capping the maximum weighting on price to 30% will ensure price considerations will not outweigh local content or other performance based criteria.
  • A new Procurement Direction capping the weighting on price was issued in early 2017.

Prohibit shortlisting on price alone

  • During a shortlisting process, tenderers are assessed against a reduced set of assessment criteria, with only responses meeting or exceeding a minimum benchmark moving forward into a full assessment against all criteria.
  • Shortlisting helps to reduce tender assessment timeframes and provides timely feedback to industry. However, shortlist needs to consider ‘value’ more broadly than simply ‘price’.
  • A new Procurement Direction prohibiting shortlisting based on price was issued in early 2017.

Provide tenderers with more detailed post-tender feedback

  • Currently, the information provided at the completion of a tender assessment is limited to the name of the successful tenderer and total price. Agencies are only required to provide tenderers more comprehensive debriefs when requested and the information provided relates to the assessment of their tender only.
  • Providing more detailed post-tender feedback will assist tenderers to understand tender decisions and will provide information to assist with future opportunities.
  • This initiative is be trialled by DTBI Procurement NT from September 2017.

All major procuring agencies to provide regular industry briefing sessions

  • Forward procurement planning, while providing opportunities for government to communicate it’s plans and intentions, can also limit government’s ability to remain responsive and can generate disappointment and frustration where ‘plans’ change.
  • To help balance this, the major procuring agencies will hold more frequent industry briefings to communicate short-to-medium term procurement plans and forecasts. Smaller agencies will hold briefings as required to ensure plans are effectively communicated. Opportunities for project-specific and category based briefings also exist.

All agencies to publish agency forward procurement plans

  • The NT Government communicates its future procurement needs in several ways including the advertisement of future tender opportunities, conducting project specific industry briefings and holding industry forums.
  • A list of all planned significant procurement, for a 12-month period, will be published towards the start of the financial year to give industry greater visibility of potential work ahead.
  • This initiative was implemented in March 2017 with the publication of planned significant procurement for the current financial year.

Increase government procurement capability development options, including for a wider cross-section of government buyers

  • Developing the people, knowledge and systems that underpin government procurement is a key driver to success.
  • To underpin capability development, a comprehensive review and modernisation of the NT Governments procurement framework was undertaken to ensure the NT Government has an effective platform to drive ’Value for Territory’ outcomes.
  • NT Government employees are responsible for ensuring that government manages its procurement activities with impartiality, fairness, independence, openness, integrity and professionalism.
  • To support capability development, government staff involved in procurement currently can undertake certificate, diploma or advanced diploma training in procurement.
  • Training opportunities have been expanded by:
    • Boosting ‘local benefit’ training sessions focused on the development of scope of works and setting of evaluation criteria, with almost 400 NT Government employees undergoing training by 1 July 2017.
    • Establishment of procurement eLearning resources, available on-demand to buyers across government from September 2017, to complement the face-to-face classroom sessions.
    • A professional development forum which was held in May, with approximately 200 NTG procurement professionals attending, focussed on practices to achieve ‘Value for Territory’ procurement outcomes.

Last updated: 27 March 2018