July 20, 2018
The South Burnett Regional Council will move to a new purchasing system in an effort to buy more goods and services from local businesses.
At the July meeting, Councillors voted to kill off the existing Preferred Supplier Panels when they expire in November and move to a new Tender Consideration Plan instead.
The new plan would initially last two years, with the possibility of being extended for a further two to three years.
Under current arrangements, registers for preferred suppliers are opened roughly every two years, and local businesses who want to be included on them have to go through an accreditation process.
The system’s operations are detailed in Section 232 of the Local Government Regulation 2012, and Councillors were told they are far from ideal.
The Preferred Supplier system gave the Council very little flexibility, officers said.
The panels couldn’t be refreshed each year; the costs of administering them were high; they slowed the delivery of goods and services; and they remained the same for the two-year life of each panel (or even longer, if the panel was extended).
This meant businesses which missed a panel’s creation were “locked out” of the system for two or more years until new panels were created.
However, Section 230 of the Regulation detailed an alternative system called a Tender Consideration Plan.
Officers felt this would be better in light of the Council’s move last year to adopt cloud-based software that helps ensure all its suppliers comply with relevant requirements for insurances, licences, qualifications etc.
Under the new system, the Council will create six supplier panels for Dry Hire, Wet Hire, Trade Services for Minor Building Works, Electrical Works, Road Making and Quarry Materials, and Pest Management.
The panels would be reviewed annually to update pricing data and add or subtract categories, products or trades.
Suppliers could be dropped from a panel for poor performance, and new suppliers could be added during the life of a panel if Council officers made a business case for it.
Councillors were told the new arrangement would give the Council more flexibility and reduce the cost and paperwork associated with Preferred Supplier Panels, while at the same time addressing probity, transparency and governance concerns.
Officers said other aims of the Tender Consideration Plan were to give the Council more flexibility to support local business and industry and improve overall efficiency.
Councillors voted unanimously to move over to the new system, which is expected to begin operating before the end of the year.
McCullough Robertson Lawyers have been retained to prepare the documentation for the panel arrangements.
They will also prepare the advertisement that will announce the new system and invite local businesses to register for one or more of the new panels.