NSW talks-up ‘plain English’ supplier paperwork

By Staff Writers

The NSW government has wasted little time in hard-selling its move to decentralise procurement and promote greater competition between suppliers, with state Finance and Services minister Greg Pearce claiming that recent contracts to 12 suppliers show the controversial shake-up is working.

Mr Pearce said that the latest contracts had axed costly management fees paid by suppliers to government agencies, a feature of previous procurement deals that had been highly unpopular with smaller suppliers to government.

The contracts announcement is the latest salvo in a series of procurement reforms that include 'plain English' documentation for suppliers and buyers to cut through the maze of bureaucratic jargon and legalese.

The most recent panel arrangement paraded by the government is for wholesale electrical, plumbing, building and construction hardware and general tools and worth around $16 million. It allows buyers to choose from the dozen suppliers, four of which were small to medium outlets Mr Pearce said.

As part of the unwinding of central procurement, the NSW government says it wants to give more government business to suppliers in the same area as the purchaser.

“The new contract separates retail from wholesale meaning schools, hospitals and police stations can make minor purchases from local hardware suppliers,” Mr Pearce said.

“This provides real opportunities for local businesses who felt shut out of the government procurement process.”

A key complaint of the small businesses has been that they were excluded from competing for government business by policies that essentially favoured a small number of large suppliers.

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