By Paul Hemsley
New South Wales Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce has launched the state government’s latest procurement blueprint as Macquarie Street attempts to repair previously strained relationships with the supplier community and deliver better value to taxpayers.
Known as the Strategic Directions Statement, the new guidelines aim to simplify and untangle the state’s highly complex procurement system over the next 18 months.
Issued to industry at a packed function in Sydney on Friday, the new document spells out how state’s Procurement Board will oversee and rationalise procurement contract templates, introduce a competition policy, create cross agency groups and online tools.
The Procurement Board replaced the State Contracts Control Board following legislative changes in July 2012 to create a single and consistent way for procurement to operate. The board consists of the Directors-General from principal departments and accredits agencies to procure goods and services by themselves.
Since the election of the O’Farrell government in 2011, Mr Pearce’s aim has been to reform and simplify the procurement strategies of the previous Labor government to make it easier for businesses to deal with the public sector.
These reforms have included the NSW Government ICT Strategy 2012, which was launched in May 2012 focused specifically on making it easier for information technology vendors to sell their products and services to government.
Another change included abolishing the government’s electronic procurement system Smart Buy because it was too complicated and inefficient for buyers and suppliers. Instead, the O’Farrell government replaced this with another electronic system called NSW Buy, based on an Amazon.com style platform.
Mr Pearce said the Strategic Directions Statement is the government’s procurement charter establishing the plan to engage better with industry and “reduce red tape”.
“The Direction Statement also sets out the board’s work program and specific actions for each of the strategic directions for the next 12 to 18 months,” Mr Pearce said.
“The NSW Government spends around $13 billion a year on goods and services, and unless we get our procurement practices right we will not get value for money or improve the quality of government services.”
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