Port Phillip case rare, says CIPSA

By Rob O’Brien

The procurement practices of the City of Port Phillip do not reflect the real issues in local government purchasing and are a rare case of misjudgement, according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPSA).

Procurement procedures at the Victorian council were heavily criticised last month in a report by the Victorian Ombudsman, which found procurement at Port Phillip was mismanaged with a lack of oversight and governance, as well as a conflict of interest.

CEO of CIPSA Australia Jonathan Dutton said issues such as the collaboration between councils and the Buy Australia campaign were more pressing.

“Generally speaking the procurement profession has extremely high standards of ethics and probity, it’s rare for there to be incidences of poor practice like that,” he said.

“In other professions it’s not so rare. We tend to treat cases like that as isolated examples.”

Mr Dutton said there was momentum in local government procurement around areas such as improving capability and professional and process development.

“Those initiatives are underway in lots of different councils,” he said.

Mr Dutton said that there were a wide range of challenges in local government procurement.

“Perhaps the most obvious one is the challenge of collaboration and aggregation, that is councils working together to benefit from greater volumes,” he said.

“That’s still an obvious challenge and is not grasped by local government – it’s an opportunity gone missing.”

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