Information for agency buyers
Buy Queensland 2023 commenced on 1 June 2023. It is the latest evolution in the Buy Queensland approach to government procurement. Buy Queensland is made up of the Queensland Procurement Strategy 2023 – Jobs, Economy, Legacy, Confidence (QPS 2023) and the Queensland Procurement Policy 2023 (QPP 2023).
Buy Queensland 2023 is supported by a 3-year implementation program overseen by the Department of Energy and Public Works (DEPW). There are steps agency buyers can take to prepare for Buy Queensland 2023.
To prepare for Buy Queensland 2023, buyers should:
- familiarise themselves with the QPS 2023, QPP 2023 and associated guidance, noting any new requirements and updates to existing requirements including transitional arrangements
- if new to procurement, contact their procurement function and ask for training regarding basic procurement obligations and awareness of Buy Queensland
- register their interest to attend information sessions to be scheduled as part of the implementation of Buy Queensland 2023
- read the Buyer Companion Guide to the Queensland Procurement Policy 2023.
Buy Queensland 2023 Buyer webinar
Watch the webinar to learn more about Buy Queensland 2023 from presenter Megan Collins, Director, Strategy and Frameworks - Policy, DEPW, and hear from a panel of subject matter experts on topics of interest to buyers:
- Sharon Bailey, Deputy-Director General, Queensland Government Procurement, DEPW
- Dominique Lamb, Queensland Small Business Commissioner
- Glen Mann, Chief Procurement Officer, Queensland Health.
Hello. My name is Sharon Bailey. I'm Deputy Director General of Queensland Government Procurement. Welcome to the Buy Queensland 2023 Buyer Webinar. It's terrific to welcome you here this afternoon. We're coming to you across many locations in Queensland, and so I would like to pay my respects to Elders and the traditional owners of the land, acknowledge their connection to land, sea, and community, and pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging. We're really looking forward to bringing Buy Queensland '23 to you this afternoon. This is part of our rollout of the whole program. Today's program will be very interactive and I'm encouraging you to ask as many questions as possible. We have very busy lives with many competing demands upon us, particularly as buyers. We're hoping that Buy Queensland '23 will help simplify that a little. That's part of our ambition to try and streamline and consolidate the policy requirements, and make life easier for you. It'll be a fairly straightforward agenda this afternoon. We're going to kick off with a few tips and tricks of how to get the most out of the webinar. Then Megan Collins is going to walk you through some of the key parts of Buy Queensland, and then there will be a Q&A section with our wonderful guests on the panel. So now I'm going to hand over to Megan Collins, who is a public procurement expert. She has a huge amount of policy experience in this area. She has led the Buy Queensland '23 project and is deeply immersed in this area. She has over 14 years experience in the whole area of procurement policy. And so, Megan, thanks so much for being with us this afternoon.
Thank you, Sharon for that warm welcome. I'd also like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of country throughout Queensland and their connections to land, sea, and community. I pay my respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I'm really delighted to be able to present Buy Queensland 2023 to you today. It's been a long journey, about 18 months of comprehensive research, consultation, benchmarking across a range of countries around the world, and we're now in the thick of rolling that out to you, our buyers and also our suppliers. By way of some key statistics, Buy Queensland was introduced in 2017 and since then, over 70,000 businesses that are registered in Queensland have benefited from Buy Queensland. Of that amount, we have about 44% who have their registration in regional Queensland, and that number grows year on year. So based on our research, we found that Buy Queensland is pretty much nation leading in procurement policy across Australia, and we'd say it stacks up really well against many of the countries overseas. What we've tried to do is make it easier and simpler for you. It's been constructed so that it reflects value for money still as the central tenant, but also looks at what other things we can drive every time we spend money. All right. I'm now going to talk to you about Queensland's procurement framework. So, Buy Queensland is delivered through a policy framework where the strategy sets the direction of the policy, and that's underpinned by a number of outcome areas and actions.
So the way that Buy Queensland will work is the strategy will set the direction, the policy will tell you how to get there, and then we've got guidance and templates, et cetera to help you do that. These cascades then down into your agency procurement procedures, category plans, agency procurement plans, and significant procurement plans. So it's wrapped up really well and can be embedded into your daily procurement activities. We close the loops with an analytics framework which tells us how we are going against Buy Queensland and we actually will be publishing that in the form of a procurement statement. All right. So, strategic direction. I'm now going to talk to you about the four outcome areas on which Buy Queensland is based. Okay. So firstly, jobs. Jobs is about backing our local workforce and backing our local suppliers. It's about making sure that our jobs are quality jobs, that they're safe, and that people are paid fairly. It also looks at how we build our skills and our manufacturing sector. Economy is all about sustainable growth. So in terms of economy, we're looking at how we harness innovation to move forward and other things like how we improve competition by increasing the diversity of the supply base that we use. Not only that, by increasing diversity, we're using our money to deliver social outcomes as well. Legacy is all about looking forward. So in terms of legacy, we're talking about how we're investing our procurement expenditure to benefit generations into the future. So what we do today helps benefit your children tomorrow.
And the last part is confidence, and this is about ensuring that there's confidence that we're delivering excellent and trusted procurement outcomes. So as I mentioned, these four outcome areas, which are set out in the Queensland Procurement Strategy cascade down into the Queensland Procurement Policy and then down into those individual actions and into your day-to-day procurement. I'm going to talk to you now about the differences between what you're used to in Buy Queensland 2017 and what is now introduced to you as part of Buy Queensland 2023. The first thing I'm really excited about in terms of the difference that it makes to your lives in delivering procurement every day is that we've really streamlined that strategy and policy, so we've brought them much closer together in terms of their alignment. You'll notice when you open the procurement strategy that it's very different from the, sorry, the procurement policy that is very different from the policies of the past. It really focuses step by step on the procurement process. Now, we've had some great feedback about this and we've had people telling us that they find it much more intuitive, much more easier to find information so that's really pleasing.
In addition to that, we hope that that will help you when you're dealing with business areas in your day-to-day procurement to show people who may not be overly familiar with procurement, where to find things and how it all hangs together. So hopefully that will make it much easier. And the thing I guess that I think will be quite beneficial to people trying to measure the success of their procurement policy and their procurement activities in government is that we've streamlined the targets and commitments that used to sit in principles one and two of the policy. You'll remember there used to be 15 of those. That's now three and they are three very clear and easy to understand targets. And then the actual commitments have either been converted into very specific policy clauses which tell you what to do. So you're no longer trying to guess what we're getting at with those commitments or they've been transitioned into the strategy. So I think this makes it much, much easier. The other thing that I think will make people's lives a lot easier is the local outcomes aspect. So, we've taken the local benefits test and we've listened through our consultation to the experiences that people are having in implementing that, and we've made that much easier. So we've removed duplication with other Queensland Government policies that existed in that and we're focusing on workforce. In addition to that, for this local benefits test, there's a minimum threshold weighting of 10%. Category councils will be able to change that in terms of the specialties that exist in their categories, but it won't be able to go below 10%. We're continuing our support for ethical suppliers.
We've elevated the supplier code of conduct policy level and given it some backing in the policy, and of course the ethical supplier threshold still applies. For our food and beverage suppliers. We're reminding them of their obligations with respect to animal welfare laws, and we've also given some very strong signalling in the policy by recognising the compliance function and articulating that function a little bit better in the policy. In terms of innovation and flexibility, buyers are encouraged to apply flexible procurement techniques to help secure innovative outcomes. For example, we've made it clear that buyers may wish to use pilots or trials when they're looking at procuring from an innovative supplier. We've also introduced set-asides and made them quite clear in the policy. Set-asides assist you to target your activities to achieve government outcomes so that you can then quarantine the types of suppliers that you're looking at using to assist you to do that. Now this must be used judiciously and there'll be some guidance coming out to support you to do that. We're improving agency coordination and reducing duplication by removing some of the barriers that people told us about with respect to common use supply arrangements. This is quite a simple change in that we'll be requiring a presumption of open access to our common use supply arrangements unless there's a good reason for there not to be. And if that's the case, that needs to be specified within the arrangement. All right, in terms of the new things you're going to hear about Supply Chains of State Significance.
This is about supporting that local manufacturing, boosting Queensland content, and managing risks to our critical supply chains. Work will start shortly on guidance development for Supply Chains of State Significance, and then the work will come in terms of looking at what some of those supply chains should be. The next thing we'll be talking about is intergenerational value from our major projects. So this is where projects are valued at $100 million or more. We want to very clearly flag the intention that when we're undertaking this type of expenditure, that we're thinking about the benefits that roll on year on year after those projects so that there's some value that goes to the community for quite a while after those projects happen. We're also elevating the profile of environment in procurement. There's already a number of economy-wide targets around emissions reduction. We're introducing with our colleagues from the Department of Science and Environment, a procurement specific target. There'll be some work to happen with our categories on that target to make sure that we're targeting the right things with that, but that will also start to happen soon, starting off with some baselining in some of those key categories. Another thing that we're doing is focusing on making it easier for suppliers. So, one of those things that we're doing is making it mandatory. If you're conducting a tender process, it's mandatory that you offer a debriefing.
Also, we're looking at making invitation and contract documentation simpler and easier to use by looking at that critically and introducing plain language to it, and asking in our tenders for relevant information only. So that sounds like asking for relevant information only would be fairly common sense thing to do. We're just trying to make sure that we reinforce it so people are really thinking about that when they're going out. The other things that you can do that are fairly easy is to be vigilant to ensure that you're paying supply invoices on time and keeping them moving. In terms of evolving our procurement capability, for departments, this includes procurement functional maturity assessments, and also certification targets that those departments will establish. We're also introducing a requirement for any employee coming in to undertake a procurement role that they must have undertaken some basic procurement training before they start. And there's a range of services that we offer that are free to assist new employees to do that. We're conscious that some departments offer their own services in that already as well. One of the last things I'd like to talk about is that we've made sure that we've clarified the behavioural expectations for procurement officers in the policy. So by doing this, we've made it clear those expectations in relation to things like gifts and benefits and we've contextualised that for procurement.
So while obligations may exist in other instruments, we've tried to be helpful to our buyers and contextualise that for procurement so that you are very clear and aware of what your obligations are. Now, as you can imagine, there's quite a large implementation piece that goes alongside of this. So executive government has agreed to an implementation plan and that plan we think will take about three years to roll out. So this is about achieving deep and lasting change. The initial rollout of the new strategy and policy will take departments a number of months to do and particularly for those more complex departments, it will probably take a little while longer. But we want a program that's really going to embed that change deeply. It's an extensive program, it will drive significant change and there's over 30 deliverables in it. So some of those deliverables are as simple as making sure we communicate the new policy, but others are about significant changes to guidance. As part of those significant changes, we're establishing a senior officer's group, which will work very closely with us in terms of making sure that changes to guidance make sense and are practical and implementable. The Queensland Government Procurement Committee will oversight the implementation program with regular reporting and they will assist us in terms of providing advice to us and also helping us remove any barriers to implementation. Very soon we'll be looking for our deliverable leads to assist us in the implementation plan. So your agency, if it has a role in implementation, may soon be asked to assist by contributing to that implementation.
There's been a lot of content here today and I think you may be sitting there going, what is there to help me? I guess the first thing is we've got a dedicated website, so please if you haven't already, jump onto the website and have a look through at all of the new documentation. Also, keep an eye out for our e-newsletters. They'll contain regular updates on what's happening and where we're going, and more importantly, let you know when there might be some more training rollout or other road shows, et cetera. There is something new that I particularly like to draw your attention to. We've produced a buyer companion guide for the first time that sits alongside the Queensland Procurement policy. If you haven't already, please go and have a look. It does go through clause by clause the Queensland Procurement Policy and give a good explanation of why each clause is important and what it means. So I think that's probably a really good resource, particularly for people that are new to the Queensland Procurement Policy. I guess we'd call on you as advocates of the policy. Please spread the word around your agency. Don't hesitate to promote it and get in touch with us if there's anything that's concerning you or you're looking for support, and please even just let us know how implementation's going in your agency so that we can address as we need to to refine it as we go. As I said, it's a three year program. We expect the peak of activity to be in that first year and then it will be more around the embedment. Now that dispenses with the official presentation today and now we're moving on to our interactive segment. So please feel free if you have questions, Sharon mentioned to start putting them in, please start typing those into your chat function.
We'd love to be able to ask you questions and I have my laptop here and the questions will be relayed to me, and I'll be passing those onto the panel. So, I'd now like to introduce our panel. So we have, we are lucky enough today to have an expert panel with us, very authoritative. We have Sharon who you’ve already met earlier today. Sharon brings a wealth of corporate and policy expertise across federal and state governments, and Sharon's equally comfortable dealing with social policy reform or economic reform. Sharon has a big job. She's currently responsible for how government spends over tens of billions of dollars each year. So there's a a lot sort of riding on Sharon's expertise with that. And she's also responsible for the general goods and services category and management of the government fleet. So welcome, Sharon.
Thank you, Megan.
Welcome, Dominique. Really pleased to have you here today to meet with us. So, for anybody who doesn't know Dominique, Dominique is our Small Business Commissioner since December last year and we are very glad to have you here today, Dominique. Dominique has helped with the Queensland Government Small Business Study, the Small Business Survey, and the upcoming Understanding Migrant Small Business Research Project. And formally as a CEO of the National Retail Association, Dominique played an integral role in development of the federal leasing code throughout the COVID lockdown period with industry organisations representing landlords and tenants. So thank you, Dominique.
Thanks for having me.
Yes, most welcome. Glen, CPO of Queensland Health. So welcome today. I'm sure there's going to be many buyers who are looking very forward to your insights as part of looking after a large and complex agency. So Glen recently joined the Department of Health in the position of CPO from Urban Utilities where he was head of procurement and supply. The role was responsible for driving an uplift in maturity across the procurement function, maintaining compliance and probity standards, whilst also delivering on return on investment and environmental, social, and governance targets. Glen has significant experience leading large scale, multi-billion dollar spend, and multinational procurement and supply teams. He has worked on engagements with private and public healthcare clients, which included the delivery of whole of function procurement transformation programs. Glen is a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Australia and holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master of business administration. So welcome, Glen.
Thank you very much.
Okay. Now before we hand over to the audience questions, I'm going to give the panel an opportunity to tell us about some things that are important to them and share some information. Sharon, I think I'll start with you. Look, I think there'll be a few buyers out there who are wondering, well, why did we even need a new Buy Queensland?
- Megan, I think you've hit upon a couple of key factors in your presentation. I mean, one, it has been a long time. Six years is a long time in government, it's a long time anywhere. So it was a good opportunity to update and take account of things that have happened over that period. It's been a really reform heavy time for procurement. All jurisdictions are looking to procurement to do more, but particularly in Queensland, I think there's been an ambition to be nation leading and that's led to a whole range of reforms like the ethical supply threshold and the ethical supply mandate. So we needed to consolidate that into the policy and update and make that clear. That said, we also needed to streamline things. It was like we had cobbled on a whole range of extensions to the existing 2017 policy. It's time now to step back, look at it and streamline that and make that clear to people. And certainly we had a lot of feedback over the last six years and we've been able to incorporate that into this, both the strategy and the policy. Particularly I think the policy now follows a very logical procurement flow. So it works through the steps of procurement and guides buyers through what their accountabilities are at each point and directs them to guidance that can assist. So I think that's been a key part of the feedback we've heard from buyers over time. We've listened and adjusted that and I think that is a great example of best practice.
Fabulous, thank you. Dominique, in your role as Small Business Commissioner, I'm sure you've heard about the experiences of small business dealing with government procurement. Taking into account Buy Queensland 2023, what do you think government has done well and should consider keeping doing.
Well, I think having targets of certainly 30% going to small business is incredibly important. So at the moment there's 473,000 small businesses across Queensland. They make up about 97% of our private employment within the state. So they have a lot to offer and I think where you get a government saying this is our target, it means that they are more likely or more inclined to want to tender. And I think that certainly for this audience, it's really important to help them do that. And some of what you can do in order to do it is make sure that obviously things are in plain language. If there are requirements particularly around insurance, to make sure they are right sized, certainly looking at what is actually needed for the particular project. Look at pilots, look at potentially breaking certain projects into smaller ones so that the small businesses and operators are able to be part of that process. And of course once you get them on board, we really need to make sure they get paid on time. So, the 20 days is incredibly important to their cashflow. Making sure they register with the small business register is also really important. But at the end of the day I think it's about opportunity and certainly confidence in the market, and this gives small business confidence.
Fabulous. Thank you. Glen, how do you see Buy Queensland 2023 helping Queensland Health deliver a sustainable healthcare system?
Right, okay, so clearly it's going to be crucial for us in terms of sustainability. We see sustainability in a couple of different pieces. So probably the first bit sustainability to us is around making sure we've actually got the goods and services we need for the hospital network and for all the clinics and the various places across Queensland. If we don't have the right goods and/or people, we've got a problem. So, having Buy Queensland and having local suppliers provide that definitely gives us an advantage, not just in knowing who the people actually are. So if we need to, we can contact them directly and have some influence, but also too, and just being able to have some confidence that the supply chains are short, the people are available, the goods are there. Absolutely crucial for us in terms of making sure we've got what we need to do our job. Second part of sustainability for us is financial sustain sustainability. The health system is quite an expensive beast to run and we need to make sure that we are focused on being able to maintain the high level of care going out. Well, as far as the eye can see and probably quite a lot further than that. So for us to buying locally not just makes sense in terms of putting money into local economy, creating more local jobs, but also too generally we're cutting out a lot of people 'cause profits go overseas, interstate, and when we're importing goods, we're going through multiple sets of hands. So if we can cut all of that out and buy locally, that absolutely supports our goals. And then the third piece for us around sustainability is probably what a lot of people think of, sustainability is environmental sustainability. Not only do goods coming from outside of Queensland have a much bigger carbon footprint. In many instances we're shipping a lot of air around the world, which is really very frustrating. But also too, in terms of their packaging, goods that are imported have much more packaging associated with them, a much higher level of packaging waste. So for us buying locally, buying from Queensland businesses, it ticks so many boxes. It is really important for us to set up the whole health system for, well, to be sustainable health system for the next, for generations to come.
Yes. Very interesting. I'm very interested in your comments around imported goods and I guess what are some of the things that some of the practical strategies that you're using to really bring those local suppliers in?
So we're trying to break it down a little bit to understand what is a sensible thing to go after in terms of actually having a proactive category strategy. So we're not looking at the items that are currently not even made anywhere in the southern hemisphere. That's probably not a good place to start looking. We're looking at things that absolutely can and are made locally. And certainly there are lots of small businesses out there that make products that they sell into other jurisdictions or overseas. And if we can bolt onto that, if we can be additional volumes for them, then that's a relatively quick and easy path to market for us.
We're also aware that there's a lot of people out there who would love to create something to sell into Queensland Health. We also encourage that, but we also would suggest they have some patience in their approach because we've got significant regulatory hurdles to get over. It's not a matter of yes, we've got this new product we'd like to sell to you. There's registration, there's trials, there's a whole lot of things. Don't say it's impossible and I love it if people start to think big. But yeah, we just need to be focusing on. So for us the strategies are what are the really easy things to do? And how do we work with them? And very much how do we look at, not just Buy Queensland but buy locally. Because the health network is all of Queensland.
We would like people in Townsville to supply to the Townsville hospitals. We would like people in, if there's businesses in Roma that can supply to the Roma hospital, great. That would be fabulous.
Yep. Lovely. That's great and I guess with that whole structure, you do have that much greater capacity to get into those local areas. So it's good to hear you're very conscious of that. Very good. Sharon, I think this one's for you. So James would like to know in relation to category plans, will category councils look to make category plans more readily available?
I think so. I think that's very important. Category plans need to influence agency plans. And so being clear and being able to communicate that out to agencies is a really important step. And of course the category plans set that ambition, particularly in regard to our targets on local indigenous and small business, and have some of the practical ways of doing that that then can inform agency plans. So absolutely, we will be looking at how we can share those. We also need to be mindful that sometimes they're quite large documents and it's about how do we share the key pieces that are the most useful to people. So we are absolutely working on that.
Fabulous and I guess sort of related to that, we've got some questions coming in about arrangements. So people are quite interested in the arrangements part of things. The first question that we have is, are all standing offer arrangements to be listed in the Queensland Contracts Directory?
That is absolutely the case. Now we have a new directory, which is wonderful because the old one is a little antiquated. So we've got a new directory that we're putting up there and we're currently migrating data into that. While we're migrating that data, we're checking it and making sure that there's as little duplication as possible. So it will be much easier to search on that directory than it has been previously. And my data and analytics team have done a fantastic job on that piece. So that'll be coming very soon. We're just migrating the data as we speak and a lot of arrangements are already in there. It won't be long until that happens. I'll also put in a plug that we're in the process of replacing QTenders. Also a little creaky so I think we're just in the middle of finalising supplier arrangements in that regard and it will be rolled out in modules. I'm hoping by the end of this year the first module will be rolled out. But I think that will make life so much easier for buyers and suppliers. So Buy Queensland '23 is the fantastic kind of overarching framework. Gives us the strategy and the policy, but we're not leaving it there. We're doing a lot of work on the mechanisms that support procurement to try and update them and make them much more user-friendly so that we are trying to make life easier for both buyers and suppliers.
Yep, yep. That's good. And I guess sort of very closely linked to that, I talked about earlier this presumption of open access and Sandra would like to know, can we explain a little bit more about what we mean by making sure there's open access to arrangements?
So I think in the past we've had some arrangements that have been established and they've only been able to be accessed by the department that's established them. We're sort of clarifying standards around establishing those arrangements and as much as possible, we're working with agencies to make sure if you're establishing SOA that it's open to all agencies. Now there will be a couple, there will be some exceptions where that isn't appropriate but for the most part, if we're going to the work of establishing an arrangement, we need to make it as accessible as possible. That's good for buyers, that's good for suppliers instead of having to be on multiple arrangements, which are doing very simple similar things. So I think that's part of this migration of data. Everyone's looking at their arrangements, making sure that they're fit for purpose and we've established standards for establishing those arrangements so that they are able, as much as possible, to be accessed by all buyers, but that they're easier to understand as well. And hopefully the search engine at the front of the new directory makes it much easier to find what you're looking for.
That's great. That's really, really good. I think that'll be incredibly helpful. Look, the next question from Sharon from TMR is around, I think this will be one I'd like to get the perspective of large agency on and also the perspective of industry advocate on. So Sharon has asked, will there be any support and guidance provided to suppliers and industry to build their capability with filling out procurement documents, learning how to supply and so on? So,
So at the moment there is a whole raft of material available through the mentors for growth. There are people you can access to teach you how to tender. There've been a whole raft of sort of online training and things that have occurred throughout small business month in order to get people ready for this. And certainly in the lead up to Olympics, this is really very much a focus of many of the industry organisations as well as multiple departments including the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small business, and Training. That's quite the mouthful. But they're certainly working with small business to make sure they are ready, that they can make sure that they are eligible, and that they have all the information that's there. And I know in the background there's a lot of tech work going into that as well so that hopefully we'll get to a point where they've just got to put it in once and it'll populate everything and make things much easier for them.
Yeah. That's great.
And certainly from our side on a practical nature, we will be doing industry briefings where we are going to be going out to local areas, especially with health 'cause we don't just buy for our existing hospitals. We're also building a whole lot of new hospitals. So, in order to go out and to educate the market, we'll be having some industry briefings because we're hopeful that a lot of the goods and services going into the new hospitals, they can be procured locally through local vendors. Some of them may have little or no experience supplying into government. So we'll work very closely with them and see what we can do to help them get on board. Because in a lot of instances the feedback we get is it's difficult to deal with government.
We need to overcome that because we're missing out, we're missing some golden opportunities. So we will be making sure we have some practical briefings And yeah, and it's exciting too because there's people out there who may be making something that's almost what we want. And we need to work with them to say, well, we've got a two or three year plan, how do we get you to exactly where we want?
Of course, Megan, we are continuing our Buy Queensland road shows later this year where we bring buyers along to talk to suppliers and have that connection to provide suppliers with information about the policy. Make sure that they're aware of all those fantastic programs that exist to support them. And I think as we're getting better with things like smart forms that do make it easier for suppliers to apply, we're working across agencies to sort of showcase those examples of best practice so that more and more where we can, we're picking up things that are making it easy for people to apply and simplify our documentation. Getting that right balance between what we need to do to be accountable and transparent, but not so much that we're almost torturing our suppliers and making it so hard for them. So trying to get that balance right and there's a lot of work to be done there.
Yes. I think you've picked up on something that Ross is interested in knowing about here. So Ross has asked, how do we reconcile the need to simplify our engagement with small business with the increasing due diligence required to meet policy requirements? So any further comment on the small business side?
Look, I don't think small business are incapable of meeting those requirements. I think it's a matter of them understanding exactly what that is. So I think that where there is obviously added requirements for them to be compliant in whatever it might be, it's about making sure that it is in that plain language that you pick up the phone and have a discussion. If you've got particular small businesses that you think are the kinds of small businesses that should be going through this process talk to them, hold a forum, explain what you're looking for, explain what needs to be done and what that needs to look like. And then also make sure it's right sized. We hear lots about things like ANZ codes and having to be ISO X, Y, and Z in order to be able to tender, amongst other things. That is not the case in all, I guess, matters. And it's just about having that conversation looking at, do they need it right now or do they need it by the time that they win and they start? What does that look like? Do they submit a plan? Just talking them through the process of what is required of them more than anything else.
And I think it never hurts to go back and look at your tender documentation. Because they are, we accrete kind of new requirements over time and I know having been through a recent procurement process we went through, we stripped out so many questions that were no longer necessary or were really just variations on what we'd already asked. And I think would, again, just weren't necessary. And even having done that once we went through and found more. So I think it's just really looking at it with that view to what do we actually need to know to be accountable and to make a good assessment of this supplier, and stripping out what's not there. Everyone always feels very nervous about taking away questions and somehow that there will be a problem. But I think stepping back and looking at that is incredibly important. And then if you're moving to another phase in the procurement, not asking the same thing again and again. Because if you've already got an answer, there's no need to ask again, people think that you don't believe them or that you're trying to trick them or it's a trick question. So I think that really intense interrogation of what we're asking, even though it may be the same document we've used for 10 years, that's time to look at it and say, do we really need this information? What's the level of risk here and doing that risk assessment to help you and them so you make a good decision. I also note some departments are doing things, as Dominique said, putting short videos on their, when they go out to tender of someone explaining what it is because we all have dialects and some of that language makes sense to us. It may not make sense to some of our suppliers, particularly new entries into the supply market. So a short video just explaining in plain language what it is you're after can be incredibly clarifying for people and encouraging them to ring and ask questions so that you can do that. Really important. Similarly, the debriefing process that we outline in the policy, extremely important. A lot of suppliers have, when they've had a great debriefing session, have said, I didn't win the tender but that was such valuable feedback, I'm now changing my whole approach 'cause now I understand what people are talking about is so, that information is just so critical.
Okay. Fiona's asked a question as well, she'd like to know with the Queensland Procurement Policy, having an addressable spend target with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. Well, what's the relationship between the Indigenous Procurement Policy and the Queensland Procurement Policy?
So it is what we call a procurement-related policy but it is one of the targets that is contained within the Queensland Procurement Strategy and the procurement policy. So it's incredibly important to us. As Megan says, we've streamlined our targets. We have three now, three areas and that is that local benefit, indigenous, and SMEs. So the 3% target is a key part of our strategy. It's administered by the Department of Treaty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Culture and the Arts. I hope I got that right. And we work closely with that agency to promote the policy to do things which support achievement of the policy. Megan mentioned the set-asides being very clear. Now procurement professionals have always used set-asides but in a government context sometimes people feel a bit anxious about that. And while it was always possible under the previous policy, we wanted to put it up front in this policy and make it absolutely crystal clear that it is a very valid and legitimate mechanism for procurement and so it's in the policy now. So I think we're working very closely with the agencies to look at how do we support that and our data team works closely with that their data team to make sure that we're monitoring and getting that information out as well. So I think it's very, it's integrated, it's integral to our process going forward is how I'd see it.
All right. Another question for you Dominique, I think to those procurement people out there who are keen to use procurement to deliver value for money outcomes that also make a difference to people's lives, what would you say?
Oh look, I think that some of the things that Sharon's just touched on are incredibly important. I mean obviously Buy Queensland 2023 is also about creating a legacy for the state. It's not just about getting the best value for money, it's also about making sure that we are making I think decisions or ethical decisions that mean that we are all collectively investing in some of these areas, including indigenous business, whether it be small business, whatever it is. At the end of the day, I think where you look at true sort of diversity principles and things like making sure that where monitoring modern slavery or whether we're looking at ensuring that we're preventing domestic and family violence through the procurement policy and through some of our choices, they make big impacts on the ground in those communities especially where people like certainly Queensland Health go about sourcing from those local communities. So at the end of the day, it's about legacy, right? And I think having a policy that is so strong about what its values are and what the values of what we're looking to see in Queensland is really important.
Thank you. Now Jessica has a question which goes back to our arrangements discussion earlier. Jessica would like to know, will existing arrangements need to be reviewed and opened to all agencies?
So, not necessarily. We would hope that as you're migrating that data, that you are reviewing that arrangement. I mean it doesn't mean that we are saying you must open it up. There may be very good reasons and it may be an arrangement that really is only of interest to a couple of agencies. So it's not a must. I think it's really about having a look at what's there, at what you're migrating. Is it still fit for purpose? Has it run out? There were a few on the old directory that had expired. So is it fit for purpose? If it needs to be closed, why? And be just clear about why that is. It doesn't necessarily mean you need to open it up but I think going forward as we establish arrangements, again it's being, it's with intention being clear that generally it's very good if we're going to the effort of establishing arrangements and putting suppliers to the effort of going through those hoops and being on those arrangements and panels that they are getting the biggest buck out for it which means being available to all agencies. But that also you are getting what you need out of it as well by attracting the right suppliers. So yeah, really it's about as we go forward. But yeah, it's always helpful to review and look at what you already have established. And sometimes I'm very aware that sometimes it's not our procurement professionals who've done the establishing of the arrangements or the panels and they may be surprised at other areas of their department who've come up with some of those panels and arrangements. So always good to have a bit of a look.
Thank you. Robert would like to know, he'd like to ask a little bit more about debriefing and Robert would like to know how we might apply the requirements in terms of all tenders received or would it just be those tenders that are tenderers who've been shortlisted? And Robert is asking this in terms of the administration requirements might blow out if there's a requirement for all tenders, particularly routine procurement. Does the panel have a view?
I’ll kick off and then I'll maybe hand over. So I think there are things, I mean when I've been in an evaluation panel, I'm always really conscious as I'm working through the evaluation of how do I explain this to people? So how am I clear about that? So I think I'd probably respond in two ways. One, it never hurts to have a statement of reasons about that you might want to post more generally about what was hopefully the criteria are very clear for assessment. But if you're feeling that there are a lot of people that might approach you, you might want a general statement of reasons around what was more highly prized or a little bit of a statement of the pool and why particular things, I guess the particular outcomes came. So, you might want to have a general statement of reasons as a way of cutting down that individual supplier briefing. But generally if people are coming to you with a question, it's for a very good reason. And so being able to respond in some way is really important. So I understand that there is a fear about the level of work. People also get worried about probity when they're doing debriefing as well. But I think it's again, thinking that through and getting that balance right. I know that, as I said, when you're going through the evaluation process, you're pretty clear in your mind about what's important and why people have been assessed higher than others. So at that point it really does help to write that down because you may be doing a range of panels. And so providing specific feedback a month or two down the track may be tricky. So keeping those contemporaneous notes, having a little general sort of statement is incredibly helpful. And then being able to respond. So I think it's always about getting that balance. Suppliers have said to me sometimes that debriefing can really help them make the decision about whether supplying to government is right for them or not. Which saves them and you as buyers an awful lot of time. If they've decided no, actually, now I understand what you're after, that's not my market. That's incredibly valuable. And so sometimes having that conversation can be kind of really life-changing for those suppliers and help you in terms of getting appropriate people to apply.
And certainly from an agency perspective, it's really good procurement practice. If you want to be a good category manager and you are not talking to the suppliers in your category, you need to have a think about the best way to approach the market. It's just good procurement practice. Yes, there's work required to go back and talk to the suppliers, but we, well my observation so far, we're not putting enough effort into engaging the supply market. A big part of Buy Queensland '23 is about innovation and we would need to innovate the way that we go to market. We need to innovate the way that we conduct all these exercises. But the suppliers also offer an awful lot of innovation, especially small businesses. They've got some great ideas. And if you're sending out tenders and getting a response back and just quite frankly, following the process from six years ago or earlier, you are missing out on engaging the market properly, you're not understanding. And a supplier who misses out this time, they might take the advice on board and they might do some amazing things and they'll come back very quickly with a much better offering and we all benefit from that. So understand that there's more work to it and especially if you're doing a very large tender, maybe that'll help inform how you go to market in the first place. So if you're running an open market tender, when you really could have been selective if you applied the innovation upfront, maybe that'll help inform how people actually go about and getting the best value for all of us.
And look, as we travel around the state, what we hear from small business is not necessarily a complaint about not winning. It's a complaint about no communication.
I think it really is about just understanding and I like the idea of having sort of a blanket, these people didn't get it because of this and then having the one-on-ones with others at another level because that's what they need. They just want to have a conversation and know that you received it, you did see it, you did read it. The effort wasn't lost. And you're right, they do pivot very quickly but it's just about communicating with them.
Okay. Thank you. Glen, what's your advice for other large complex agencies that are implementing Buy Queensland?
Don't know if I'm in a great position to give them advice 'cause they're certainly very capable and confident in doing themselves. But generally I would think that it's all about focusing on the right things. Making sure that you have a clear multi-year strategy for the different categories and subcategories. And identifying the little parcels of work that you can set aside for certain, either we're chasing a local supplier in a certain piece or whether it's a First Nations business, or however you want to approach that. But chunk it down. Don't just broadcast it and expect to get and all of a sudden 30% local content. That's unlikely to happen. Be targeted and focused and have a think about the processes you used 'cause I mentioned just before, a big part of this is using innovative procurement practices. If we have, what goes back to the category plan, how are you going to go to market? What are you going to do and why? And think it through. If we use this particular tool and this particular contracting mechanism, we're going to get ourselves into this position. Is that where we want to be, yes or no? And if we think that through and you have the Buy Queensland '23 lens on that as well, you'll get a better outcome. So that'd be my advice. For what it's worth, I'm sure that the other agencies are well-capable of delivering by themselves.
Absolutely but I think you're right, it's easy to be overwhelmed by some of the work and maybe, yeah, chunking it down and picking, okay, we're maybe not doing so well on our indigenous procurement. This year that's going to be a real focus for us and we're going to work on that sort of approach. I think as you say, Glen, it's just about chunking it down, not trying to boil the ocean.
I think engagement though on some of those things as well. Like don't be afraid to reach out to, there's so many groups, so certainly our department has a great indigenous small business group that is operating that you could always reach out to and get some tips about how to engage plenty of industry organisations that are absolutely prepared to help in terms of how do you target a particular type or demographic to make sure that they are open to actually putting their hat in the ring. So, reach out and learn a bit about it.
Yes, yes. Good comment. Look, I think we've got time for one more substantial question before we sort of get into our final observations. So time is against us, unfortunately. Look, Sharon, one thing that I'd really be interested in hearing from you, so look, Buy Queensland approach, it has high potential for securing great outcomes, we've talked about that in the panel today. But what I think we'd like to know is what support is currently available to buyers to help them enhance their capability and maximise that potential that sits there.
Terrific. Thanks, Megan. You talked a little bit about that in the presentation about for the first time we've got a companion, a buyer's companion to the new strategy and policy. I think that's a really valuable place to start. There is, one of the things I was struck by when I first joined Queensland Government Procurement was the huge range of guidance that exists and still exists and is still really helpful in terms of a whole range of those procurement areas. We also have a community of practice and I know many of the people online today will have been attended those community of practices. Again, a great way to support, I mean I often say our buyers, I have that issue of procurement is invisible if it goes well and if it doesn't go well, if there's a problem, everyone's got an opinion and got suggestions. So our buyers are doing really, I think, great work and have many challenges in front of them. They're often the meat in the sandwich of trying to get everything right. We want to support them through the community of practice, the guides that we have, the guidance material, our capability uplift programs. There's a whole range of work there. But also as Dominique just pointed out to our Department of Youth Justice, Small Business, Employment, and Training runs a whole range of programs. The Department of Treaty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Communications and the Arts has a whole range of expertise all there wanting to support buyers and link them in with the resources that are necessary for those particular target areas. So I think we want to continue that. We'll continue our road shows later this year and we've recently, of course, celebrated our buyers in the Buyer Awards. So we'll continue. It's really important for us to support you to do your job. You're at the coalface doing the hard work. We want to support you. If there are other things that you would like us to do, please let us know. But we are very keen to support you. The model is centrally enabled, agency-led so it really is the agency buyers at the forefront here, and we want to just make, try and make their life as easy as possible.
Thank you, Sharon. Look, we've got two minutes left for the final sort of, I guess round out statements. So look, I'm going to start with you Glen, but what should buyers take away from Buy Queensland 2023?
So, in a third of two minutes. So yeah, for me it's all about this is a great opportunity to be more innovative. You're being encouraged to be innovative. You've been encouraged to have a really good critical think about why you're doing what you're doing. And think about the outcomes we're trying to achieve from it. So I think it's an excellent opportunity. You're explicitly given permission to be, to think outside the box and to apply new techniques. So that's what I would take away as a buyer.
Thank you. Dominique.
I think this is a great opportunity just to do things a bit differently really. It's not about going to the same people that we would always buy from. It's about looking out there and seeing what else and what's new and what you can find. And really creating a kind of a long-term legacy within the economic environment of Queensland that is going to have real impacts on some of those communities.
I think government procurement is an incredibly noble profession. People I know our buyers are trying to get as much value for the community as possible, not only in the goods and services, but that extra added value of making sure money goes into the Queensland community and hits those cohorts where we know we'll get the most value. And so, I think Buy Queensland '23 supports that ambition and gives you the capacity to undertake that work.
Thank you. Look, thank you to our wonderful panel today who've been so generous with your time and sharing your knowledge and expertise. I'm really grateful, I know on behalf of the buyers who are also very grateful about the time you've generously given us today. So thank you so much. Look, get excited about it. Buy Queensland 2023. You've heard some great thoughts today about giving you permission to think outside the square and also jump on the website, have a look at some of our offerings around capability, et cetera. Procurement is a great career. There's so much capacity to make a difference. So have a look at that. Now, we didn't get to everybody's questions today, but don't worry, we're going to respond to everybody. So everybody's question will be answered and we'll make those available so everybody can see what was asked. But for those of you that did submit questions, thank you very much. It really contributed to a great panel discussion and I hope you got a lot of value from that. So I think from Queensland Government Procurement, we'd like to thank you for joining us today and we hope you get a lot of value out of implementing Buy Queensland 2023. And please reach out if you need anything from us. So thank you very much and on behalf of the panel, thank you today.
The Buy Queensland 2023 Buyer webinar presentation slides (PDF, 559.65 KB) are available for download.
Due to the volume of questions submitted live online, not all questions were able to be answered during the webinar. The Buy Queensland 2023 Buyer webinar questions and answers are available for download (PDF, 199.13 KB).
Procurement resources and guidance is available for agency buyers, including information on strategies, policies and templates related to Queensland Government procurement.
Telephone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
- Last updated:
- 27 September 2023