Information for suppliers
Buy Queensland 2023 commenced on 1 June 2023. It is the latest evolution in the Buy Queensland approach to government procurement. Buy Queensland 2023 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 will make it easier for suppliers by:
- enhancing quality and timeliness of information posted on the Queensland Government Forward Procurement Pipeline
- producing an action plan for making it easier to tender for government work through collaboration between key government and industry stakeholder groups
- where a tender has been called, requiring buyers to offer debriefs to all suppliers who have submitted tenders. This will assist suppliers to improve their chances of winning future contracts
- requiring buyers to use plain language and only include relevant information in tendering and contractual documents.
Preparing for Buy Queensland 2023
To prepare for Buy Queensland 2023, suppliers should:
- familiarise themselves with the QPS 2023, QPP 2023 and associated guidance
- register to receive procurement-related news including changes to procurement practices as part of the implementation of Buy Queensland 2023
- read the Buy Queensland 2023 – Supplier Quick Reference Guide.
Buy Queensland 2023 Supplier webinar
Watch the webinar recording to learn more about Buy Queensland 2023 from presenter Megan Collins, Director, Strategy and Frameworks - Policy, Department of Energy and Public Works (DEPW), and hear from a panel of subject matter experts on topics of interest to suppliers:
- 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's Sharon Bailey and I'm Deputy Director-General of Queensland Government Procurement. Welcome to the Buy Queensland 2023 supplier webinar, an interactive webinar that we're using to roll out the new Buy Queensland 2023 policy. It's great to have you with us. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we're coming to you all over Queensland today, and I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the many lands on which we're meeting and pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging. It's terrific to be with you. We know how busy your lives are. We know you have many competing demands. That's why one of the ambitions of Buy Queensland '23 is to be more streamlined and consolidated to try and make life a little easier for our suppliers and our buyers. This afternoon, we're going to be talking you through this approach. It will be an interactive webinar, so please, if you have questions, ask them during the presentation. We have the technology to assist you in submitting those questions, and we'll talk through that a little just shortly. It's going to be very straightforward this afternoon. In a moment, I'll give you a few tips about how to get the most out of today's webinar. Then Megan Collins, who led the Buy Queensland '23 approach, will talk you through what's new, what's different, and then there'll be a panel discussion where we can answer your questions. So now to walk us through Buy Queensland 2023, I'd like to introduce you to Megan Collins. Megan's a public policy professional with 14 years experience in the area of public, sorry, government procurement. And so she has led, as I said, the whole implementation of Buy Queensland '23. She has great subject matter expertise, and I'm going to hand over to her right now. Thank you, Megan.
Thank you, Sharon, and thank you for that warm welcome, and hello to suppliers out there joining us all over Queensland. Before I start, I would also like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of country throughout Queensland and their connections to land, sea, and community. I pay my respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. Look, I'm delighted to be able to be here today presenting Buy Queensland 2023 to you. It took us about 18 months of hard slog. So I guess going through doing comprehensive research, consultation, and benchmarking, basically not only around Australia, but around the world in terms of leading procurement policy. Now, Buy Queensland itself was originally introduced in 2017, and since that time, about 70,000 Queensland registered suppliers have benefited from Buy Queensland. Of that amount, about 44% have their ABNs registered in regional Queensland, and that number is growing year by year. Based on our comprehensive research, we think Buy Queensland 2023 is pretty much nation-leading. We've taken a very serious approach to simplifying Buy Queensland, to making it easier for suppliers to do business with government, and also for our buyers to apply the approach. It reflects the current policy priorities for government, but value for money remains central. Buy Queensland 2023 is supported by a three-year implementation program to embed these changes in government and progress will be reported yearly in the annual procurement statement. Right, I'm now going to talk to you about the four outcome areas which underpin our Buy Queensland approach.
So as part of evolving Buy Queensland, we took a really critical look at our previous strategy and we consolidated it down into four outcome areas, which I'll walk you through now. So they are jobs, economy, legacy, and confidence, and each of those, each of those outcome areas is supported by a strategic objective. So firstly, we have jobs. Now, this is about backing quality local jobs, safe local jobs, and jobs that pay fairly, and it's also about backing our local suppliers while building skills and our manufacturing sector. Economy is about sustainable growth. So harnessing innovation and enhancing competition while achieving social benefit through supplier diversity. Legacy is about looking forward. So this is about how we're investing our major project spend to benefit generations to come. Lastly, confidence. Confidence is about making sure that our procurement function consistently delivers excellent and trusted outcomes. So these particular outcome areas and strategic objectives are delivered through the actions that are set out in our Queensland Government procurement policy. I want to talk to you now about what's changed. So what's different when you look to engage with Queensland Government and the rules that are established for how buyers engage with you? The first thing that I'm excited to talk about is our approach to local benefits. So we've taken a look at how we approach local benefits and we've expanded that to cover all procurement, so including our routine procurement. The good news for suppliers is that in responding to our local benefits test, which applies to our significant procurement, we've now streamlined that to focus on workforce and we've eliminated the duplication with other government policies. So we've responded to the complexity and we've really put our money where our mouth is in terms of making it easier for suppliers to do business with government. We continue to support our ethical suppliers. One way that we've done this is by making our Queensland Government Supplier Code of Conduct mandatory and incorporating that in our policy.
Of course, we are retaining the ethical supplier threshold, which sets out our expectations of what we want to see those suppliers do that deal with us. This helps eliminate unfair advantages that unethical suppliers may have had previously. So it's a quite a level playing field. The other thing that we're looking at is supporting greater supplier diversity and innovation. So buyers are encouraged to apply flexible procurement techniques to support innovation. So this includes being comfortable to do things like have a trial or a pilot when they're looking at procuring an innovative product or service. We're also asking our agencies to make sure that they're reflecting supplier diversity in all of their common use supply arrangements. This is not only when they set the arrangements up, but we expect them to refresh those arrangements that are already in place to reflect Buy Queensland requirements. Set-asides are now recognised in the policy and these help achieve the government targets and commitments that are set. These need to be used judiciously, however, and guidance on these is coming. The other thing that we're doing is responding to suppliers who are looking to see what future opportunities are out there. So really looking at improved timeliness of the information and quality of information on our Queensland Government forward procurement pipeline. As I said, we have some new things as well. The first of those is Supply Chains of State Significance. This is about supporting local manufacturing, boosting Queensland content, and managing risks to our critical supply chains, as well as helping establish and grow new industries. We're driving intergenerational value from our major projects. So we've got a requirement to pursue enduring community value for all of our projects valued at a hundred million dollars or beyond. This is about signalling the intention that we use our major project spend to drive benefits not only now, but for our future generations.
We've also made changes to improve your chances of winning future tenders. Buyers are required to offer debrief to tenderers. Participating in debriefs helps you improve your future offers to government, and it tells you what you might be able to do differently next time to change the outcome. This helps you not only in public procurement, but also if you're undertaking private procurement, you will want to also take the benefit from this to learn how you can do that better as well. We're simplifying our procurement documentation, revising all invitation and contract documentation to flow a plain language approach through that, and make sure that our agencies only ask for things that are truly relevant to the tender at hand. In terms of implementation, so the types of changes that you see coming out of Buy Queensland won't happen overnight. They'll take a little while for agencies to implement. We think maybe two to three months for most agencies and potentially longer for those larger agencies. But what we're really interested in is that deep and lasting change that comes from an evolved approach to doing things better. We think that will take about three years with the spike in activity of implementation to be in that first year. There's over 30 different deliverables that we're looking to achieve in that initial implementation. So that's quite significant and we'll be involving our buyers closely in making those changes. But we'll also be reaching out to our industry and union representatives to make sure that we're getting both perspectives in terms of being able to make that guidance as applicable as possible and to be the best that it can be.
In terms of our implementation program, that's monitored at the highest levels in government. So our Queensland Government Procurement Committee keeps an eye on that and helps us make sure that we're keeping on track with our program. We also have ongoing industry and union consultation through that process as well. Now, we've gone through a lot of content today and you might be wondering what support is out there to help you. We have a comprehensive website with information on it that you're welcome to have a look at, and in fact, we encourage you to jump on there and have a look. I encourage you to sign up for our supplier e-news if you haven't already so that you get the latest news on developments in implementation as they come. Now, what we've done, too, is we've created a supplier resource. It's a quick reference guide, intentionally very short because we know you're busy and there's only certain things that you'll be interested in. Most of the policy is agency-facing, so it won't be of direct relevance to you. But if you're particularly keen, you're welcome to jump on the website and have a look at all of the buyer guidance as well so that you can get a really good idea of what buyers are looking for when they engage with you. You're more than welcome to do that. We encourage you to be our advocates and to get out there in your networks and let people know that there's a new government procurement approach in place and please share your observations on implementation with us. Now, this concludes the presentation section of our webinar today. Look, before we begin the question and answer session, as we said, a reminder that if you have any questions, please type them into your chat function. They'll come through to me on my laptop today and then I'll be relaying them to the panel. So you'll get to hear straight from the panel in respect of your questions. So please don't hesitate to put them up there. I'd now like to introduce you to our panel. We have some very authoritative expertise with us today, very qualified panel members to talk to you. Firstly, you've met Sharon already. Sharon is our deputy director general who manages the procurement framework and Sharon brings a wealth of corporate and policy expertise across both federal and state government, equally comfortable in dealing with economic reform or social policy reform, and she's currently responsible for the whole-of-government procurement policy framework, as I said, which regulates tens of billions of dollars of spend each year. So it's a really critical job to government and has a big flow-on impact to the community and to yourselves as suppliers to government. Sharon is also responsible for one of our big six categories, so the general goods and services category, and management of the government fleet. Welcome, Sharon.
Thank you, Megan.
And we have Dominique Lamb. We're really excited to have Dominique with us today. Dominique has been the Queensland Small Business Commissioner since December last year and is an experienced stakeholder advocate. Dominique was appointed, as I said, last year and has helped with the Queensland Government small business study, the small business survey, and the upcoming Understanding Migrant Small Business Research project. Formerly, as the CEO of the National Retail Association, Dominique played an integral role in the development of the federal leasing code throughout the COVID lockdown period with industry organisations representing landlords and tenants. So welcome, Dominique.
Thank you for having me.
Glen Mann on our panel as well. Glen has recently joined the Department of Health, and Glen is the chief procurement officer there. As you know, the Department of Health has an enormous footprint in Queensland and a very large impact across all of the hospital and health services that operate throughout regional Queensland. Glen was previously the chief procurement officer from Urban Utilities, where he was the 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 Procurement and Supply Australia and holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master of business administration. So welcome, Glen.
Thank you for having me.
Thank you for joining us today. All right. Now, I'm about to start the question and answer section, but before I do that, Sharon, I'd like to ask you a question. I guess I'd like to start with you first. I think there'll be a few suppliers out there today who just would like to know why did we even need a new Buy Queensland?
Sure, thanks, Megan. Look, I think there's a couple of reasons. One, it is six years since 2017 and things have changed. Time has moved on and there are more things available to us now that we need to take advantage of. Importantly, it's been a time of enormous reform for procurement, not only in Queensland, but across a whole range of other jurisdictions. More and more governments are looking at, what is the extra bang for the buck that we can get out of the government spend? And in that vein, there's been a number of reforms. You've touched on the ethical supplier threshold, for example. We wanted to make sure that we had consolidated all of those reforms into the strategy and reflected them in the policy because, previously, it was starting to look like, you know, a bit of an untidy picture. We'd cobbled on a whole range of reforms to the 2017 policy and strategy. And now it's time, really, to consolidate those, streamline it, make it clear for people. I think the other thing is we've learned a lot in the last six years and we have gotten an awful lot of feedback to suppliers, people who've attended our road shows, people who've given us feedback after particular specific processes, people who've been at a number of our information sessions, and that's taught us a lot about what we need to do to make government procurement easier for suppliers to engage with and how we can actually really get that better bang for our buck. So we've learned a lot. Now's the time to consolidate and streamline and evolve the approach. There was nothing wrong with the approach. It certainly wasn't broken. But it's time for an evolution to build on those sound foundations and just mature capacity across government and to hopefully make it easier for suppliers to do business with us.
Oh, thank you, Sharon. Dominique, as Small Business Commissioner, for our small businesses online today, how do you think Buy Queensland 2023 will help them?
Look, I think there's a number of ways. And of course, having a target of 30% of procurement being spent with small business is excellent because obviously it gives small business the confidence that there is, you know, there's room for them, that, you know, we want them to obviously get involved and to tender and to be part of that process. And I think that really does create confidence. But obviously there is also, you know, a whole raft of other things that have been put in place to make it easier for them, whether it's looking at, you know, the forms, you know, whether it's looking at making it easier for them to get involved, I think has been, you know, it's a really good sign for small businesses out there that they can get involved and that we want them to be there.
Yeah, fabulous. Thank you. Glen, how do you see Buy Queensland 2023 helping Queensland Health to deliver a sustainable healthcare system?
Right, that's a great question. So certainly, we see it as a key enabler of our future success in having a sustainable health system. And we break sustainability down to a couple of pieces. And the first one for us is critical. Certainly, for those of you out there who have been a patient in any of our facilities, security supply is absolutely critical for us. So we need to have a sustainable health system in which we know we can get the goods and services we require in order to help the people of Queensland. So for us, Buy Queensland '23 helps us out. If we can have more focus on local supply, we get to know the people who supply the products. That certainly helps us in times of need to be able to maybe call in a few favours and get a few things out, but also, too, it just helps us for proximity. Having local supply is just, by its very nature, an important component of being able to have a sustainable delivery of products to the system. The other part, the second part is around financial stability.
We need to have a health system that's not going to balloon in costs over the years. We need to make sure we keep a tight control on that. As taxpayers, we're all very interested in that. So Buy Queensland will help us out with that because buying from local businesses, in many instances, cuts out lots of intermediaries and middle people. And also, too, trying to keep the profits in the local businesses, local communities, generating local jobs. So for broader sustainability, for us and our system, critically important. And then the third aspect is the traditional sustainability piece around the environment. The carbon footprint on imported goods is enormous. So if we can try to manage wherever possible getting things locally, that absolutely helps us out with environmental sustainability. And the other piece in all of that is packaging waste. Imported products have an enormous amount of packaging with them. Local products have the right amount of packaging generally. So if we can, wherever possible, buy local or encourage local businesses to step up their capability to be able to supply to us, that absolutely fits our requirements. And I think that the, well, certainly Buy Queensland 2032, '23, getting ahead of myself, is absolutely critical for us because it gives us a platform in order to make sure our system is genuinely sustainable.
Yes. Great. Thank you. In fact, you've given me a great segue to our next question. So this is a question from our suppliers. So Ivan would like to know how does he become a supplier to bid for opportunities like the Olympics 2032?
So we have on our Brisbane 2032 website, and I'm happy to post this with the answer afterwards, there is the opportunity to register for updates. Now, obviously it's very early in. We're just a shade over nine years out. So a lot of those opportunities are still to come. But we're very keen for people to get ready and to be able to supply. And so there's time to do that now. So we'll post the web address, but you can register to receive our supplier updates. That'll give you tips and tricks around how to get ready. There are a range of things like making sure you, you know, have your capability statement right, thinking about the carbon-positive ambition of the games and how you might start auditing or benchmarking your current carbon footprint and decreasing that. Now, a lot of those requirements are still to come, but there are things, as I said, to do to get ready. So please register for the portal and we'll make sure that we get those supplier updates out to you.
I think that's a really good point for any small businesses on this, that getting ready is really important. So obviously registering to things like, you know, QTender, looking at making sure what is coming, but also just getting your own house in order. And I think sometimes when we hear things like carbon credits and we are a small business, that can be very daunting. But I think you need to understand there are people ready and willing to help. So there's a number of programs across government that can help you with that, including ecoBiz, which is run in partnership with Business Chamber Queensland, that can help you go out and look at, you know, what are you doing? How are you, you know, what are your systems like? You know, what does reducing that carbon footprint look like? You know, how do you report it? How do you measure it? Just so that you can get ready for some of those bigger tender opportunities as they come. And remember, think about consortiums as well. If you think, you know, Olympics sounds too big for you, think about other businesses in your space that you might be able to partner with if you know there is going to be bodies of work that are coming up.
And I think that's really important to have a bit of a collective approach to it because it's nine years and change away, but that will go quickly. If you sit back and wait for the tender to be announced, it's too late if you're not ready to go right now. So have a, yeah, start to think about how to, like you say, get your house in order, be really clear on how government transacts, what's required, and start to use the time wisely. It's unlikely that you'll get out of bed one day and be able to produce the perfect good and service to deliver to the Olympics. You need to use the time well. But that's the beauty of nine years. You can certainly prepare and be ready to go.
Fantastic. Look, I'd like to explore that a bit further. So talking there about getting ready and the opportunities, I'd like to drill in a little bit on what exactly could a supplier do to make themselves more visible and attractive to government buyers, you know, especially as we look to gear up to Brisbane 2032, and I think this might, maybe we start with you, Dominique, on this one, and what services are available to support them in doing this?
Mm, and look, I think that's a really good point. You know, sometimes people think that, you know, when we talk about having a website, that that sounds really simple. And I think that for, you know, any small business, it's really important to become visible, whether it's a website, whether it's a social media presence, whether it's just your contact details, whether it's reviews, amongst other things. You want a digital footprint that's going to be able to verify that you are real and that you exist and that you do all the things that you say that you do and that you can deliver. And I think it's also about selling that story, right? So where we're looking at sort of investment into local communities and making sure that, you know, they are part of this new procurement process, it's about, you know, identifying the ones that are going to have the biggest impact. And a lot of that comes down to what you can see and what you can produce and what you can prove. And that's a, you know, digital capability is a great way to sort of keep record of that. In terms of help, there are Mentors for Growth, which are free for small business. So you can actually access them, you can call our office or certainly, the Department of Youth Justice, Small Business, Employment and Training, they can connect you. There are 330 free mentors that will give you an hour and a half's time on any topic that you want to talk about. It could be, how do I write a grant tender? It could be, you know, how do I get a new website? How do I, it could be whatever you want it to be. They will connect you with the right mentor that will be able to provide and facilitate more kind of information for you, you know, to get you ready.
Yeah, that's great. And Glen, I guess if we look at that from the buyer side, do you have anything you'd like to add to that from your perspective of seeing those things come through and anything that's particularly struck you as being effective in getting that cut through to buyers?
Yeah, so I'd just like to echo the statement about having some sort of online presence. I can't speak for the other agencies, but in health, we've got thousands and thousands of active suppliers. And the very first thing we do when we have a supplier that we're interested in is we look at their website. And if they don't have a website or the website's four years old, which is often the case.
Mm, mm, that happens.
Then that really speaks to their professionalism as a potential vendor or an existing vendor. So by all means, make sure that you have a proper online presence or visibility. But I guess it's the more fundamental things. For us, certainly, we're looking for really good suppliers. We want people who are great at what they do. And the fact that you're sitting here on a Friday afternoon at half past four even listening to us means that you are invested in your business and you want it to succeed. So I think that's step one. Well done. But if you're good at what you do, if you are selling into government at the moment, if you're building a reputation of being a high-quality professional supplier, that's a wonderful platform to build on. What can then get you noticed is being a bit innovative. We certainly in, well, not just through the Buy Queensland process, but in general, innovation is really important for us 'cause there's a lot of me too businesses. We need to have people who are a little bit different and offer something above and beyond. And you can probably raise your, well, you can raise your profile in the tender process. We have relatively prescriptive tender forms, but that doesn't mean that you can't have other attachments. It doesn't mean that when you apply for work, for work packages from us and other agencies, that you can't put something else into it or even to reach out to the person who's running the process and just ask for a short amount of time because sometimes there's hundreds of people involved in these things. But yeah, it's a bit like for us, it's a little bit like a recruitment process. You look for the candidates that stand out. So couple little bits of advice, but of course, the fact that you're here and you're talking to or listening to us at this time of day, you're probably across all of this, so.
Right, no, thank you. And look, today we do have a large number of regional and remote suppliers joining us, and this leads on to a question from Murray. Murray would like to know, what are the key takeaways for regional and remote community procurement and suppliers? Sharon, would you like to have a first go?
I think we've tried, Murray, we've tried to streamline the whole local benefits approach and to make sure that we're emphasising that local procurement, but we're also emphasising if there isn't a local supplier, if it is a supplier from outside, we want to know what benefits they're bringing to the local community, to the remote community. That's incredibly important to us. Are they partnering with local suppliers in that remote community? Those things are important and will be taken account of in the tender process. Similarly, I think for our buyers, it's always about how do you get the product or service that it fits, is the right fit. And I know that's been a real issue in some of our remote and regional communities. Getting something that fits their particular circumstances is really critical. And so we need to get better, from government side, of specifying and understanding that better and being clear about that in the tender process and weighting that appropriately in evaluations. But one of the ways of doing that is by using local people, using local suppliers who know the conditions, who know what needs to be done. And whether it's, as Dominique said, in a consortium, you know, partnering with another supplier, or just by going it alone, I think that that's incredibly important. There is that issue then of how do you make yourself visible when you're remote and regional? And sometimes that is through the regional manager's network or the services, so Queensland Health has a very large footprint throughout, not all agencies have that. So sometimes suppliers do need to be a bit innovative in how they make themselves known. But indeed, certainly, when there's a name on a procurement process, give them a phone call. If there's a phone number, don't hesitate. You're not bothering them. You're clarifying. It's in their interest to answer your questions. So things like that, I know sometimes suppliers do feel a bit anxious that somehow they're bothering people. They don't want to be a bother. Please be a bother. Please ring and ask questions and clarify. I know some of that documentation can be, as much as we're trying to simplify it, I know it can be confusing and sometimes we use a dialect or a language that isn't appropriate and we can sometimes clarify that very easily in a short conversation on the phone.
Mm, absolutely. Next question is from Darian. Darian's got a question relating to small business and would like to know, look, how can we be sure that our small businesses are going to be treated fairly in a tendering process when they're competing with large enterprises?
Look, I think that, you know, obviously there are targets when it comes to how many small businesses government needs to and is going to interact with, and I think that that should give you some surety that there are, this is one of the actual priorities of Buy Queensland '23, is making sure that, you know, SMEs are absolutely, you know, as valuable as anyone that is, you know, running a bigger business. I also think that now, you know, certainly government, especially after looking at this particular policy, is looking for something different. This is not about, you know, doing things the way that they've always been done. This is about giving, you know, buyers flexibility to make decisions to make sure that they can meet some of those really strong values. And I think what's really clear is that, you know, this is really about creating a legacy for Queensland and doing it differently. It's not about doing it the same way. So I think you can be sure about that. In terms of capabilities, I think most of the time, small business has the capability. What they're not particularly good at doing every time is putting their best foot forward. So I would say make sure you go to the forums, make sure you understand what's being asked of you, make sure you are, you know, meeting if it's the word count requirements, whether it's, you know, what attachments you can do, what they need, et cetera, make sure you're doing and ticking all those boxes. If that's the case, it's very hard to, you know, say no to someone that absolutely meets all the criteria, regardless of size. And I think, you know, in all the discussions that certainly we're having and all the education that we're doing about this, it's also about understanding, you know, what's being asked of small business and rightsizing things like insurance for, you know, some of these projects. So, look, I think you can be sure the feedback that's been provided has been heard and it is definitely, you know, part of this process of educating both buyers and sellers, and small business, you know, they're pretty mighty despite, you know, how big they are. So yeah, I think they hold their own.
Thank you. Thank you. Look, we've got a couple of questions coming through on a bit of a similar topic, so I'm going to attempt to paraphrase. So apologies, Robert and John, if I don't quite get it right. But I'm just, your questions are similar. What the question is being asked is really are suppliers who are not currently on a standing offer arrangement, you know, able to get an opportunity with the introduction of Buy Queensland? And I think part of the other aspect of this question is, you know, will we expect as a result of Buy Queensland that agencies will change suppliers or will the status quo remain, you know, the default preference? So who'd like to have a go at that one first?
I’ll start and then I'll hand over to the people who are at the coal face. So I think we're trying to look at how do we provide our people who establish and manage arrangements with a bit more flexibility so that the capacity to refresh those arrangements a little more regularly than they previously have is important. So we're working with our people to do that because it is possible to refresh. Obviously if you've started with a process with a lot of hoops for people to jump through, it does become difficult to refresh those, so. But as those expire, we are looking at how do you establish arrangements that are easier to refresh and add and for people to come on and for people to leave? Also, there's more and more what we call preferred supplier panels, which are easier to get on, but also allow for a much easier refresh of those. So we're looking at the form of those arrangements so that we're not locking people out as much and that we are able to refresh over time because that has been a problem for folks. I think it's always about getting that balance right between the right amount of process to assure ourselves that people are able to supply, but not locking people out or having them for undue periods. So getting that right balance of flexibility. And I think the preferred supplier panel, which is coming into a number of the arrangements, allows a little bit of that. But I'm very happy to hand over to Glen or Dominique.
Yeah, so I can, certainly from Queensland Health perspective, part of Buy Queensland '23 is about innovation, and innovation on both sides. So innovation on us as the buyer. We will, and we will continue to do, have a plan for what we buy, what we call a category plan. And a category plan may well say that we're not putting an SOA in place. We might have a plan where we're, hypothetically, in a hospital region, there might be three possible suppliers. We're not going to put a panel or an SOA in place for that. We'll have a direct commercial relationship with those people. So we will change more and more the way that we actually contract with the market. But, yeah, so for the existing panels, we do need to be fair because the people who are on those panels, they did jump through a lot of hoops, in many cases, probably too many hoops, but they jumped through a lot of hoops to be on there. So we won't be necessarily, we're not going to be blowing up panels, but we will definitely be looking at better ways to go to market because it's all about how do we get value for money here? And having the one tool for entering into commercial relationships is not the right approach. So that will change and it'll become much easier, certainly in the rural and remote areas where there are a smaller group of suppliers, it'd make much more sense just to have different approaches. So I know that's daunting to try to get onto a panel sometimes. This will make it a lot easier.
It can be, and I think you're right, Glen. There are other procurement approaches and more and more people are using those. And then thinking about if we've got people on arrangements, how do we ensure that they're getting business as well? Because I know we've had a lot of complaints from suppliers saying, "I jumped through all those hoops and I'm not getting any business." And so we are working with some of the people who manage those arrangements to say, "Well, how do we promote people a little bit more? How do we have meet the buyer sort of events and things like that just to improve that visibility?" Those are some early kind of things that we're doing. But yes, it is that balancing act.
Mm, and I guess following on from that, Samuel's asked a question which relates to that and also to some of the things we were talking about earlier around visibility. Samuel would like to know, they're a relatively new-ish SME, and he would like to know, "How could we engage more and directly with individual Queensland Government departments while still staying compliant as a supplier?" So really sort of getting to that managing probity type approach.
Look, I think there's nothing wrong with reaching out to who you think's interested in your particular product, and whether it be, you know, at a minister or director-general level or if you know, you know, the particular area in the department, write to them, promote yourself. And that never hurts. It never hurts to think about who is likely to be most interested. And you can look at departments' websites, you can look at their annual reports and get a sense of what they do and what their priorities are and promote yourself. That never hurts. Making that approach, I think, is a helpful thing. There's just a, yeah, I don't think there's a probity issue with trying to promote what you're able to do for people. There's nothing wrong with that. Certainly, probity always comes up in procurement and I know our buyers, we talk about that engagement with the market. It's part of their world is to engage with the market and understand who's out there in the market, and we can do that safely. As long as we're, you know, giving everyone the same information and level of access, we're able to do that. So I think, no, please, promote yourself. There's no probity issue with telling us about what you can do and letting buyers know about that. That doesn't provide a probity issue. No, we should understand who's in the market and what they're able to provide. That's just good market intelligence. But Glen or Dominique?
People reach out to me all the time and obviously we're also buyers at the Queensland Small Business Commissioner's office, and a lot of the time, it is them doing exactly what you've said. They're promoting what they do, what they can do, what that looks like. It could be a new idea, it could be anything. And, you know, we meet with them because, you know, often there's, if it's not something that, you know, is of interest to us, perhaps we know someone else that's looking for a service like that. So I think there's nothing wrong with trying to stay connected with people relevant to whatever it is that you are trying to sell.
In the most appropriate way, of course.
In the most appropriate way.
We all know the policy says that we will not accept gifts or anything like that.
Yeah, no gifts. Just no.
Very good. Look, I guess the Buy Queensland has quite a strong focus on doing business with ethical suppliers. So the government's been quite clear that that's what it wants to do. And that benefits suppliers, as I said, by, you know, levelling that playing field. So Sharon, I'd like to know, why should suppliers who do the right thing feel encouraged by Buy Queensland 2023?
Look, I think there's a couple of things. There's the fact that we are putting a lot of weight now on contract management capacity. I mean, we're getting better at managing our contracts and holding people accountable. But more importantly, things like the ethical supplier threshold and the ethical supplier mandate is really about being serious and putting, you know, some kind of weight behind all of that. So if people are underpaying their staff and not meeting their commitments, there is the capacity for them to be penalised and for that penalty to ultimately lead to a sanction. Now, at the moment, that's in two particular areas of procurement, in the building, construction, and maintenance and transport and infrastructure area, but it's likely that we'll spread that out across other areas and that really is specifically gamed at that idea and it is because supplier have said to us, "Well, look, you know, we know that they've undercut us, we know that they underpay their staff, we know that they promise apprentices and they don't take them on, and you keep engaging with them." And so now there are penalties for that kind of behaviour and we will be letting other buyers know if that behaviour has been there. So to try and get a whole-of-government approach to that. I think the Supplier Code of Conduct makes it very clear what our expectations are. And people will have seen a lot in the media that wage theft is a big issue not only in the government sector, but in the private sector. It's not good for anybody. You know, a fair day's pay for a fair day's work is just a fundamental construct for us. The reputational risk for us of doing work with unethical suppliers is so large and it's such a, so I think there is that assurance there that we are really wanting to support ethical suppliers and that we don't want, if you're doing the right thing, we don't want you undercut by other suppliers, that that's very important.
Yeah, and broader afield, that certainly applies for some of the medical products we buy that come in from overseas. We are actively monitoring suppliers to make sure they're good corporate citizens because that's easy to pick up. But also, we're looking for breaches of modern slavery issues. We're looking for people who have unethical practices in their sourcing, so to make it a level playing field for the local people who are being-
Doing the right thing.
Doing the right thing. If you're doing the right thing locally, be rest assured that you're not going to be disadvantaged by somebody in another country who is using slave labour because we do pick it up, we do have good sophisticated systems for finding this stuff, and we will not be, yeah, don't be worried about that. We buy it locally. It is a level playing field.
Okay. We've got a question from Larry and a similar question from Cath basically asking, do non-Queensland suppliers, you know, are they automatically excluded from tender opportunities, or if they don't have their production in Queensland, are they excluded?
Look, yeah, I'll start, and I think my colleagues have got, no, absolutely not. It's not about postcard; it's about benefits. Postcode, sorry. So really, obviously, if you're in the local community and you have a local postcard, you are bringing local benefits. But if you're not, what we expect from our interstate suppliers and our international suppliers is that they are bringing benefits to Queensland, and when we tender, we are applying a local benefits test and asking about what are the jobs that you're bringing to Queensland? What Queensland supplies are you using in your supply chain? How is that going to benefit the local community? So that's an important thing. Our local benefit test for significant procurement can be up to 30% of the tender and we've mandated that it be at least 10. So, yeah, so it's not about postcode. Obviously postcode helps. If you're in the local, if you're in the local community, then you're probably employing local people and have other locals in your supply chain, but it certainly does not exclude people.
Yeah, I probably wouldn't add too much more to that. Essentially, there is a benefit for being local, but it doesn't exclude other people. Basically, you get a leg up, which is totally appropriate, but if the vendor from outside of Queensland is significantly better, well, then we're going to go with them because it is about value for money.
And also, we don't do everything in Queensland. We don't manufacture everything. We don't have everything. So we're very aware of that. But I think, yeah, always thinking about that local benefit. And certainly, for companies outside of Queensland, partnering with local suppliers or being sure that there are local jobs as a result of your work is always helpful.
Okay. Steve has a question. Steve would like to know, will the changes discussed also be adopted by local and regional councils?
So from our perspective, we operate what's called the Small Business Friendly charter, which has 45 of the 77 councils across Queensland on that particular charter. They have agreed to become more small business friendly. What that means is they come together every eight weeks to work collectively on four communities of practice, one of which is red tape reduction, procurement, and then data and analytics and placemaking. They don't adopt this particular strategy or policy. They have their own. However, they are closely working towards very similar things. And in some cases, we are seeing councils move to a higher percentage of small businesses that they want to engage with based on that particular charter and the agreement to become more small business friendly. Have a look on your local council's website and see if they are a Small Business Friendly council. We've had two recent signings being Livingston Shire and Noosa have just come on board. There are about another five to come on shortly. So look, they are across Queensland. They make up about, they cover of about 80% of the 473,000 small businesses and they are very committed to making procurement easier. So I think you'll find that, you know, whatever Queensland sets, it typically trickles down to even people that haven't, you know, already decided to be more friendly in this space.
Thank you. We've got a question looking to know a little bit more about diversity in arrangements. So I think Rachel would like to know, what are the requirements around supplier diversity in the context of Buy Queensland? And I guess for a practical example too, you might be able to tell us a little bit about diversity of arrangements in Queensland Health as well. So would you like-
So diversity's a very broad, but certainly for us, the obvious thing's around having Indigenous engagement, where we absolutely focus on that and that is a criteria, and certainly, we will be introducing practices now, and we have already started, where we do set-asides for First Nations businesses. So essentially, if we're going out for a good or a service, we will only go out to a group of people who are a First Nations business. So that group will, so we're guaranteed a success in awarding that particular good or service. But certainly, in terms of broader diversity, government wide, I guess, Sharon, there's some more you can apply there?
Indeed. So certainly, the category that I manage, general goods and services, is reviewing all of its arrangements and panels to just check on the level of diversity. So who do we have on the panel? Do we have SMEs? Do we have Indigenous businesses? Do we have SMEs? Are there regional businesses? So what is the coverage? So trying to get a good level of diversity. And then having set those panels up or reviewed those panels and arrangements, making sure that we can make it easy for buyers to find who they're looking for. So being clear to flag on the arrangements who meets those different sorts of criteria has been a bit of a work in progress for us. And having done that, we're assisting other categories to do a little bit of that work as well. Certainly, the new directory of arrangements that we have is much more user-friendly and helps buyers find people and find diverse suppliers a lot easier than, lot more easily than previous. So yeah, it's a work in progress, but I think people are committed to it because of the targets and because of that ambition, but trying to make it easy and trying to make sure that that diversity exists on the panels is important.
Okay. Look, we've got a question from Michael, and Michael would like to know what checks are in place to make sure that Indigenous products being supplied come from an Indigenous business and not a mainstream business who engages an artist and then mass produces the art to sell.
So I think that's, you know, it's a real issue, Michael. Certainly, we look for validation and, you know, there are a range of ways of doing that. I think Supply Nation is one kind of body that a range of departments use. But it is a live issue of making sure. And one of the things that we're looking at, we're in the middle of designing a new future procurement system to replace QTenders and that whole validation process has been a big part of that, making sure that if we're saying, if we're saying we're engaging with Indigenous businesses, they actually are Indigenous businesses and they meet the definition. So having that validation process is important to us. As I said, at the moment, probably most businesses, most government departments will use Supply Nation as part of that validation, but we know there are others and we know that this is not always a straightforward process.
But we will rely on the third parties. We're not in any position to, even if we visit every single supplier, we would not be in a position to be making a appropriate call on that. So we use the qualified third parties to do it and there, of course, is a process to put them into the mix in the first place and we'll continue to do that.
All right, we're getting close to the end, probably time for one or two more, but Steven, another Steven, would like to know, are there plans to introduce e-procurement for goods generally so?
Yes, yes, it's quite the chestnut, but yes, absolutely, we are moving towards a more digitally supported procurement system in the different, each department will be different because we're working to different timeframes. But I guess the main part of that is where does it fit into our technology roadmaps? So each department is at a different level of maturity. Some have some quite sophisticated tools. Others do not. But yeah, generally, we are moving down that path, and certainly by the time Olympics are here, I would've thought there's a whole-of-government approach.
Indeed, and I know, Glen, we're also mindful, I'm conscious of Murray's question earlier about remote and regional communities and sometimes the access for stable internet is not there. And so we're also thinking about, well, how do we assist in those areas so that, again, trying to meet the ambition of ease and supply, but noting that Queensland, most decentralised state, so many remote and regional areas, how do we make sure that we're not inadvertently, with that ambition, cutting people off? So yeah, as you say, our technology roadmaps and how we make sure that we are accessible is a real ambition.
Okay, fabulous. Look, I think we're probably getting to the point where we'll start rounding up our session today. So I'd like to give each of the panel members an opportunity to pass on to you their best advice in relation to Buy Queensland for you.
So from me, probably just to repeat what I've said earlier, for us, it's all about making sure we engage with the best possible suppliers 'cause we are looking for the best possible value for the people of Queensland. So you're still hanging with us at almost five o'clock. So obviously you're invested in your business. Continue to make sure that you put your best foot forward because we're looking for the best possible suppliers. Be innovative. Make sure that you're visible and that you're doing things so that we can notice you because, like, how many, 480?
473,000 small businesses. You need to be visible. But maybe just the last piece for us is make sure that you understand the process. If we've got a tender coming up in two years or 8 1/2 years when you're talking about the Olympics, now is not the time to be reaching out to people and saying, "Please buy from me, please buy from me." Now is the time to be really clear and plan your approach to the tender when it will be coming out in the future. And there are lots of forward procurement plans published on government. So there is a lot of visible information. Yeah, take a longer view and set yourself up for success.
I think just be prepared. You know, understand what's being asked of you. Make sure that you have all your records available, insurances, whatever's being, you know, required. Make sure that you sort of line all of that up and just, you know, really get ready and think it through before trying to, you know, don't put it through at the last minute. You know, go through the process, have the conversations, make sure that, you know, you are visible and that you've got your capability statement ready, all of those kinds of things.
And I think we don't always get it right. It's absolutely correct we don't always get it right. This is a big change management process. Since 2017 has been a really big change management process. We're seeking to change the behaviour of thousands of buyers across government. And we're getting there and there's been some great examples of where we have got it right and that change has stuck and it's really positive change. It's always great to hear about that. It's great to hear when things go well and that reinforces that we need to be doing more of that. But we appreciate you engaging with us generally. And so if we're not getting it right, it helps to know that and helps to understand that. So just continue to engage with us, I think, is the message. It is a big change management project, but certainly, the ambition is there. If you talk with the ministers, they're all very, very keen and ask us questions regularly. But certainly, similarly, the heads of our department are very keen to transform procurement and I think it's a big agenda and we're really excited by it.
Yeah, no, no, thank you. And look, we're almost out of time, so I'd like to, as we wrap up, thank our wonderful panel who've been incredibly generous with their time today and their advice. So thank you very much Sharon, Dominique, and Glen for your time today.
I’d like to thank you for joining us. We've certainly really benefited from your questions and the insights that that gives to us and I hope the information that we've been able to give you will help you, whether you're tendering to government or even looking to tender in the private sector. I guess one thing I'd like to leave you with is make sure you jump on the website. Have a look at what's on our website in terms of that Supplier Quick Reference Guide. It's a really quick read, but that might assist you as well. The other place that I'd advise you to go, and Dominique certainly talked about a range of the services that are there, is the Buy, the Business Queensland website, sorry. So the Business Queensland website. Just type that into your search engine if you haven't been there already and you will be able to see a really wide range of support there that can help you on your journey to dealing with government, or if you're already dealing with government, how to make that better. So thank you for your time today and for tuning in. Thank you for everybody who submitted a question. If it wasn't asked, it will be answered anyway after today's session, but we'd really like to thank you for your time in doing that. And with that, I'd like to wish you a very happy weekend and look forward to, you can jump on the website and watch this session again or recommend it to your friends who missed out. But thank you again and goodbye from all of us today.
The Buy Queensland 2023 Supplier webinar presentation slides (PDF, 550.03 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 Supplier webinar questions and answers are available for download (PDF, 203.21 KB).
Suppliers and Queensland businesses can find further information on supplying to the Queensland Government on the Business Queensland website.
Telephone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
- Last updated:
- 12 December 2023