More than 100 government agencies have recently been swept up in the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Victorian Government Purchasing Board (VGPB). Since 1 July 2021, this group of VPS agencies, known as ‘expansion agencies’, have become subject to VGPB policies. 30 June 2022 marks the first time that the expansion agencies will be required to attest compliance with the policies.
Unusually the agencies are only required to attest compliance in the 2021-22 financial year for that single date, meaning that 30 June 2022 has turned into something of a deadline. The next attestation that will be required (on 30 June 2023) will be for the entire financial year. The new attestations are in addition to the long-standing requirement for Accountable Officers to make attestations regarding acquisition of assets and the procurement of goods and services, including embedding governance, capability and achieving value for money for the organisation and/or the State.
Under the Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance, the expansion agencies are required to develop systems, procedures and practices that align to the VGPB policies tailored to their spend, size and risk profile. Many agencies have been working hard to transition their procurement policy and practices. It has been a marathon of work and with the attestation date less than six months away, agencies are in the final sprint.
According to buyingfor.vic.gov.au, “From 30 June 2022, the Standing Directions compliance checklist will include mandatory policy requirements from the VGPB policies. Agencies may need to adjust existing policies and processes to ensure they meet these requirements.”
What do VGPB policies cover?
VGPB has five policies that cover the procurement lifecycle. These are:
- Complexity and capability assessment
- Market analysis and review
- Market approach
- Contract management and disclosure.
The policies are available on the VGPB website. There are a range of guides, checklists, tools, and templates that support specific requirements within each policy.
The VGPB has given a good amount of notice to expansion agencies of the impending changes to goods and services procurement requirements. It has been a marathon for these agencies to:
- Identify existing policies, procedures, and templates etc that will be affected
- Assess that existing material against mandatory policy requirements and identify gaps or work required
- Develop and implement their plan to meet the requirements
- Be ready to attest compliance on 30 June 2022
Alignment also means ensuring that staff are trained and understand what is required of them when it comes to procurement and the spending of public money into the future.
Why is this important?
This change is in response to a recommendation from the Whole of Government Procurement Review, endorsed by Cabinet in March 2018, to harmonise Victorian Government procurement frameworks. The benefits include:
- simpler and more consistent tender processes that will help small, medium, and local business supply to government
- proactive market engagement to help identify new suppliers
- more information released sooner through forward activity plans
- simplified contracts presented in Plain English
- timely and relevant feedback to be offered to all suppliers.
According to the Department of Treasury and Finance, “Good procurement can have a substantial impact on an organisation’s ability to deliver its core business objectives through impacting budgets, freeing up resources and building organisation efficiencies through streamlined processes, categorising and aggregating purchasing. Procurement is not just focused on the process of purchasing but should identify and align overarching procurement strategies with the business objectives to help organisations to deliver their core business more efficiently and effectively.
“Procurement is a core function of the Victorian Government, used to ensure the efficient and effective use of public funds to deliver quality services to the community. Value for money, accountability, probity and scalability are the underlying directives for effective procurement of goods and services under the VGPB procurement framework.”
With many years of experience, CourtHeath are experts in the VGPB policies, the Public Construction procurement regime, and the Social Procurement Framework. We have identified the key requirements that an agency should have reflected within its procurement policy and associated procedures, practices, and templates. Our consultants will be happy to assist you to develop a roadmap to implement and ensure you will be able to demonstrate compliance with the applicable requirements.
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