The Centre of Procurement Excellence established in 2019 has moved into a new “Future Made in Australia Office” within the Finance department, as the Albanese government looks to get its sovereign procurement plan moving.
The early focus will be on lifting the Australian Public Service’s procurement and contract management capabilities with training after many were exposed by damning external audits.
The new office to lead the change is part of the government’s Made in Australia Policy and Buy Australian Plan to more strategically use the tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money spent each year in government purchases.
Despite not receiving any new funding to implement the plan or establish the Future Made in Australia Office, it has been tasked with a significant reform package, the Finance department told the current Parliamentary inquiry into Commonwealth procurement.
“The [Buy Australian] Plan is a significant procurement reform program which aims to make it easier to do business with the Australian Government by breaking down barriers, increasing the capability of businesses to submit competitive tenders, and supporting the Australian Public Service (APS) to better engage with industry and ensure Government procurement supports the local economy,” Finance’s submission said.
“…The [Future Made in Australia] Office, as part of implementing the Plan, will elevate procurement and contract management capability through continuous capability improvement and modernised training delivery.”
The procurement inquiry has been set up in response to several damning audits of large government buying programs. It has already revealed the Industry department may now need to compensate tenderers that missed out on its flagship program, while the Digital Transformation Agency is retroactively reviewing its major procurements after a particularly scathing review.
The Finance department – the policy steward of the Commonwealth Procurement Framework — told the inquiry its new Future Made in Australia Office “will elevate procurement and contract management capability through continuous capability improvement and modernised training delivery”.
In line with this, the Centre of Procurement Excellence has been moved into the Office.
Established in 2019, the centre’s focus is on building this procurement capability, encouraging innovation and strengthening partnerships with buyers. It also conducts APS self-assessment surveys, and highlights excellence with an annual awards event.
In last month’s budget, it was confirmed the Future Made in Australia Office is up and running to coordinate the Buy Australian Plan, but the cost of implementing the plan is to be met with existing resources of the lead entity the Finance department and the Industry department.
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