Council to favour local business with new procurement policy

IPSWICH City Council has adopted a revised procurement policy with a renewed focus on obtaining goods and services from local business and industry.

The Buy Ipswich policy was passed unanimously by councillors at a special meeting on Wednesday.

It means council officers will only seek out quotes from local businesses for contracts with a value of less than $50,000 in the first instance.

Businesses will, however, need to be assessed to be "reasonably capable of supplying council's needs of value for money."

Where quotes are sought for all contracts with a value of less than $200,000, council officers will provide a 20 per cent local content preferential weighting to the scoring evaluation.

Where quotes are sought for all contracts with an expected of more than $200,000, council officers will provide a 15 per cent local economy support preferential weighting to the scoring evaluation.

Overhauling the policy was established as one of 18 transformation projects focused on achieving good governance, transparency and accountability during Ipswich's period of administration.

"There's been a tendency or practice for matters not to be well planned and executed, left too late in the process in order for sound governance and decision making to be applied," corporate services manager Sonia Cooper said.

"We've got a lot of work ahead of us.

"Our goal is by December of this year, we will have a sound and ideally well-functioning procurement function."

Procurement manager Richard White told the meeting this wouldn't mean only local businesses would secure contracts going forward.

"A lot of work has to happen after this in terms of workshops and direct support so that the community understands what this means," he said.

"We need to ensure we're still driving value for council and we're getting capable and experienced providers that can deliver services for us."

There are more than 500 contracts currently across all of the council's functions.

The new policy will come into effect from July 1 and be reviewed by June next year.

From January 1 last year to April 31, the council's local spend was 17.21 per cent, which was recognised as "quite low".

Non-local spend over that period sat at 76.52 per cent, with utilities at 1.96 per cent and government at 4.31 per cent.

Mayor Teresa Harding said this would deliver better outcomes for local businesses and industry.

"It is designed to be simple to implement and clear in its requirements from a business perspective," she said.

"Investing in the Ipswich economy will yield social and economic benefits for the community as a whole, including greater opportunities for employment, skills, education and business development.

"The development of competitive local business and industry is now an explicit priority in council's procurement process.

"Council developed Buy Ipswich in consultation with key stakeholders and will continue to work with local businesses and industries to support and enable them to compete effectively in the market."

"Spending more money locally is a win for Ipswich as it means more local jobs and investment in our people."

The data will be published to the council's new transparency and integrity hub so ratepayers can look at the proportion of local spend for each quarter.



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