A feature of Federal agency procurement plans is the high proportion of procurement opportunities intended for the first quarter of the financial year. Planned procurements were clumped in the first quarter both this year and last year, with opportunities then tailing off in subsequent quarters. The information was compiled from Intermedium’s scout IT, which tracks agency procurement plans throughout the year.
Has agency performance matched these plans? In 2005-06 scout IT tracked 96 procurement opportunities which went to open tender. We matched the timeframes for the tenders against the “procurement windows” published in the agency procurement plans and found:
- 3% went to market before the procurement window
- 45 % went to market within the procurement window
- 52% went to market within one month of the procurement window
- 36% within the four months of the procurement window
This means that more than half of these procurement opportunities went to tender within one month and about three quarters within four months of the published “procurement window”. These results indicate the value of the procurement plans and scout IT in forecasting the likely timing of procurement opportunities.
The results also indicate the extent to which the Federal Government budget cycle drives agency procurement. With funding assured from the beginning of the financial year, agency buyers are often keen to get going with procurement projects, hence the concentration of opportunities in the first quarter.
Who says public servants aren’t optimists?