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Queensland Government edges closer to end-to-end e-procurement

by Paris Cowan •
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Procurement processes across the Queensland Government are set to become electronically transformed, with the Department of Public Works (DPW) aiming to have a pilot of its end-to-end e-procurement system up rolled out in selected agencies by 30 June 2012.

The DPW has advertised for a project manager for the Procurement Process Reform Initiative (PPRI), who will be responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the project team. It will be mandatory for all budget funded agencies to participate in the PPRI.

According to the text of the job advertisement, the objective of the project is to “automate and streamline the ‘procure-to-pay’ processes within Queensland Government Departments”.

The e-procurement system will cover:

  • Procurement analytics;
  • Contract Lifecycle Management; and
  • e-Procurement, including procure-to-pay process, electronic catalogues and supplier collaboration (through electronic document exchange).

The budget for the two-year project is $5 million, with only one approach to market having been conducted so far. The Department is currently assessing tenders for the provision of a Contract Lifecycle Management Solution to be used across all Queensland Government agencies to improve their contract development and management processes.

The project was established in response to the findings of a 2007 review of purchasing and logistics in the Queensland Government, conducted by the Service Delivery and Performance Commission. The review recommended that Queensland develop a whole-of-government e-procurement strategy and business case.

“The use of procurement systems to automate the procure-to-pay process will minimise transaction processing, freeing up resources to be redirected to strategic and tactical procurement functions that deliver more value,” the review found, forecasting that improved procurement practices across all of the categories examined could lead to savings of 5 to 10 percent of the Government’s total expenditure in these areas.

The Cabinet Budget Review Committee gave the project the final go-ahead in June 2009.

In NSW the state government launched its e-procurement strategy in 2001, and by 2006 it had been mandated that all agencies with an annual expenditure in excess of $400 million had to use the SmartBuy system, or apply for approval to use an alternative e-procurement system. The transfer to e-procurement was forecast to save the NSW Government up to $130 million over three years.

However the strategy hasn’t gone entirely to plan in NSW. In February last year, a report by the NSW Auditor-General found that only four out of the nineteen agencies reviewed met the government’s e-procurement requirements in full.

Many agencies were found to be using SAP and Oracle systems that did not interface with NSW Procurement, meaning the users were missing the opportunity to use whole-of-government panels and that valuable procurement data was being lost.

In other instances agencies were using SmartBuy as a “look up service” for goods and services, and completing transactions manually.

Western Australia has had its Government Electronic Marketplace (GEM) up and running since July 2001, however this is does not represent an end-to-end procurement solution, with invoicing and payments still conducted manually.

Federally, there is no whole-of-government scheme in place for e-procurement.

Applications for the Queensland PPRI project manager position close on 22 July.


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