Queenstown’s council wants preferred suppliers

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Queenstown’s council plans to select preferred suppliers for services such as engineering and legal matters.

The authority has announced an overhaul of its procurement system – agreeing to use the same businesses for fixed periods rather than tender individual jobs.

An independent review team roasted the council’s infrastructure delivery and monitoring practices before jobs were slashed in the organisational review earlier this year.

The review – led by ex-Auckland region council boss Peter Winder – found the in-house Infrastructure Services team and arm’s-length Lakes Environmental engineering team overlapped.

Its report detailed widespread overlapping services, limited monitoring of public and private works, uncoordinated works programmes, inconsistent procurement and management practices, piecemeal monitoring of capital expenditure works, and poor use of technology.

It recommended a broader Infrastructure and Assets Division, which would include the parks and reserve team.

Lakes Environmental was axed in the council restructure.

The review also found a clear and consistent procedure for contractor performance assessments didn’t exist and recommended contracts be structured so extensions were based on performance and need.

Now council is inviting professional service providers to register their interest for selection to a panel of preferred suppliers.

Council chief executive Adam Feeley says: “Tendering every piece of work can in fact increase costs for council.

“Aside from the time cost of the exercise, service providers do not always offer best prices where there is no prospect of continuity.

“This arrangement aims to secure best prices by offering some level of certainty, while still maintaining competitive tension by having a panel to select from for any one piece of work; and by the fixed period for the arrangement.”

Feeley says price would be important but was not the only determining factor, with quality of proposal and reputation also being considerations. The status would cover two years, with renewal options.

The requests for proposals, which will be progressively advertised on the Government Electronic Tenders Service in October and November, will cover a range of commercial and professional services ranging across engineering, insurance, banking, legal, planning, and property management services.

Council already benefits financially from access to the All-of-Government contracts which establish a single supply agreement between the Crown and approved suppliers for the supply of selected common goods and services purchased across central and local government.