Build procurement capability
In early 2023, the VGPB held a strategic planning session with the CPOs from all departments and VGPB-accredited agencies. Attendees reviewed the Board’s progress against its 3-year strategic priorities plan agreed in 2021 and identified emerging priorities.
A key output of this session was the inclusion of a new strategic priority to build procurement capability across departments and agencies. The VGPB and CPOs recognise that good procurement is a strategic function that is critical to government service delivery.
Procurement capability is generally improved through changes to systems, policies and people. The VGPB’s strategic priorities 1 and 4 already contribute significantly to supporting procurement teams through improved systems, data and fit-for-purpose policies and guidance.
To uplift capability across government, the VGPB developed a procurement capability strategy. The strategy recognises that procurement is largely delivered through decentralised models supported by central procurement policy teams, which means that learning and development tools need to be developed to support both procurement professionals and general government buyers across departments and agencies.
Phase one of the strategy will be implemented in the first half of 2023–24, with the launch of a central learning management system that enables departments and agencies to access consistent training resources aligned to VGPB policies. Resources will be available online and on demand, with initial modules capturing foundational procurement and contract management.
Enhancing procurement capability by building competencies will elevate procurement functions across departments and agencies. This will deliver consistent procurement processes, resulting in better value-for-money outcomes across the Victorian Government.
In the coming year, the VGPB will further develop its capability strategy to support the training needs of departments and agencies.
Case study: The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing’s online training transformation
Across the Victorian Government, departments and agencies are transforming the way they deliver procurement training.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) recently developed online learning modules to build capability across the department in procurement planning, governance, probity, evaluation and contract management. The online learning modules are available on demand, giving employees the flexibility to complete the training at a time and location that suits their needs. The learning modules can be mandated for staff as appropriate, with the ability to reporting on staff that have completed the training.
A key challenge in building procurement capability is that while large, strategic procurements are typically conducted by procurement specialists, most small transactional procurements are conducted by the relevant business area, so the employees responsible for the procurement may have less experience in government procurement and contract management.
By moving to online, on-demand delivery, DFFH has been able to roll out training to far more employees than was possible with face-to-face training. The expansion of training is already having an impact, with greater engagement of employees across DFFH with the central procurement team. The team is also seeing an improved understanding of procurement and contract management policies and processes among DFFH staff.
By investing in scalable online training, DFFH is leading the way in procurement capability development.
“The feedback on both modules has been overwhelmingly positive. The central procurement team has noted increased procurement capability when engaging with the business.”
CPO at the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
Capability building and collaborative forums
In 2022–23, the VGPB continued to support sharing information and building capability through the following forums:
Buyers' Community of Practice forum
This forum, presented jointly with DTF’s Construction Policy team, encourages a culture of procurement knowledge-sharing and best practice across government. It brings together more than 600 procurement practitioners from across regional and metropolitan locations. The 3 forums held in 2022–23 included information on new policies including the , the , the , and explored current issues, including a presentation on corruption risk by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.
Whole of Victorian Government Procurement officers' meeting
These meetings are for procurement practitioners from across departments and agencies. The focus is on peer-to-peer learning and sharing practical experience.
Five meetings were held in 2022–23, covering topics such as procurement analytics, cyber security and supplier contract management (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Presentations at Procurement Officer's meetings
Online buyer's group
The VGPB’s online Buyers’ Community of Practice group on the Victorian Public Sector Innovation Network has 760 members, reaching even more procurement professionals across government with procurement updates, resources and materials.
Highlights in 2022-23
Highlights for capability building include:
- 3 Procurement Community of Practice Forums
- 5 Procurement Officer’s meetings
- 760 Government members in the online buyer’s group on the Innovation Network.
Case study: Benchmarking against global procurement standards at the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions
The VGPB wishes to recognise the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) for achieving the international Procurement Excellence Programme Award issued by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS). This independent certification is given to organisations who have demonstrated quality and robustness of their procurement policies, processes and procedures.
CIPS is the world’s largest professional body for procurement and supply. Their Procurement Excellence Programme is a comprehensive and independent global assessment process that helps organisations benchmark performance against international standards. In the assessment, a meticulous review of an organisation's procurement policies, processes and procedures is conducted over a period of 6 to 9 months. It focuses on 5 key areas: leadership and organisation, strategy and policy, people, processes and systems, and performance management.
Following the machinery of government change in 2019 which formed the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) and subsequent machinery of government change in 2022 which formed the current DJSIR, the department has been continually improving its procurement function, starting with its own review followed by the VGPB accreditation process in 2021.
“The VGPB accreditation process was useful for us in verifying that we had all the right components in place and highlighting areas for improvement," explained Chris O’Farrell, Acting CPO at DJSIR.
“Since receiving VGPB accreditation, we have continued to make improvements. We wanted to take stock and understand where we were performing well and where we could improve by benchmarking our procurement function against global standards.”
The CIPS accreditation is a rigorous process that covers all facets of procurement, including leadership, how procurement is viewed across the organisation, and capability development.
Olga Carlton, Manager, Contracts Governance and Strategic Projects, led the DJSIR accreditation effort and notes that it’s not just about ticking off policies and procedures. “Even in areas where you are doing well, the CIPS process gives you ideas for continuous improvement. For example, the CIPS review has a big focus on people and development. This led to discussions around how DJSIR views and measures procurement capability, which led to us setting new capability-building goals.”
“Going through the CIPS accreditation process also prompted us to focus more on the ways in which procurement supports the department’s broader strategic objectives. In fact, we tightened the links between the department’s strategy and our own,” explained Olga.
The team also collaborated with different parts of the business to deliver the evidence needed to become CIPS accredited, including the corporate services areas responsible for coordinating integrity, conflict of interest and risk management.
“Being CIPS accredited demonstrates to our stakeholders and suppliers that we have a mature procurement function and that we invest in procurement,” said Olga. “This can help us attract skilled staff and gives suppliers confidence that we are committed to fairness and equity, open communication and managing risks with integrity.”
With the CIPS accreditation in hand, DJSIR emerges as the only Victorian Government department to currently hold this recognition. This achievement reinforces the department's commitment to deliver services to the community through procurement excellence.
Reviewed 01 November 2023