The consensus among procurement professionals is that the Accountant General’s initiative to outline a Contract Management Framework for government contracts is long overdue and is to be welcomed.
For instance, under the framework, contracts must provide watertight termination clauses, which would assist prosecutors in dealing effectively with corruption and fraud, including corruption in the award of contracts, failure to fulfil responsibilities, false pricing, and irregularities in executing contracts.
A key step to curtailing widespread abuses is standardising contracts throughout government so that the people responsible for oversight can also standardise purchasing fraud investigation methods and processes. This will also greatly assist the South African Police and forensic investigators to quickly identify and prosecute transgressors, in both the buy and supply sides.
It is the responsibility of the leaders in government supply chains to restore the integrity of the procurement and supply management systems so that the public can once again become confident that corrupt fraudsters will be held accountable by the law.
Governance in government contracts will be in the spotlight at SmartProcurement’s upcoming Public Sector Contract Governance workshop scheduled for March 14 in Cape Town and April 18 in Centurion.
Workshop facilitator Advocate Helen Venter will, amongst others, analyse the limited and restricted environment for negotiations in public contracts:
You can negotiate with a sole supplier, as such a situation is an exceptional circumstance, but, generally, you cannot discuss price as such. You can, however, dictate the ‘terms of reference’ and thereby leverage the value you are looking for.
Accordingly, while the one-on-one negotiating situation with suppliers is generally limited in Government, the skills of drawing specifications and preparing contracts are paramount and play an important role in the desired outcome.
Like in the private sector, government purchasing professionals have a duty to deliver value for money, at the right quality, at the right place and at the right time.
For more information about this new course, specially designed to identify best practices in public contracts management, and to register, contact the workshop co-ordinator.