Future directions –By Lisa Neal, Procurement Manager Northern Beaches Council

Article image - Future directions –By Lisa Neal, Procurement Manager Northern Beaches Council

Local Government Procurement Awards winner of the Outstanding Procurement Professional of the Year.

Procurement can pose one of the greatest risks to council’s operations and is often the focus of auditors.  

In this environment it is easy to see how procurement is often viewed solely as a governance function. 

However it can offer so much more to an organisation. 

A well-resourced and professional procurement team can add great value to Council’s operations not only in delivering efficiencies and bankable savings but also in contributing to Council leading the way in sustainability.

Local Government has been slow in recognising the contribution procurement can make but things are changing.  

At the 2018 annual Local Government Procurement conference there were many examples of how the professionalism of the sector is growing and it was an honour to receive the Outstanding Procurement Professional award.  

The award was received in recognition of the efforts of myself and my team in relation to the integration of the procurement function and capability development in the amalgamated Northern Beaches Council. 

I’ve been in procurement for 20 years and am passionate about developing an understanding of the profession, its value and raising its profile in Council. 

Local Government is a challenging place to be a procurement professional – it’s incredibly complex due to the range of responsibilities a council has and managing many staff with different skills. 

This is what makes
it interesting!  

Seeing how your work contributes to a vibrant local community, particularly one in which you live is very satisfying and drives you to always strive for the best outcomes.  

Central to the success of embedding good procurement practice in your organisation is recognising that it is ultimately a culture and requires support of the leadership team.  

They should understand that procurement can add value over and above legislative compliance. 

My focus during Council’s amalgamation transition period was on what I believe to be two key elements of good procurement: a robust framework with efficient processes and well-trained staff.  

It is critical for councils to spend time establishing the foundations before moving on to more strategic activities.  

So, what next?  

We are still working towards embedding our procurement framework in the amalgamated organisation. 

We are also beginning to implement our strategic objectives, beginning with social sustainability and local supplier engagement.  

To kick this off, in conjunction with small business month in October, we ran a series of ‘Doing Business with Council’ sessions.  

Next we need to start on environmental sustainability, there’s a lot happening globally and nationally in this space and plenty of opportunities for us to have an impact through our own supply chain; such as incorporating Council’s commitment to the banning of single use plastics into our contracts and ensuring consideration of ethical supply. 

There’s certainly never a quiet moment for the
procurement team!