Local government procurement

Letter and article sent on 15 May 2020 to chief executives of councils by John Ryan, Controller and Auditor-General. The article asks a series of questions about procurement practice and culture in an organisation.

15 May 2020

Kia ora koutou

Local government procurement

Firstly I want to acknowledge the very challenging circumstances that you are faced with at the moment. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on all of us, and the communities we live in. I hope this finds you well, and that you and your staff are well placed for the challenges ahead.

I also wanted to bring your attention to my Office’s latest work that is about local government procurement. Last year, my auditors visited 21 councils to talk to them about how they do procurement. Using insights from those visits, and from my Office’s other work on procurement, we have written an article that asks a series of questions about procurement practice and culture in an organisation. The questions are designed to help you think about whether procurement processes and procedures in your council are working effectively and whether they can be improved.

The topics the questions cover are:

  • good governance for procurement;
  • planning for significant capital projects;
  • conflicts of interest;
  • emergency procurement;
  • procurement capability and capacity;
  • procurement policies and training;
  • contract management; and
  • achieving broader outcomes through procurement.

I encourage you to reflect on the questions in the article and, where you see gaps in procurement at your council, implement the necessary changes to strengthen your procurement processes and procedures. A good start to assessing whether procurement in your council can be improved would be to ask your Audit and Risk Committee (or equivalent) to review your procurement policies if this hasn’t been done recently. You could also consider an internal audit to look at how procurement is working in practice.

The article will be published on our website on 19 May 2020. I encourage you to share it with elected members and staff from your council. Please feel free to contact the Sector Manager you normally deal with or your appointed auditor if you would like more information on any of the topics covered in the article.

Nāku noa, nā

Signature - JR

John Ryan
Controller and Auditor-General

Photo acknowledgement: mychillybin © Myles Andrews