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Steady Progress on Procurement

New procurement legislation and guidance, a recently completed procurement manual and the training of more than 600 public servants are just some of the ways that Government is working to ensure that the public receive value for money when it comes to procurement.

Officials outlined some of the improvements that have been made to the procurement process over the last two years, following the release today (Wednesday, 3 July), of a report on the procurement of services outsourced by Government between 2012 and 2017.

Director of Procurement Taraq Bashir noted that since 2017 the Central Procurement Office (CPO) has made significant progress towards developing a centralised pool of tools and templates that Government agencies are using to implement standardised services and expectations.

These resources, including a new procurement manual, completed earlier than planned in the response to the OAG, are available from the website procure.gov.ky which was launched last year. The comprehensive site, Mr Bashir says, aims to make the procurement process more efficient and consistent for civil servants and vendors alike.

With this objective in mind, CPO also worked with Government to acquire and implement a new online procurement portal known as Bonfire, making the Cayman Islands one of the first countries in the region to embrace such a system.

To further support the procurement process the Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit (SRIU) in the Office of the Deputy Governor has further developed standard business case templates to help public servants meet the legal requirement to provide robust justifications for procurement.

Furthermore CPO and SRIU have also been working in tandem to provide the public service with a wide range of training.

The procurement office itself has offered specialised and technical training in procurement and the new legislation.

Meanwhile in 2018, through the SRIU’s Professional Development Programme, 34 civil servants earned the APMG better business cases foundation level professional qualification. Also that year 17 senior leaders attended a master class for reviewing and approving business cases.

In 2019 the SRIU is facilitating additional business case certification courses, as well as master classes for senior leaders and technical leads that cover topics such as the role of the project sponsor, reviewing and approving business cases and benefits management.

“The civil service has greatly improved our procurement regime in recent years and this is in main part thanks to the Central Procurement Office and also the contributions of the SRIU team”, Deputy Governor Hon Franz Manderson says.

The Deputy Governor adds: “Chief Officers and their teams will continue to take full advantage of the available training, guidance and support within the context of the Auditor General’s findings with regards to their agencies. This will help them to address any specific issues identified for their ministries with current outsourced services, and to improve the way they plan and manage these services in the future”.

The Central Procurement Office began work in 2015, while the Procurement Law and Regulations, took effect in May 2018. This legislation applies to the procurement of all goods, works and services, including outsourced non-core services such as those covered in the audit report.

The law and regulations also specifically address a number of recommendations contained in the Auditor General’s report such as when business cases must be used, what should be in them, requirements for requests for proposal and invitations to tender, and how single source procurement should be justified.

Note to Editors:

1. The Auditor General’s report notes that the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture & Lands for the five year period under review was $28.8 million, and that $17.2 million of this was sent on school buses. Head of Business Services at the Department of Education Services Mark Ray who is in charge of procurement for the agency explains the importance that DES places on ensuring that students benefit from a positive experience and the process by which his team seeks to ensure a high quality service.

“Securing transportation services for students in government schools is of utmost importance to us, as this is a service that not only impacts a significant percentage of our students, but is one of the first, if not the first school-related activity many of our young people interact with on a daily basis.

It is therefore critical that those who provide the service for us are well trained, courteous and have the safety and well-being of our students at the forefront of their thoughts and actions constantly. The service is primarily outsourced through competitive bidding, and contractors are free to bid on any or all routes out for tender. In addition to ensuring that the contractors have the required number of buses to service the routes they are bidding on, the tender also looks at the experience of the contractors in providing the service, the training and certifications employees have in student safety and the price of acquiring the services.

The existing contractors are all experienced in the field and continue to deliver a high quality service to our students and schools. They are quick to address issues that arise, and often support schools in a variety of ways, giving back time and resources to promote education in whatever way they can.”

2. Online procurement resources are available from https://www.procure.gov.ky/procurement-legislation-policy-amp-guidance.

3. The management response to the Auditor General’s report briefly outlines Government’s plan of action for addressing the recommendations put forward in the document.

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks