Government Insight: Trends in local government

This month, Joe Carbone, CEO of Manningham City Council, reveals how his local government manages procurement and contracts, plus speculates on future trends in the local government sector.

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What types of projects and services are usually procured via tender in local government?

Any expenditure on goods and services over $150K must go to tender. This expenditure mainly consists of construction contracts and complex services. Examples over the last few months include tenders for spray sealing of roads, streetscape works, consultancy services for flood mitigation, construction of Finns Reserve Bridge, and the provision of traffic management services. Council also tenders for a range of local services, such as plumbers, electricians, and pest control.

How open are you for companies to approach you, or your senior management team, with business propositions?

Council is very open to business propositions and new ideas. We encourage contractors to not only apply for tenders that are advertised on our website, but also contact our Council if no immediate tender is listed. This can be done through contacting Council’s Procurement team, which will assist in determining whether there is a need/value within Council for the business proposition, and who best in Council the business proposition should be targeted towards.

Using your crystal ball, what do you think will be the most exciting trends in the local government sector over the next 1-5 years?

Regionalism is a strong theme, as the local government sector contemplates financial sustainability. Cost shifting to local government from other levels of government and increasing community expectations are some of the drivers that will need to be managed in different ways into the future. Government reviews of taxation and rating systems will force the question and raise the challenge of creating greater value for our communities without higher ‘taxation’ burden.

In this context, regionalism will motivate ideas and strategies between local councils around how we can do our business more efficiently through back-of-house sharing of services and joint collaborations. Corporate services such as IT/HR/communications/procurement etc may be areas where regional partnerships in local government may develop!

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