To clearly illustrate the importance of obtaining effective, streamlined, and empowering procurement processes and support at local government levels, we wanted to share Jenny’s story – a character with a passion for achieving successful contract management. 

We start with Jenny’s first day in the local government office…

Harnessing enthusiasm on her first day

On Jenny’s first day, she was excited and proud to be joining her local council as a new employee. Her council had recently been in the news regarding a contractor dispute that would cost the council a lot of money. Jenny knew that she’d be able to positively change the way contracts were managed due to her enthusiasm, passion, strategic thinking, and clear vision for effective, outcome-based contract management. 

Jenny had built her experience in a private sector role that had armed her with the training, framework, and systems to effectively manage cost and risk, equipping her with the skills to achieve valuable organisational outcomes through a proactive approach. Jenny was excited to apply these practices and execute her vision for her new council and her community. 

Feeling the pressure to ‘fix’ contract management

Jenny was warmly welcomed by her new team; they had a morning tea (Rochelle made
scones), and Terry, the CFO, explained how relieved they were to have her joining the team to finally ‘fix’ their contract management.
“Fingers crossed we don’t have any more stuff-ups like the one in the news,” said Terry. Jenny thought these were strange comments but was unwavering in her enthusiasm to serve her community.
By Friday, Jenny was utterly exhausted! She had met hundreds of staff, was given a computer, access to the record management system, finance system, the Intranet, and a wide variety of folders and documents. She had also been required to attend three separate meetings to deal with contractor issues and disputes, which she didn’t have the information or time to prepare for properly, and was handed two tenders that urgently needed her attention. 

Identifying her new workplace’s issues 

A few things became apparent over Jenny’s first week at the local council. 
  • The council had not provided her with any sort of induction about procurement or contract management at their organisation. 
  • There was a lack of general understanding of the value of contract management and how it links to better council outcomes (meaning better results for the community).
  • There was no one at council that could explain the contract management framework to her.
  • She didn’t have the team, support, or budget she was expecting.
  • There was no policy, procedures, or system to support contract managers.
  • There was no list of the council’s contracts or meaningful data on spend by category or contract. 
  • Risk management and true benefits realisation did not seem to be a priority for the Strategic Leadership Team. 
  • Her role had been created to patch a broken system.
When Jenny got home on her first night, she wearily sunk into her lounge chair with a cup of tea. As she slowly sipped and reflected, she realised that this would be a much bigger job than she had initially anticipated…