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A winning formula with Inland Revenue's Procurement-in-a-Day sessions

Commercial Specialist at Inland Revenue, Fiona Macdonald talks to us about the streamlined procurement process which has been a hit with both suppliers and internal stakeholders at the agency.

The traditional procurement process was turned on its head when Inland Revenue’s Chief Procurement Officer laid down a challenge last year to complete a procurement exercise in a day.

Completing RFP presentations, evaluation, moderation and contract award all in one day required good problem analysis. “We had to determine which parts of the traditional procurement process we could omit while ensuring the process was still commercially robust, compliant, and produced the right outcomes,” said Fiona.

Careful planning meant Fiona was able to reduce her project timeline from the initial customer request to contract award to just three to four weeks (or shorter depending on internal stakeholder availability and definition of requirements).

But Procurement-in-a-Day sessions won’t work for every project. Fiona advises selecting engagements that are low risk, less complex or routine, and with a clearly defined scope. Selecting suppliers off an agency’s existing panels or using All-of-Government contracts can also help expedite the market research phase.

Key to running a successful Procurement-in-a-Day session is keeping paperwork to a minimum, having in-person presentations from suppliers and facilitating quick decision making.

Fiona Macdonald  Commercial Specialist, Inland Revenue

Tips for running Procurement-in-a-Day sessions

Fiona's now run three Procurement-in-a-Day sessions and shares with us what's worked for her.

Keep paperwork minimal and concise

This is a great opportunity to keep procurement plans, requirements documentation, and appointment recommendation report short. Keeping with minimal paperwork, invite suppliers to present in person instead of submitting a lengthy written proposal.

Build in time for scoring and moderation in your schedule

Suppliers were booked for 30-40 minute presentations. Scoring was done in 15-minute blocks after each presentation, and a short moderation session at the end ensured that the evaluation panel were satisfied with their final decision.

Ensure the decision maker with financial delegation is on the evaluation panel

This ensures that the panel is able to make decision on a preferred supplier and inform them on the same day. If the decision maker is unavailable on the day make sure they delegate their authority to someone else on the panel.

Tangible benefits to suppliers and IR

Suppliers have welcomed this approach and feedback has been positive. Removing the requirement to submit a written proposal meant suppliers could focus their time on creating an effective solution and present their proposal. This also allows both parties to have a good discussion around the proposal in real time. 

Fast, on-the-day, decision making helped suppliers learn the RFP outcome sooner, meaning they could start work within a few weeks from the initial stakeholder request.

It was also less onerous on the evaluation panel; they could set aside a few hours to listen to presentations rather than read through multiple written responses. The presentation aspect also provided the evaluation panel with an opportunity to assess how a supplier could relate to Inland Revenue which was important when buying consultancy services.

The Procurement-in-a-day format provides Inland Revenue with an efficient and effective way to approach the market for routine procurements that is also aligned with their procurement policy. It has also helped provide internal stakeholders with assurance by demonstrating that value for money (ie price and quality) was being achieved.

Procurement demonstrating value

Procurement-in-a-Day has generated good buzz among senior members of the agency, with more stakeholders keen on adopting the process.

"Internally, our colleagues are pleasantly surprised when we can deliver on their urgent requests while following good procurement process. It’s great to know that we have demonstrated value to our internal stakeholders," says Fiona.

Inland Revenue continues to review and refine the process. If your teams are interested in learning more about Procurement-in-a-day, please get in touch with Inland Revenue's Aditi Cook, Manager Commercial Corporate.