What you need to do before going out to the provider community and selecting a provider.
Detailed information on developing a plan for any procurement is in the Guide to procurement - Plan section of our website.
You'll find out how to:
Extra information specific to social services procurements is below.
For social services procurements, you should also:
Plan how the effectiveness of services will be evaluated, and how outcomes as well as outputs will be measured.
Evaluation may look at different things, including:
Evaluation is not performance measurement, but it uses performance data. While measures change over time, evaluation tells us why or why not change has occurred. Evaluation tells us about the value of the change and whether it is attributable to the initiative.
The evaluation can be done by the provider or you can commission an evaluation. The choice will depend on the provider’s ability to carry out or commission an evaluation. Consider how the evaluation will be funded and how to ensure it is independent. If it is not included in the cost of services, it may not happen.
Talk to your internal research and evaluation team, if you have one.
It's also useful to talk to providers when you're developing the specification and performance measure for a service, especially those that deal with vulnerable clients.
The Government Procurement Rules help to shape good procurement practice. If your agency is mandated to use them, they apply to all projects worth more than $100,000 (or construction projects worth more than $9 million).
Sometimes agencies can opt out of some of the Government Procurement Rules for certain procurements - check Rule 12.
For the social sector, the most relevant opt-outs are:
Check definitions in the Rules and consider whether your services are similar and provided to New Zealanders to achieve social objectives.
Even if an opt-out provision applies under Rule 12, many of the other Rules still apply.
Government agencies have several funding options to put in place with social service providers. These include:
The size and nature of providers can vary greatly in the social sector - it's important to spend time to understand your specific provider community before trying to source a provider.
It's often worth speaking to providers directly to help figure out the best approach for your requirements.
Performance measures need to reflect how much you need (quantity), how well they need to be done (quality), and the desired client outcomes (this is the most important aspect). Using the Results Based Accountability™ (RBA) framework, client outcomes might include:
RBA is an outcomes management framework that government agencies and providers can use to identify and work towards achieving results and outcomes for communities, whānau and clients. While not the only outcomes framework, RBA is currently the most widely used in government and the social sector.
‘Procurement’ means all aspects of acquiring and delivering services. Procurement begins with identifying the need and finishes when the contract ends, and for social services, is often part of a wider commissioning process.
Commissioning is a broader concept than procurement - it involves the whole cycle, from identifying the policy issue, to considering the range of possible solutions and then putting the selected option in place.
Although commissioning doesn't always lead to procurement of services, procurement knowledge can often add value to the process, especially when it's considered early. Sharing your knowledge with policy makers and service designers early in the commissioning process can help to achieve improved outcomes and better value for money.