How certification assists with the procurement and tender process
In June 2021, the Federal Government funnelled an additional $15.2 billion into the infrastructure budget for the 2021-2022 financial year.
This has led to dozens of new projects across Australia ranging from construction to transportation and planning.
Thousands of businesses across the country will be competing for government tender procurement. So how do you make your business stand out from the crowd?
One of the most effective ways to increase your chances of winning tenders is to achieve and maintain ISO certification. ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety), ISO 14001 (environmental management) and ISO 27001 (information security management) are all valuable certifications to display in your tender application, demonstrating your commitment to high-quality service and internationally recognised standards.
However, this isn’t the only way certification assists with the procurement process. In this article, we take a deeper dive into the value of certification and how it can make the process more successful.
#1. Creating “value for money”
Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) state that government officials must consider whether a procurement will deliver “value for money”. This is not just based on the dollar value. When conducting a procurement, the official will consider the following factors of each tender submission:
- Quality of the goods and services
- Fitness for purpose of the proposal
- Potential supplier’s relevant experience and performance history
- The flexibility of the proposal (including innovation and adaptability over the lifecycle of the procurement)
- Environmental sustainability of the proposed goods and services (like energy efficiency, environmental impact and the use of recycled products)
- Recognition of the government’s commitment to sustainable procurement practices
- Whole-of-life costs.
As you can see, environmentally-friendly practices and sustainability are important factors in the procurement process. With this in mind, ISO 14001 certification will demonstrate your commitment to minimising the environmental impact of your work and allow you to stand out from competitors.
ISO 9001 will also cover the “quality” side of procurement. This certification is designed to ensure you deliver consistent, high-quality products and services to your clients. It also reduces your exposure to liability during work.
#2. Ensuring the confidentiality of Commonwealth information
The Australian Government uses a secure procurement information system called AusTender to manage procurements, share important information with potential suppliers and allow suppliers to monitor the procurement progress.
Tender submissions are treated as confidential before and after a contract has been awarded. However, once a contract has been awarded, the terms of the contract may no longer be confidential.
If the government official in charge of the procurement process requires total confidentiality, the contract will alert suppliers to the public accountability requirements of the Australian Government.
In this case, ISO 27001 certification would be valuable to have in your tender application.
Developed by ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), ISO 27001 demonstrates your commitment to your own information security as well as the Commonwealth’s, reassuring the government official in charge that sensitive information will be protected in the procurement process.
#3. Meeting contractual requirements
The Australian Government also maintains different rules and requirements based on the value of the procurement. For example, the current procurement thresholds include:
- $10,000 for non-corporate Commonwealth entities and prescribed corporate Commonwealth entities
- $400,000 for procurements other than procurement of construction services
- $7.5 million for procurement of construction services.
For procurements valued at or above the relevant threshold, the government will make enquiries to determine your compliance with certain standards like ISO 9001. In this case, they will gather evidence about your certifications and ensure an independent assessor has completed periodic audits of your compliance with ISO standards.
If you plan to apply for a high-value procurement, we recommend achieving and maintaining ISO certification to ensure you don’t miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Many contracts require some form of certification to prove your “value for money” and reliability.
How QMS can assist
Achieving ISO certification can be unnecessarily complex — but we’re here to make the process simple.
As a fully accredited certification body, our industry-experienced assessors can perform certification assessments, so you can continually improve your business, undertake the process of certification and become formally certified. Our team can also assist in training to ensure all relevant employees understand the value of certification.
Find out if your business is ready for certification by downloading our checklist now, or contact us for an in-depth audit and assessment of your current management systems. We can help make the certification process much easier.
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