Time for a healthy change in contingent workforce procurement and supply.

A healthy change seems to be taking place in the way contingent workforce procurement and supply is being imagined, designed and planned. Recruitment and procurement professionals are behind it; and it is possible to see signs of a strongly emerging view that the process will become more collaborative – one in which key stakeholders work together to co-produce more efficient, equitable, effective, economic, and elegant outcomes.

I was therefore intrigued to hear Gabi Bywater, Director, NSW Contingent Workforce, speak about transparent & collaborative ‪#‎procurement‬ at the ANRA Member Forum in Sydney recently.

Transparency in procurement – especially public sector procurement – is a concept that is well-accepted and mostly well-regulated through procurement and integrity guidelines.

Gabi’s statement that “the biggest pie deserves the best rates” was refreshingly candid. Although that’s not an exact quote, it’s pretty close to the mark.

What was also encouraging, was that Gabi was willing to show ANRA forum participants some published and very detailed statistics on New South Wales Procurement Contingent Workforce expenditure – the What, Where, Who and How Much!

The information she showed us was current to May 2016; and there was some fascinating stuff in there – including statistics, which showed a YTD spend of approx $1 billion, with a little over 60% being spent with SMEs. That came as encouraging news to many of the forum participants!

Health professional standing beside white bed uid 1270701But for me, what was especially encouraging was Gabi’s reference to a perceived need for a more collaborative approach to contingent workforce procurement and supply transactions.

My ears pricked up at that, because I was on the program to speak about eight common shortcomings in the current adversarial approach to drafting supply terms and conditions. I was to speak under the topic, “Would you really sign that?”

My conclusion, after reviewing those shortcomings, was to be that the future of work demands a more relational approach to chartering standards of service usage and supply than presently exists under obligation and enforcement focused legal/contractual models; that such an approach is possible; that we may see it first in strongly relational sectors, such as health; and that the employment services industry is likely to be at the forefront of developing it.

The thought that others might already be thinking it healthy to pursue a similar path was encouraging, indeed. It’s certainly space worth watching!

Andrew C. Wood

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