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Q: THIS IS A RELATIVELY NEW POSITION IN DMO.
WHAT IS IT’S PURPOSE?
A: “The position was recommended by the Mortimer Review. The
fundamental role is to assist the CEO to make the DMO a more business-
like organisation. Our purpose is to contribute to equipping and sustaining
our sailors, soldiers and Air Force personnel more effectively and efficiently
through increasing DMO commercial practices and that our work results in
enhanced mutual respect between Defence and Industry.
“These things can’t be achieved overnight – it’s a process of continuing
the reforms which the CEO (Dr Gumley) has been driving since he joined
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PARTICULARS? DO YOU HAVE TO
LOOK AT THE SKILL SETS OF DMO PERSONNEL?
A: “Yes. It’s one of the great challenges for DMO because unlike some
other Government agencies we face a great deal of competition for our
work force from the private sector. Some of this competition comes from
defence industry, but at the moment we are also suffering from the lure of
the mining industry in particular and sometimes that makes it difficult to
find and retain the sorts of skilled people we need.
“I have regular discussions with industry colleagues through a variety
of forums – things like the Australian Procurement Construction Council
leadership group, to give you an example – and all of us face similar
problems. My focus is on the procurement and contracting workforce and
we cannot always find the skilled people we need. The big difference is that
private sector companies have the flexibility to pay more – not necessarily
a lot more – but enough to attract and retain the people they require. It’s
just a fact of life that in the public service we don’t have that amount of
latitude and we do find it challenging.
“The skill sets we develop in our people – particularly for our procurement
and contracting workforce – are held in high regard by the government and
industry sectors. There is a lot of data showing that the procurement sector
is the fastest growing professional group in Australia. I have around 250
specialists across the various Projects and System Program Offices (SPOs)
and one of our challenges is to further increase their skill sets.
Q: HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT ACHIEVING THAT?
A: “We have a significant internal professionalisation agenda. We have a
number of initiatives underway with the peak industry bodies involved
in this area and we are doing things such as developing a national
vocational procurement framework. In addition, and in conjunction with
the Australian Procurement and Construction Council, we are establishing
a Masters degree in strategic procurement, which will be available through
universities all around Australia in 2011.
“Having said that, not everyone will necessarily require a higher degree.
We have a workforce that starts at the level of a junior contracting officer
(APS level 5 – about $85,000. Editor
), then senior contracting officer, and
finally chief contracting officer. Our vision is that professionals will be
able to rise through these various categories and at each stage there will
be particular training requirements to be met. We are identifying exactly
what someone will need to do before progressing to the next stage.
“The level of procurement undertaken by DMO varies significantly.
Last financial year DMO let around 112,000 contracts – however 111,500
of those were simple purchase orders involving a one-page form or even
the use of a purchase card. So for the vast majority of cases we don’t
require the involvement of our professional contracting specialists, but
rather we rely on our simple contracting templates to make life easier for
My focus is on the procurement and contracting
workforce and we cannot always find the skilled
people we need
Our vision is that professionals will be able to
rise through these various categories and at
each stage there will be particular training
requirements to be met
DMO’s General Manager
SPEAKING TO APDR EDITOR KYM BERGMANN
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