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Doing Business with the Government: Navigating the Procurement Maze

This three-day professional development workshop is designed taking into account the view point of the private sector.  In many developing countries the government serves as the primary source of business for many companies.  Unfortunately, there is a strong perception that success with business with the government is only the result of special relationships with government maintained by corrupt practices.  While that may be part of the story in too many cases, success doing business with the government requires a keen understanding of the public procurement process; the schemes employed to ensure competition, the role of administrative review boards to assure fairness and compliance in public procurement tenders and what information is available to the public to gain assurance that the Government maintains high standards in the performance of its public procurement.  This course is especially useful for companies and consulting firms involved in providing goods, works and services or to Government.  The course emphasizes a developing country context.

Upcoming training workshop

  • Course name:

    Doing Business with the Government: Navigating the Procurement Maze

  • Dates:

    to be scheduled
  • Duration:

    3 days
  • Venue:

    Accra, Ghana
  • Price:

    1400 US$
  • Description

    Public procurement is central to good public financial management and public resources allocation. It serves both as a function of the public financial system to control and effect expenditure as well as an economic tool for government policy objectives of such socio-economic issues as race, religious and gender balance.  Public procurement is effected through an institutionalised and regulated “market place”, created for the public sector to transact with the private sector.

    The performance of public procurement to a degree depends upon the level of trust that exists between the public sector and the private sector. The ability of the public sector to attract a large enough proportion of the private sector to respond to its tenders is a crucial element for the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the government’s budget execution.  The value for money achieved in procurement depends on how well the private agents understand the procedures. Also, for a company, understanding the procedures and the regulatory requirements of public procurement makes the difference between getting a return in its investment versus wasting its resources bidding.

    This workshop will begin with a brief overview of procurement as part of the broader public financial management. Appreciating the role of procurement plans and understanding the procurement cycle and its linkages to other Public Finance Management functions will assist the company make more strategic decisions, seek the appropriate information and properly develop its financial proposals.  

    Bidding is an expensive process both for the government as well as for the bidder.  The balance of achieving effective competition, administrative burden, procedural delay, effective control is resolved through the appropriate selection of the procurement method. In particular of growing importance are the use special procurement procedures such as public-private partnerships and design competitions.  The course provides an analytical framework for participants to be able to both understand and analyse under what circumstances the government should adopt a particular approach.  Further the course points to ways in which a company can prepare to bid effectively.  It points out opportunities for abuse and the mechanism by which companies can effectively address such incidences.

    Trolling websites for contracts announcements is an important part of doing business with the Government.  Sensing and monitoring the market is a key activity to source public procurement information to be able to participate in tender processes.  The course helps participants build the technical capacity to respond to bids. It examines the key stages of the bidding process and the key elements of the standard bidding and contract documents.  Contracting presents specific challenges. The course examines the different contract types which in turn facilitates more effective bid pricing and negotiations.   

    It will review different types of contracts and how they are applied.  These will include lump sum contract unit price contracts, framework contracts, percentage based contracts, and cost reimbursable contracts.  It will also provide participants with an overview of contract administration and pay attention to the application of contract variations.   Special topics covered in the course are the assessment of public procurement, public disposal, opportunities for corruption, design competitions and public private partnerships.

    Doing business with the Government is made more successful by demanding transparency and accountability from procurement officials.  The course explores the administrative review process and how potential contractors and vendors can take advantage of these institutions.

    The issue of Public Private Partnerships and the specific challenges they pose in terms of control and fiscal management is discussed.

  • Objective

    The principal professional workshop objective is to provide participants with effective tools to effectively do business with the Government.  The workshop targets marketing and business development managers and seeks to equip them with ways of identifying business opportunities in the public sector and assist them with techniques on how to do business with the Government.

  • Audience

    The target audience is the private sector: construction firms, consulting firms, engineering companies, pharmaceutical and other suppliers to Government. The workshop is also useful to donors and NGO workers in supporting demand for reforms from the private sector point of view.

  • Pre-requisites

    There are no specific pre-requisites for this professional workshop.  It will be helpful if prospective participants have some basic business experience and specific experience with proposal preparation and contracting. 

  • Learning outcomes

    By the end of the professional workshop participants shall:

    • Understand the foundations and principles governing public procurement and how these impact on the “market place”: how the relationship between the public sector “purchaser” and the private sector “vendor” is crafted by laws, regulations and the practice of public procurement. These are discussed within the objectives of economy, efficiency and effectiveness of public procurement;
    • Appreciate the institutional arrangements for public procurement including understanding the roles of the public procurement oversight authority, the administrative review board, the tender committee, the tender evaluation committee, the procurement committee, the procuring entity and the procuring unit;
    • Be aware of the role of procurement planning and the links to the Government budget and also the procurement cycle and understand its stages and what they imply for bidders
    • Understand all the stages of the bidding process.   Appreciate the different procurement methods and the different evaluation methods for ascertaining the competitiveness of a bid.
    • Understand the linkages to other Public Finance Management functions and how these can inform the design of their bids
    • Be familiar with the use of  a simple schedule to prepare competitive bids that responds to the government’s expectations and requirements;
    • Understand different contract types including lump sum contract unit price contracts, framework contracts, percentage based contracts, and cost reimbursable contracts.
    • Understand how to manage contract variations and how to address late payments;
    • Understand what Public Private Partnerships are, the role and opportunities for the private sector and how to respond to this new opportunity.  Appreciate the sharing of risk, and the allocation of responsibilities in accordance with the respective strength of the partnership to assure the highest value for money and profitability.   
    • Understand how to organise a continuous and formal dialogue to structure the “market place” through demand for accountability and transparency and to support reform effort;
    • Understand where the opportunities are for abuse and seek ways to protect against the risk of unfair competition
  • Learning methods

    The learning methods will include the following

    • Introduction to key concepts through the “teaching and discussion” method
    • The use of original source material of key writers/thinkers in this area to support concepts and establish reference to existing practice
    • The use of extensive examples from many different countries with different experiences to illustrate the points put across (Europe, Africa, Caribbean, Governments, multilateral and bilateral donors)
    • The use of short exercises to provoke and consolidate concepts introduced
    • The use of major case studies – to apply tools and to illustrate in more detail some of the key points of the professional workshop
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