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Changing the locks at Parliament House

By johnboy - 15 August 2008 10

The SMH has a fun little story on the herculean task being undertaken at the house on the hill where all the locks need changing.

The existing locks are beautiful things with two keys set alongside one another.

(They’re ridiculously over-engineered considering that anything of any interest is in the server room these days. One decent padlock on that and you’re basically done securing the building. Especially considering the cleaners all have master keys anyway.)

But the beautiful locks are wearing out and the company that made them is no longer with us (possibly because no-one actually needs such complicated beasties).

And so 6,200 locks are having to be re-done and the thousands of people with existing keys are going to have to have them re-issued.

And the tendering process has not gone smoothly either:

    The tender process for the lock replacement had to be done four times. The first tender was withdrawn over concerns about value for money. The second was withdrawn after only one supplier was invited to submit a tender. The third fell over when one of the officers from the tender evaluation committee was spotted accepting “hospitality”.

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
Changing the locks at Parliament House
bd84 10:58 pm 15 Aug 08

I fail to see how the current locks could be beautiful things, they’re just locks in a building built in 1988. Obviously with 6,200 locks and a lot of political secrets there would be a lot of doors that need locking and having locks that are broken and that anyone can make a copy of the key wouldn’t be a particularly good for the security of the building. Procurement tendering processes are often stupid things, but then when someone abuses the process you can somewhat see why it’s there.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 3:32 pm 15 Aug 08

Tenders sometimes fail because there is insufficient interest from industry (which usually means the tender is extraordinarily badly written, has unclear requirements, or is unrealistic about the level of outcome for the anticipated spend).

If it were up to me (and it’s not) I’d do away with the current formal tender process altogether, as the additional hassle and cost is ADDED TO THE COST OF THE SERVICES BOUGHT BY GOVERNMENT! In my industry segment, it’s not unusual to have to mount a bid to get onto a services panel, and then write another bid for an individual piece of work. And yep, we have to pad out charges to cover these activities. Bottom line, the current version of tendering ends up costing the government more. It would be better to have an arrangement whereby govt execs were held more accountable for their external services spending, and govt formally shared costing information between agencies. Then the service providers could compete on quality, as the approximate deal win prices would be easy to calculate.

astrojax 3:14 pm 15 Aug 08

locks are mankind’s greatest indictment. ;(

p1 12:12 pm 15 Aug 08

Are there not maintenace people at PH? can’t they just buy a million locks and have them fitted?

sepi 10:38 am 15 Aug 08

How can only one person be asked to tender – that’s not a tender, that’s just hiring someone.

SamTSeppo 10:22 am 15 Aug 08

This thread is worthless without pictures!

Overheard 10:00 am 15 Aug 08

Many agencies have a zero tolerance policy on any ‘hospitality’. It’s all about fairness and impartiality being seen to be upheld, as well as actually happening.

Sammy 9:35 am 15 Aug 08

I don’t know what the ‘hospitality’ was like, but I hear the RFT writer has the most secure house in Canberra!

neanderthalsis 9:09 am 15 Aug 08

Can we define hospitality?

A spot of lunch to discuss the RFT surely wouldn’t put the kybosh on the plan. It is a common practice here in Industry land.

Kramer 9:00 am 15 Aug 08

I wonder how the cost of preparing and processing four RFTs compares with the cost of the replacement locks?

Anyway, I don’t see anything wrong with accepting a bit of “hospitality” – it happens in the private sector. Also if you’ve ever had the displeasure of writing a RFT you would understand that a bit of “hospitality” might ease the pain & suffering.

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