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Prison buggered indefinitely

johnboy 18 February 2009 48

The Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson brings word out of committee hearings that the electronic security system at the prison still doesn’t work and no-one knows when it will.

This is the prison that was officially opened before the election as a symbol of the Government’s competence.

So when will they bite the bullet and start shipping long term inmates all the way to distant Goulburn again?


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Jim Jones Jim Jones 2:50 pm 20 Feb 09

peterh said :

Jim Jones said :

Procurement is pretty distinct from an outsourcing tender process or even just outsourcing though, innnit.

Procurement regularly happens without any outsourcing at all.

the framework is a guideline for all forms of procurement, it is used in the evaluation of tenders as well, a bit like the bid / no bid processes many organisations go through prior to responding to a tender. The tender review process must be performed against the weights and measures as per the framework, and one is value for money. price is only one of several factors, something that the ACT government seems to be just focusing on. if there was another response that met all criteria, but was slightly more expensive, and was won based on the total solution, we probably wouldn’t be discussing this at all.

Ah, gotcha.

To be fair, that stuff reads like the kind of fluffy happy ‘guidelines’ bollocks that Govvie Departments come up with and then completely ignore, just like all those ‘family friendly’, ‘work/life balance’ statements.

peterh peterh 1:01 pm 20 Feb 09

johnboy said :

You can’t polish a turd.

But you can roll it in glitter.

(apologies if I use that again soon in a story)

oh i am going to use that one!

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 12:53 pm 20 Feb 09

encouraging competition by ensuring non-discrimination in procurement and using competitive procurement processes AND making decisions in an accountable and transparent manner.

Giving a current situation I am baring witness too, these widely harped lines are laughable!

peterh peterh 12:47 pm 20 Feb 09

Jim Jones said :

Procurement is pretty distinct from an outsourcing tender process or even just outsourcing though, innnit.

Procurement regularly happens without any outsourcing at all.

the framework is a guideline for all forms of procurement, it is used in the evaluation of tenders as well, a bit like the bid / no bid processes many organisations go through prior to responding to a tender. The tender review process must be performed against the weights and measures as per the framework, and one is value for money. price is only one of several factors, something that the ACT government seems to be just focusing on. if there was another response that met all criteria, but was slightly more expensive, and was won based on the total solution, we probably wouldn’t be discussing this at all.

Whatsup Whatsup 12:30 pm 20 Feb 09

I think we (the tax payers) should have an unopening ceremony to put things straight until it really is ready to open. Government funded “Free Beer” for all.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 12:26 pm 20 Feb 09

Procurement is pretty distinct from an outsourcing tender process or even just outsourcing though, innnit.

Procurement regularly happens without any outsourcing at all.

peterh peterh 11:52 am 20 Feb 09

here is the framework from the fed govt….

Value for Money

Value for money is the core principle underpinning Australian Government procurement. In a procurement process this principle requires a comparative analysis of all relevant costs and benefits of each proposal throughout the whole procurement cycle (whole-of-life costing).

Value for money is enhanced in government procurement by:

1. encouraging competition by ensuring non-discrimination in procurement and using competitive procurement processes;
2. promoting the use of resources in an efficient, effective and ethical manner 6; and
3. making decisions in an accountable and transparent manner.

In order to be in the best position to determine value for money when conducting a procurement process, request documentation needs to specify logical, clearly articulated, comprehensive and relevant conditions for participation and evaluation criteria which will enable the proper identification, assessment and comparison of the costs and benefits of all submissions on a fair and common basis over the whole procurement cycle.

Cost is not the only determining factor in assessing value for money. Rather, a whole-of-life value for money assessment would include consideration of factors such as:

1. fitness for purpose;
2. the performance history of each prospective supplier;
3. the relative risk of each proposal;
4. the flexibility to adapt to possible change over the lifecycle of the property or service;
5. financial considerations including all relevant direct and indirect benefits and costs over the whole procurement cycle; and
6. the evaluation of contract options (for example, contract extension options).

act goverment use the same framework.

here is the info if you are up for a read…

http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/fmg-series/procurement-guidelines/division-1.html#framework

Jim Jones Jim Jones 10:40 am 20 Feb 09

Totally agree that the firm has a moral obligation to fill their obligations.

What kills me (and why I was musing on the ‘cheapest tender’ theory) is the fact that this sort of thing is so commonplace. In the public circus it seems to be the norm (with anything tech related anyway): outsourced projects always run over schedule and over budget.

I read an online book about some of this stuff a while back (http://epress.anu.edu.au/managing_citation.html) which suggested that, a great deal of the time this problem was due to poor management of consultants (rather than the consulting firm being dodgy).

The argument about good and bad people certainly comes into it. But a good person can only do good programming under the right circumstances: they need clear direction on the task/s, the right time, equipment and (sometimes) support staff.

As for “If they take a loss on a project they will learn to negotiate a better price in future”. I dunno. Does the firm actually take the loss? Most of the cases I’ve heard of involve renegotiations of contract, or the organisation doing the contracting actually stumping up. I suppose it depends.

But yeah, obviously a lot more complex than my earlier musings.

Granny Granny 2:15 am 20 Feb 09

I don’t buy that whole “cheapest tender” line.

My partner’s time is billed at two to three times what he is paid, and I’m sure that’s not uncommon. The programmer tends to see relatively little of it.

Good people, bad people. The cost is not that much different. Often the bad people are more expensive.

The firm has a moral obligation to fulfil their contractual obligations, in my opinion … no matter what it takes.

If they take a loss on a project they will learn to negotiate a better price in future.

Thumper Thumper 8:25 pm 19 Feb 09

Actually, you can polish a turd.

But it’s still a turd.

johnboy johnboy 7:40 pm 19 Feb 09

You can’t polish a turd.

But you can roll it in glitter.

(apologies if I use that again soon in a story)

vg vg 7:37 pm 19 Feb 09

Don’t forget people, you (or at least a lot of people) voted for this government of liars. There’s no way on God’s green earth the prison was going to be finished anywhere near the time Sad Simon proposed pre-election.

If it looks like a piece of sh*t, smells like a piece of sh*t…………………….

miz miz 7:01 pm 19 Feb 09

Poptop, yes. Even funnier is the fact that Minister H is giving a talk on the ‘human rights compliant prison’ at a conference I am going to in March. I imagine it will still be human rights compliant then, what with no prisoners and all.

monomania monomania 6:22 pm 19 Feb 09

Didn’t Bovis Lendlease suffer large losses because they couldn’t built Wembly Stadium on time. In this case it’s the ACT community that will bear the loss

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 1:25 pm 19 Feb 09

Well put Peter!

peterh peterh 1:22 pm 19 Feb 09

Jim Jones said :

Isn’t it an almost inherent problem with the tender process though?

The company to provide the cheapest tender offer invariably wins the contract, but the offer is low because it’s unrealistically developed. So the tender goes to the company who will almost necessarily go over budget, over time and do a bad job – all the while frantically trying to patch things up in a short period with low-paid, underqualified staff so that, in the end, the job needs to be redone properly anyway.

Obviously this is a simplification, but there is a kernal of truth, no?

maybe if the government stuck to the concept of “value”, being the total solution, including price, innovation and implementation time all acting as factors within the value concept, not just the cheapest, these tender wins would have better long term wins for all concerned. Whilst they stick to the cheapest, there will always be room for major errors. Price shouldn’t have been the deciding factor for the prison tender.

I would have thought that security, safety, human rights, ease of use and on time completion would have been better factors to consider.

The government has got what it asked for. the “cheapest” initial solution, but not necessarily the best. Once the prison is finished, what will be the overall cost? there were probably responses that were far more expensive than the winning tender response, but I bet that they look pretty cheap now, in comparison.

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 11:55 am 19 Feb 09

Thank you Jim Jones. Spot on man! I see it time and time again in the Public industry. Beat contractors down on price in the tendering process, which means they need to take shortcuts, hire cheaper people etc etc.

When working abroad I worked on several high profile projects. When I started, I could not believe the amount some of the contractors made per day. But I tell you what, man could they deliver awesome solutions, well within agreed time lines.

Pay peanuts, you usually get monkeys. want an awesome solution, invest in it.

Reprobate Reprobate 11:36 am 19 Feb 09

Being the countrys’ first Human Rights Prison, I’m surprised they are even fitting a security system – surely this impinges on the poor crims’ basic right to freedom of movement? Or perhaps it’s to keep out riff raff like ratepayers who might want to see where their money has gone…

FFS, pull down the barbed wire and set it up as low cost housing for the poor and homeless. Just shoot anyone convicted of a crime – god knows with our magistrates that won’t need many bullets in any given year…

Granny Granny 11:13 am 19 Feb 09

Well, Jim Jones, I’ve just heard of too many stupid government contracts that basically just pay contractors by hours worked rather than result.

And my partner has had to untangle too much bad code. Invariably once you strip all the crap and spaghetti out the thing will go.

But you often need someone with the patience to untangle Christmas tree lights and string and stuff, and a good grasp of the simplicity of what is needed and the basics of computing.

Seriously, it’s usually either that the programmer virtually got his qual from a Corn Flakes packet or the design is so poor that the ‘left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing’ and so the programmers make independent decisions and assumptions resulting in the bits not fitting together properly and the whole not working. Then more and more ludicrous lengths have to be gone to to ‘jury rig’ it.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 10:59 am 19 Feb 09

Isn’t it an almost inherent problem with the tender process though?

The company to provide the cheapest tender offer invariably wins the contract, but the offer is low because it’s unrealistically developed. So the tender goes to the company who will almost necessarily go over budget, over time and do a bad job – all the while frantically trying to patch things up in a short period with low-paid, underqualified staff so that, in the end, the job needs to be redone properly anyway.

Obviously this is a simplification, but there is a kernal of truth, no?

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