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I’m sorry if I’m going to sound like a stuck record but can someone remind me, again, why all levels of government persist with recruitment panels and PSAs?

I need reminding because recent news reports would appear, yet again, to raise the obvious question ‘do all these very lengthy processes deliver benefits that exceed their costs?’ 

I would love for somebody to provide me with any evidence whatsoever   that taxpayers’ money is being put to good use with all this paper-pushing.

On 31 July 2012, industry news service, Shortlist, ran the headline New executive search panel for Federal Health Department. Shortlist reported that twelve months (!) after the department went to market seeking to appoint a panel of ‘executive search providers’, eighteen (yes, 18) recruitment/search firms have been successful in being appointed to the panel for a period of two years, with two one year extensions.

The tender process closed on 25 August 2011 and it took 3 weeks short of one year for an announcement to be made.

For long-term readers of this column, this tortoise-like work rate is of no surprise as the Federal Health Department has plenty of form in this regard. Last year my blog post Recruitment PSAs gone mad: WTF is going on in Canberra? ranted about the same department’s excruciating 59 week process to appoint 27 recruitment agencies to their temp and contract recruitment services panel.

It wasn’t just the timeframe that was inexcusable it was also the winners having to suck up the classic get-out-jail-free card slotted into the contract, to whit “This panel will be non-exclusive. Nothing in its establishment precludes the [client] from procuring the same services through another procurement process………… no volume of work is guaranteed to any one supplier.”

Just in case you thought the Health Department process was an exception, not the rule, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (an agency of the federal Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research employing a relatively small 1000 or so staff) managed to take a yawning nine months to make an announcement about its fourteen tender winners, who had all made submissions by the 1 November 2011 deadline.

Can somebody PLEASE end this ludicrous waste of time and money.

Let public servants get back to serving the public and let recruiters get back to recruiting until someone can unequivocally prove that this whole farcical process generates benefits that exceed the costs.

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Hi Ross,

Great article. If 18 were short listed I would be interested to see how many tendered!


sounds a little like the government application process. great to see our hard earned being put to productive use.
dpt of innovation, are you serious?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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