Indigenous Procurement Plans: Reconciling Plans with Procurement
Nelson Mandela said: “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination“. As we see a number of organisations showcasing the results from their Reconciliation Actions Plans and Indigenous Procurement Plans, we make our contribution on what I call the Reconciliation Action Procurement Plan (or RAPP of RAPs).
Why is it important to have Indigenous Procurement Plans and reconcile plans to procurement?
We have seen progress in Indigenous procurement at Commonwealth level but at State Government level, not all governments have done so well to improve the numbers and statistics. Progress on numbers and statistics make for good graphs and great political speeches but do not assist with understanding how to go about doing Indigenous procurement well. Progress is good but we really need to get down to grassroots level to make Indigenous procurement work sustainably – we need to get our boots dirty.
Why should one consider any form of social procurement and therefore have Indigenous Procurement Plans?
Because the benefits of supplier diversity, including Indigenous procurement, are real. The Sleeping Giants report provides a snapshot of the phenomenal results and benefits that can be achieved through a diverse supplier base.
Supply Nation captures the outcome from the Social Return on Investment report as follows:
For every dollar of revenue, Supply Nation Certified Suppliers create $4.41 of economic and social value
Smaller Indigenous businesses have higher SROI ratios than larger businesses
Businesses working directly in Indigenous cultural industries have higher SROI ratios than businesses working in mainstream industries.
Indigenous businesses employ more than thirty times the proportion of Indigenous people than other businesses.
Indigenous owned business really strengthen their Indigenous employees connection to culture.
Indigenous businesses provide training to staff in a way that ultimately fits Indigenous understanding.
Indigenous business owners that were part of the stolen generation, use their businesses to create a place of belonging and healing.
Indigenous owners, employees and communities are proud of Indigenous businesses.
Owners of Indigenous businesses reinvest revenue in their communities.
Finally, Indigenous businesses are a ‘safe place’ for families.
We therefore do have to tie the benefits of social procurement to the impact it has on closing the gap.
However, in the area of Indigenous procurement and economic participation:
the lights on the dashboard are still flashing red.
The question then is how to reconcile action to procurement through Reconciliation Action Procurement Plans?
I know that many people find procurement complicated and really boring and I don’t blame anyone. Often I do too.
As procurement professionals we are good to tell you what you cannot do and we often have a number of boxes to tick. It is a fine balance between compliance and achieving results. Because if we don’t tick the right boxes, the auditors complain and we are in a world of pain.
I do believe that in the area of Indigenous Procurement, we need to assist Indigenous business with being able to create value for money propositions.
However, we should really provide training and assistance to procurement professionals to really understand what it is:
- to work with Indigenous business,
- what it takes to look outside the tick boxes,
- how to build respectful relationships and
- find real opportunities for Indigenous procurement.
The Positive Impact of Reconciliation
A pleasant surprise this week in closing my own knowledge gap around reconciliation, was the positive impact that can be measured as a result of Reconciliation Action Plans implemented. This is a snapshot from the 2015 RAP Impact Report – it speaks for itself.
Getting back to Reconciliation Action Procurement Plans.
What are Reconciliation Action Procurement Plans?
Reconciliation Action Procurement Plans mean getting our boots on for the Indigenous procurement journey to ensure that we find the Indigenous procurement opportunities.
A Reconciliation Action Plan and Indigenous Procurement Plans focus on:
- the detail of what Indigenous procurement opportunity means and
- how it can close the gap
not only in the area of economic Indigenous participation but what it can achieve in terms of social return on investment.
Every time Indigenous procurement can deliver $4,41 per $1 revenue, we can use that $4,41 to close the gap in another area.
Developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (and therefore Reconciliation Action Procurement Plans) is not difficult; Reconciliation Australia made the templates easy enough to follow and complete.
The true result and benefit sit in our commitment to what it will take to close the gap.
At its most basic, Indigenous Procurement Plans formally state a business’ commitment to reconciliation. It ultimately states the commitment to contribute to closing the gap.
Reconciliation Action Plans
Reconciliation Action Plans simply work on the basis of three pillars – relationships, respect and opportunity.
Indigenous Procurement Plans therefore also work on the same pillars:
- In the area of relationships a business works on the commitment to connect people, share experiences, governance, communication, engagement and partnerships.
- Respect deals with pride in cultures and histories, understanding, appreciation, acknowledgment, learning, success, achievements and celebration.
- Opportunity focuses on finding opportunities for Indigenous employment, procurement, professional development, retention, enabling access to systems and processes.
There are different Reconciliation Action Plan levels and maturity levels:
- Stretch and
Leaving you with some final words from Nelson Mandela:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Interested in learning more about Reconciliation Action Plans, click here.
Have a great day
Celia Jordaan is procurement and risk consultant at Ichiban Commercial Solutions, Perth Western Australia. With more than 20 years experience, Celia has worked in different countries, locations and cultures in the areas of procurement, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She has also worked in the area of risk management, contractor management and safety.
For further tips, checklists and free resources on procurement, please visit our website.