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Dealing with fraudsters

Government tender documents

Given that government’s tender documents are mostly flawed, industry’s tolerance of them is like a religion that shows meek acceptance without challenge. Flawed contract documents open the way to fraud and even loss of life.

The latest NZ government contracts to fail at public expense include a rotten hospital only 15 years old. More new schools leaking. Steel mesh quality certificates forged by suppliers. A river stop bank that couldn’t stop the river. A new motorway unfit for traffic. A high- rise building with columns lacking reinforcing and not Code compliant.  

In Britain, newspapers report that some 60% of the annual public health budget is now needed for the victims of the negligence of medicos under government contract. Doctors have even warned that they are not responsible for errors.

We sometimes read about NZ government managers being trained to produce better RFT documents. In reality, the government has made such startling progress that there are very few well-written RFTs left! Most government tender documents are flawed from end to end.

If government managers cannot produce a sound RFT, what chance is there that they can check bid responses to spot and eliminate fraudsters? Very little it would seem. In every technical supply contract, traps lurk that only the expert knows about.

Take extra care to search

The lesson is clear. Honest contractors and suppliers must take extra care to search through government RFT specifications for the inevitable anomalies, ambiguities, omissions and flaws. They must employ the best skills for planning, researching, writing and illustrating their bid documents and proposals.

Contractors should never assume that every clear weakness in their bid preparation process will be noticed and fixed the next time the team gets to rush through a new bid document. Just in Time requires “right-first-time”. To achieve success against dodgy competitors, find and fix weaknesses well before bid preparation begins.

Bottom line: If you are a fraudulent contractor, you can make hay while confusion reigns in government tender documents. If you’re an honest contractor, take extra steps in your bidding process to spot and expose the risk of fraud and eventual contract failure so that the bid evaluators can see your excellence shining brightly.

(c) This Opinion by Tom Evison was first published by Tecads in June 2018

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