COVID-19: Platform to Enhance Council Support for Local Business Monday, April 20, 2020
Local businesses will be able to more easily access Local Government contracts with the launch of a sector-wide procurement platform.

Underwritten by the WA Local Government Association and free to use for members and suppliers, VendorPanel Marketplace enables Local Government buyers to link with local suppliers and manage local procurement processes. 

WALGA President, Mayor Tracey Roberts said the decision to extend the online platform to all Member Councils formed part of the Association’s ongoing support to the Local Government sector in response to the impacts of COVID-19.

“As many businesses are facing a huge downturn and our economy moves towards a recession, Local Government has been called upon to do all they can in the area of economic development and support,” Mayor Roberts said.

“This platform will make it easier for Local Government procurement staff to engage and source quotations from the local supplier market and will provide greater transparency over quotation processes.

It is another way in which we can show our support for local businesses by providing new opportunities to access contracts.”

The Marketplace platform allows users to identify local suppliers using geolocation technology and invite them to submit quotes and proposals for minor purchasing and project activity. Use of the platform in other regional areas has proven to be effective, with an audited case study of 26 Council users revealing that in nearly 85% of cases, local suppliers were awarded work.
 
Founder and CEO of VendorPanel, James Leathem said their organisation was delighted to be partnering with WALGA in bringing the platform to WA Councils. 

“Procurement spend has always supported the economic health of Australian communities,” Mr Leathem said.

“Whether we are helping Council staff with systems to work remotely, or helping small businesses get in front of Local Government buyers, procurement can be at the forefront of helping local economies adapt and rebound”.  

The platform is free for suppliers to use, and once registered, they can receive invitations to quote on work across dozens of categories, from building products to transport and logistics. It manages communication between buyers and suppliers to achieve efficiencies and ensure procurement best practice.  

“The State has been very clear in saying Local Governments will form a critical role in the recovery process, not just for communities but local business and our economy as well, and they have responded quickly to our need for greater agility by easing legislative requirements,” Mayor Roberts said. 

“This platform will further enable our Members in this role, with buyers following a consistent and compliant process, visibility and reporting tools covering off governance and probity for the Local Government whilst also assuring suppliers of the integrity of each sourcing event.”

WALGA and individual Local Governments will be inviting local business to discover more and register as suppliers on the platform, via https://pages.vendorpanel.com/workwithwalocalgov

“Local Governments are committed to supporting small and medium businesses wherever they can, and this tool is another way to enable that commitment to be realised,” Mayor Roberts said.

“As our Members look to bring forward their works projects and stimulate local economic recovery, I would encourage businesses to make contact with their Local Government to find out more.”