Principles of industry engagement

There are 8 key principles that should guide your industry engagement.
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What you need to know
  1. To be effective, your industry engagement should be guided by 8 principles.
  2. The principles will also help ensure probity and reduce risks.

8 key principles for industry engagement

Whenever you conduct an industry engagement, you should always be guided by these 8 principles.

1. Be well informed from the start

A procuring agency must be an informed buyer. You must have a solid and contemporary understanding of the sector to target your industry engagement effectively.

Sometimes you’ll be able to get this from a government knowledge base. Other times, you have to research and create it from scratch.

2. Have clear objectives

Having clear objectives will make your industry engagement more structured and focused. You’ll also have more targeted discussions.

This will help both you and your suppliers prepare and make the process more effective.

3. Be wide-ranging and not exclusive

You can encourage innovation and avoid suggestions of favouritism by engaging with the widest possible range of suppliers. You’ll also receive broader knowledge through a cross-section of responses. This should help you develop a tighter strategy to approach the market.

4. Be open about the past but focus on the future

Be open to giving suppliers information about past procurements. But only do it to help potential suppliers understand how you've previously approached the market.

It’s always best to focus on future ways in which your agency’s needs can be met. Beginning an industry engagement doesn’t mean you’re dissatisfied with past procurements.

5. Be transparent, even-handed and consistent

Always look to preserve the government’s reputation and to make sure suppliers remain interested in government procurement activities. This means making sure the industry engagement process is open and transparent.

Base every decision on evidence. Treat all suppliers equally so that no one can legitimately accuse you of bias.

6. Insist on the highest levels of probity and behaviour

Always maintain the highest standards of probity and behaviour and maintain a neutral stance. Probity concerns taint the government’s reputation in the market. They also make suppliers less likely to participate in future business opportunities.

Don’t allow a perception to grow that a supplier has unjustifiable influence over the industry engagement process. Never give or receive gifts or, if it's unavoidable, make sure you follow your agency's gifts and benefits policy.

7. Handle intellectual property appropriately

As part of the industry engagement process, you’re likely to receive suppliers’ intellectual property. Always deal with it appropriately and never share details with other suppliers.

8. Keep good records

Keeping good records promotes confidence in the industry engagement process. You’ll also find it easier to produce evidence justifying procurement decisions.

As a minimum, your records should capture:

  • the purpose of the engagement
  • the details of participants
  • a summary of any discussion
  • key outcomes and actions.

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