RoadTek is part of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and provides transport infrastructure solutions across Queensland. The Toowoomba team has used social procurement to assist disadvantaged job seekers in their region.
RoadTek identified an opportunity to help their local community that aligned with Queensland Procurement Policy (QPP) principles. RoadTek partnered with local social enterprise, Ability Enterprises, after meeting at a regional networking function.
The Toowoomba branch had regular staff vacancies for staff in their maintenance yards and recognised the value of:
- combining their search for quality staff and adding social value in their community
- allocating a parcel of work to a social enterprise
- delivering on QPP principles while working within TMR procurement procedures.
How the procurement evolved
RoadTek’s procurement staff consulted with Toowoomba Regional Council to develop the initiative.
After testing the market, RoadTek engaged with Ability Enterprises to determine how the partnership would work.
Senior management modified TMR’s procurement process to include social benefit as a guiding principle.
Tender and contracting
Ability Enterprises were the sole social enterprise invited to quote via a modified TMR procurement process.
RoadTek staff worked collaboratively with Ability Enterprises staff to draft the contract. Standard terms and conditions were modified to reflect the nature of the engagement and the supplier.
Before issuing the Request for Quote, the RoadTek Senior Procurement Advisor worked closely with Ability Enterprises to build a collaborative partnership rather than a traditional buyer/supplier relationship.
Careful consideration was given to the role and tasks candidates would perform, factoring in candidate backgrounds and safety requirements.
Managing the contract
RoadTek and Ability Enterprises met regularly to manage the contract, especially in the early stages. They prioritised delivering safe and inclusive workplaces for the new employees.
Documenting the process
The Contract Manager maintained a Learnings Register, which includes input from RoadTek and Ability Enterprises.
A 12-month review of the engagement has informed a RoadTek Social Procurement Strategy with a view to replicating the project in other communities.
By embracing social procurement, RoadTek has met their staffing requirements and established a procurement process that is changing lives in their local community.
Staff are proud of the initiative and enthusiastic about what can be achieved by thinking innovatively about their impact in the community. The organisation is reaping the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Workers employed under the arrangement have experienced personal transformation. Their confidence has improved, and they have gained new skills. The positive impacts flow on to the employee’s family, friends and community.
Derek Webster was employed through this arrangement and quickly became more financially and socially independent. After initially working one day per week, Derek has worked up to five days a week and has secured a forklift ticket as part of his training.
Following completion of the 12-month pilot, RoadTek’s Social Procurement Strategy has been finalised and TMR will use this project to inform social procurement initiatives in communities across Queensland.
Ability Enterprises was established in 2012 to deliver job opportunities for people with barriers to employment, including:
- people with disability
- Indigenous Queenslanders.
They partner with employers to secure contract work and engage disadvantaged jobseekers to carry out the work.