Procurement professionals urged to back themselves in: Aged Care Procurement Conference 2022

Procurement has been given the ultimate challenge to reinvent the aged care sector from speakers at PASA’s annual Aged Care Procurement Conference. 

Brooke Lord, Head of Advocacy and Policy, for the Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) was one of 10 speakers on day one at the Royal Randwick Racecourse.

The conference welcomed 300 guests, including delegates and exhibitors. 

Brooke encouraged procurement professionals to seize their time to shine in the sector. 

“It’s really important that procurement drives value in its organisation and it is not just about dollars it’s about value, we need to provide both sides of the equation not just one,” Brooke said. 

Procurement profile should be raised

“We need to raise the profile of procurement in an organisation.”

Brooke covered the topic of contingent labour – a hot one for the sector given staffing shortages among the other challenges under the microscope.

“In aged care there is a huge impact from the lower number of overseas visa holders,” Brooke said. 

“Certainly, it’s an industry that has been very reliant on them historically and they are really feeling the pinch. There’s a huge imperative for Australia to start attracting students, work visa holders and a whole range of people to come into Australia and do the work that is not getting done now. We simply don’t have enough people.” 

Procurement should “start the internal conversation”

David Tran, Director of Procurement, RSL Lifecare, suggested procurement work closely with internal stakeholders, especially HR to kick-start internal initiatives. 

“It won’t just be procurement professionals, it will be a collaborative effort, (to attract and retain employees),” David said. 

“It is about making sure we engage effectively with internal stakeholders before going external and procurement can facilitate that.”

Ian Yates, National CEO, Council on the Ageing (COTA) was the keynote speaker who commenced the conference on day one. 

Ian estimated there were some 100,000 vacancies in the sector which begs the question how do these get filled? 

Ian urged the audience to consider the context of the legacy reforms which had clouded the aged care sector in recent years. 

“Remember all of this is happening within a pre-existing context before the Royal Commission,” he said. 

“Most of which (the reforms) requires new thinking by boards and management.

“Your organisation isn’t an island. It exists in an environment of organisations some of whom are performing better than yours and some of which are performing worse.

Don’t follow the sheep

“Your organisation doesn’t need to wait for others, you can be brave and win – don’t behave like the sheep.”

Ian suggested a “customer centric focus” to be applied at the heart of innovation in procurement. 

Nicki Doyle, Partner Health, Ageing and Human Services at KPMG also alluded to this point in her keynote with Pauline Rolfe, Director within the Sourcing and Procurement Advisory practice. 

“Being able to think about your consumer-centric design is critical,” Nikki said. 

“You have a role in thinking how well consumers can access what you are procuring.”

Take the key seat at the table

CEO of PASA Jonathan Dutton said procurement had a key seat at the table. 

“We talked about savings, which is not enough. We’re not going to cost cut our way to greatness,” Jonathan said. 

“Procurement can bring much more and we’ve seen lots of examples of this. 

“The real challenge facing the procurement profession has been given: The seat at the table for the aged care sector. How are you going to use your seat at the table? 

“The challenge is nothing less than redesigning the commercial model to make aged care affordable for an ageing population.

“Aged care homes working to a budget of $1.20 per meal and prisoners on $7.50 a meal. Does that feel right to any of us?”


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