Case Study City of Launceston Contractor Management

Situation / Driver

  • High risk to LCC and Contractors engaged by Council
  • Recent incidents involving LCC Contractors
  • Lack of a consistent and clearly understood process for managing Contractors across Council
  • Lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities
  • No accountability for non compliance with the process by employees or the Contractor
  • Lack of preapproval process
  • Lots of time spent chasing incomplete or incorrect information from contractors

Aim

LCC aims to build on the good work already done by the Contractor Management Working Group to more effectively manage Contractors by:

  • Implementing contemporary practices;
  • Adequately addressing its legal duties;
  • Fulfilling the reasonably practicable test; and
  • Addressing other requirements of the WHS Act  and Regulations 2012 and AS4801 as appropriate

Considerations

  • Before engaging a contractor consider if Council has obtained sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Contractor and their employees are insured, trained, qualified, experienced and/or licensed to undertake the work that will be required of them
  • Consider how this information is stored and managed to be easily accessible and alert LCC to expiration and/or failure to comply
  • Consider how LCC employees know which Contractors are “pre-approved“ i.e. which contractors have provided insurance, have safe systems of work and are competent to do the required work and have been inducted
  • Ensure Council and Contractors are clear on their responsibilities e.g. who will be responsible for supervision of the contractor; how will the contractor be monitored, who will conduct onsite audits to ensure compliance and what is the process for documenting non compliance?

Challenges

  • Multiple methods and practices for managing contractors across different areas
  • Potential for resistance to the changes from employees and contractors
  • Implementation driven by the most senior management in the organisation;
  • Strong and effective facilitation of the change required
  • Strong project management required
  • Strong and effective communication and training required
  • Checks and balances i.e. mini audits put in place throughout implementation to ensure the changes are implemented, working and to engage stakeholders by listening to their concerns and their ideas for further improvement
  • No surprises
  • A collaborative approach, build, implement, reflect, improve

Solution

  1. Build and implement an interim process to mitigate immediate risks
  2. Consult, engage and collaborate with employees who engage contractors and employees who provide support via Council’s systems
  3. Audit compliance during the change process and capture and consider ideas for further improvement and building these into the final process
  4. Research, develop and progressively implement a contractor management policy, process flowchart, procedure and associated tools that are integrated with Council’s systems (Tech 1) to minimise the use of paperwork and automate the process:
    • Preapproved Contractors; insured and safe systems of work in place
    • Development of an online Contractor Induction
    • Development of an electronic Contractor/Visitor Sign in Register
    • Development of an Audit Plan and Guidance Tool to audit and report on compliance to the process across Council and
    • Development of tools to inspect and monitor performance of contractors during work

Benefits Achieved

  • Reduced risk  when reassessed (Extreme to Moderate)
  • Documented, consistent and organisation-wide process that employees are buying into to and using
  • Improved understanding of roles and responsibilities
  • Improved understanding of Council’s preapproved Contractors
  • Improved partnerships with key Contractors
  • Reduced severity around contractor management incidents
  • Improved procurement capability
  • Significantly less time spent chasing incomplete or incorrect information e.g. insurances, PO numbers on invoices, risk documentation
  • Improved understanding by Contractors of Council’s expectations

Testimonials

"Finally! A better corporate understanding of the insurance requirements required by contractors when working for Council" - Mike Radin
 
“After initial resistance from contractors to comply with the introduced and enforced Contract Management System at LCC it is now acknowledged and supported. The process clearly identifies the requirements for a contractor to be considered to work for Launceston City Council. For instance the submission of documentation prior to starting work has certainly minimised the risks associated with contractors coming onsite to work” – Ralf Goetschenberg
 
“I think for us here at LA the best thing to come out of the process has been the ‘preapproved contractors' and the not being able to do purchase orders for contractors who didn't meet councils standards. Although I'm not the one who raises the orders up here, I know there have been a few times in the past where we have engaged a contractor to do some work for us and then they haven't been in the system when we go to pay them making even more work for us” – Geoff Stick
 
“When the process becomes automated this will be a fantastic improvement” – Peter Stacey