Local businesses do not have to be a WALGA Preferred Supplier to work with local governments. WALGA is one of many procurement options that local governments can access.
Looking to generate some business or interested in entering a new market? The WA Local Government Association’s (WALGA) Preferred Supplier Program could help you.
Last year WALGA facilitated the supply of more than $380 million in goods and services from businesses to local governments, through its preferred supplier contracts. There are more than 1,200 businesses in the WALGA Preferred Supplier Program.
What is the Preferred Supplier Program?
WALGA’s Preferred Supplier Program offers an alternative to the traditional tendering process for both local government WALGA members and businesses supplying them. Through the program, groups of suppliers are pre-qualified and appointed by WALGA to supply goods and services to local governments, under specific ‘panels’ set up for particular types of goods or service needs.
WALGA panels include a broad mix of suppliers, but have a particular focus on including small and medium-sized businesses. Local small businesses can register their interest in becoming a preferred supplier on WALGA’s Preferred Supply Panels via the WALGA website. Not all categories of supply are covered by the Preferred Supplier Program (such as trades and services, mechanics, cleaners and plumbers). Much of these trades’ activity for local government sits below the WALGA purchasing threshold.
The program supports local government members to access local suppliers and meet procurement objectives, and provides access to a new market for small businesses. The nature of local government procurement often lends itself towards smaller businesses, because local government itself is close to the community, and particularly in regional areas has a strong role in supporting local economic enablement. Many of the purchasing needs of local government focus on goods and services that can be sourced from businesses within their Local Government area.
Benefits for small businesses being on a Preferred Supplier panel
There are a number of benefits for small businesses who are part of the WALGA Preferred Supplier Program, including:
- increased visibility to local governments through WALGA’s systems and information channels, including the VendorPanel portal - an online tool used to access WALGA Preferred Suppliers
- prequalified contracts that are easy and tender exempt for local government to access, making the procurement process more streamlined and efficient
- exhibiting and networking opportunities through various WALGA activities
- brand and product representation through WALGA’s directory.
Regional business opportunities
Some small regional businesses are dependent on the income they obtain from supplying goods and services to local government customers. In some cases, a significant portion of total turnover for a small business comes from a local Shire and that can be the difference in staying solvent, particularly where there is seasonal volatility.
Regional price preferencing promotes regional local businesses by giving preferential consideration to regional suppliers during the procurement process. Local governments develop their own regional price preferencing policies to promote local economic development through the provision of a price preference to local suppliers when evaluating and awarding contracts in a tender process.
Benefits for Local Governments using a Preferred Supplier panel
Benefits to local government users of the panels include:
- contractual protection and ongoing due diligence to give enhanced contractual confidence to Local Government
- contract management support and administration provided by WALGA
- quarterly report spending analytics to track activity within the sector and identify procurement trends.
How to become a Preferred Supplier
Take a look at the types of panels and categories to help determine which one is relevant to your business activities, for example:
- professional consultancy services
- information and communication technologies
- engineering, environmental and technical consultancy
WALGA appoints suppliers to its program through a tender process. They review their contracts every two years, and will often run interim tenders driven primarily by WALGA member demand. A contract review does not necessarily result in WALGA inviting new suppliers to tender.