Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding. Cordell Richardson

When buying local isn't always best


At the Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee meeting on 12 November 2020, Mayor Teresa Harding asked a council officer how much of the value of a tender was "going to local Ipswich businesses".

It was the only question she asked the officer.

Cr Harding has asked similar questions about other items of council expenditure.

This raises a question in my mind.

Is the Mayor attempting to emphasise the local business and industry principal over the other four 'sound contracting principles' contained in council's Procurement Policy and the Local Government Act?

Given the nature of employment in Ipswich, this emphasis might be counterproductive.

According to the 2016 census 48% of Ipswich's working population work outside the city.

In 2011 this proportion was 51%. My guess would be that as the population in Ipswich grows the proportion of people working outside the city will also grow.

We may also find that organisations with the level of expertise the city needs might decide not to tender for work in the city if the locations of businesses is over emphasised.

Ken Alderton

One Mile