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Guide to procuring uniforms and personal protective equipment

All Victorian Government Departments and agencies are required to buy locally and ethically manufactured uniforms and PPE, whenever possible, to create and retain local jobs.

This document provides guidelines for Victorian Government public sector organisations when buying uniforms and personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by Victorian Government employees. 

Scope of application

This guide applies to the procurement of clothing, footwear and personal protective equipment by a department or agency (organisation), for use by Victorian Government employees, under the Financial Management Act 1994, the Project Development and Construction Management Act 1994, the Health Services Act 1988, and the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. 

Benefits of using this guide

This guide: 

  • supports the Victorian Government’s commitment to creating and retaining local jobs in the local manufacture of uniforms and PPE; 
  • supports local small to medium enterprises; 
  • provides advice for procuring from the local Textiles, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) sector; and 
  • advises on ethical labour and environmental considerations. 

Organisational guidelines

An organisation may introduce its own uniforms and PPE procurement process or guideline to implement its category strategy and expand on these guidelines. When doing so, organisational process and guidelines must be consistent with this guide. 

Definitions

Uniforms and PPE – all clothing, footwear and personal protective items provided by organisations or approved for wear. 

Local – Australia and New Zealand. 

Manufacture – substantial transformation of the goods. For example, the “cut, make and trim” of garments. 

Wherever possible – the required goods are manufactured locally, meet all requirements of bid specifications, and there is a genuine market. 

Ethical Supplier Register – the Uniforms and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Ethical Supplier Register maintained by the Department of Treasury and Finance. 

Applying the guide

The guide applies to the procurement of uniforms and PPE for use by Victorian Government employees. Organisations are required to comply from 1 August 2018. There is no requirement to vary pre-existing contracts, although there may be current contracts where it is feasible and beneficial to apply the guide. New, amended and replacement contracts are required to conform to the requirements of the guide. 

This Guide complements the Local Jobs First Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP) when procuring uniforms and PPE for use by Victorian Government employees. 

Annual procurement planning

Application of this guide commences with an organisation’s annual procurement planning process. Procurement of uniforms and PPE should be identified in an organisation’s forward procurement activity plan for the upcoming financial year, and then addressed in the relevant category plan (where organisations perform category management).  The category plan should outline the market analysis and strategy for the category; it may include market approaches. 

Category and procurement planning should consider ways to enable local manufacturers to better meet Government demand and deliver value for money, for example: 

  • advance notice through forward procurement activity plans and advance tender notices; 
  • longer out-to-market periods to allow reasonable time to develop offers; 
  • adequate time for manufacturing capacity to be initiated or increased once a contract is awarded;  
  • “demand smoothing” to minimise peaks and troughs in demand; and 
  • longer contract terms (for strategic contracts) to allow suppliers to realise a return on investment. 

Organisations will need to consider the benefits of aggregation versus disaggregation. Aggregation may encourage investment by manufacturers and be efficient for buyers, while disaggregation into smaller packages may be better suited to smaller local manufacturers. Disaggregation may also be appropriate for separating the tendering for goods that can be locally manufactured from those that are not. 

Assistance with market analysis is available from the Uniforms and PPE Monitor, and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR)

Process

Market approach

If the required goods are, or can be, manufactured locally, then the buyer must approach the market for locally manufactured goods. Note that the market may not be confined to the manufacturer, but may constitute retailers, wholesalers, distributors or other suppliers that subcontract to manufacturers. 

Where an organisation has a contract with an agent to deliver some or all of its uniforms and PPE supply chain, the contract manager should review the local content of the goods and services with the agent at least annually. 

Ethical Supplier Register

The TCF sector globally is high risk in ethical labour, modern slavery and environmental practices. These risks need to be assessed and mitigated. To support implementation of this guide, the Ethical Supplier Register has been established. When buying locally manufactured uniforms and PPE, Victorian government departments and agencies must procure from registered suppliers on the Ethical Supplier Register. 

To be on the Ethical Supplier Register, suppliers of TCF sector uniforms and PPE manufactured in Australia must be accredited or in the process of seeking accreditation with Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA). Suppliers of uniforms and PPE made in New Zealand, and non-TCF sector PPE made in Australia, must have obtained or declare that they will obtain a third party verification that they comply with ECA-equivalent requirements comprising all current and relevant Australian and/or New Zealand laws relating to pay and wages, deductions, benefits and allowances, and working conditions. 

Model clauses

Model clauses for procurement of uniforms and PPE for inclusion in the Invitation to Supply (ITS) and contracts are available at Uniforms and personal protective equipment - buyer

Value for money

All procurement of uniforms and PPE needs to represent value for money.  Value for money is defined as a balanced judgment of a range of financial and non-financial factors, taking into account: the mix of quality, cost and resources; fitness for purpose; total cost of ownership; and risk (refer to the VGPB Guide to value for money). 

Locally manufactured TCF goods have the potential to offer significant value for money, for example: 

  • creation and retention of local jobs; 
  • shorter lead times; 
  • short notice access to production runs; 
  • smaller minimum order quantities; 
  • direct engagement for design, development and samples; 
  • control of quality; 
  • improved capacity for customization, alterations and repairs; 
  • compliance with Australian environmental regulations; and 
  • assurance of ethical labour practices. 

In determining value for money, organisations should conduct price benchmarking. Further, organisations may require tenderers to detail their pricing structure in their offer and subsequently to justify it in negotiations. 

Genuine markets can be reasonably expected to deliver value for money. If the required goods can be manufactured locally but there is no genuine market, then the buyer may approach the wider market for goods that are not manufactured locally. 

Monitoring and reporting

Uniforms and PPE Monitor has been established to support this Guide. Organisations will be required to report on all procurement of uniforms and PPE. The detailed monitoring and reporting requirements will be determined in consultation with organisations. Organisations will need to include monitoring and reporting requirements in contracts. 

The VGPB monitors compliance with its policies through a program of audits by accountable officers, and by reporting non-compliance in its annual report. The Financial Management Act 1994 provides the VGPB with powers to require the accountable officer to: 

  • audit compliance and provide audit reports to the Board; and 
  • provide information or data relating to procurement. 

Local Jobs First reporting will continue to be required for Local Jobs First projects

Using this guide

This guide accompanies the Victorian Government Purchasing Board’s goods and services supply policies. 

The Victorian Government Purchasing Board has published 5 policies: 

  • Governance policy 
  • Complexity and capability policy 
  • Market analysis and review policy 
  • Market approach policy 
  • Contract management and construct disclosure policy 

This Guide refers to the Market analysis and review policy

Key references are hyperlinked within the document. 

For more information, refer to: 

Uniforms and personal protective equipment – Buyers

Uniforms and personal protective equipment – Suppliers

For more information on Ethical Clothing Australia see Ethical Clothing Australia and to see the list of accredited suppliers  

Uniforms and PPE Monitor

The role of the Monitor encompasses promotion, advocacy, advice, compliance monitoring and reporting. Please contact the Uniforms and PPE Monitor for advice on the application of this Guide. Buyers are encouraged to contact the Monitor prior to releasing an invitation to supply to the market. 

Tools and support

This content on this page is from the Guide for procuring uniforms and personal protective equipment 

For more information about the Guide to procuring uniforms and personal protective equipment, please contact the Uniform and personal protective equipment monitor

Reviewed 06 October 2019

Buying for Victoria

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