The Matamata-Piako District Council (MPDC) is focussing on supporting local businesses to get back to business after the COVID-19 epidemic.
“We know that the lockdown has had a major impact on business in New Zealand,” says Matamata-Piako Mayor, Ash Tanner. “But local government plays a key role in times of economic downturn.
“We’re continuing our capital work programme, and looking to bring projects forward where we can to keep spending, to keep the economy going and help keep business in our district moving.” Council has reviewed its procurement policies to ensure their systems support using local businesses as much as possible, while still getting the best value for ratepayers.
“For us to be able to use local trades and contractors though, we need them to get prequalified,” added Dennis Bellamy, Group Manager Community Development.
MPDC uses a company called SHE to assess contractors’ health and safety management systems.
Qualifying under the SHE scheme makes contractors compliant to work for a number of Councils in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and removes the need for them to supply separate details to each council or for each contract sought. In essence, it allows contractors to “do it once and do it right”.
Contractors need to complete an on-line questionnaire and provide their health and safety documentation to show that they understand and comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and any associated Regulations.
There are two separate questionnaires – one for sole traders and one for those who have staff.
There is a small cost to become prequalified, with a sliding scale ranging from $180 – $900 depending on the number of staff employed by the contractor.
“We realise that the cost of joining the scheme could be a barrier to some businesses, particularly at the moment,” Dennis says. “So if you are wanting to join the scheme, but struggling to afford it at the moment, please get in touch with us on 0800 746 467.”
Applications are evaluated by a health and safety professional. Once the evaluator is satisfied with the contractor’s health and safety management systems, the contractor receives a confirmation email advising of their ‘approved’ (pre-qualified) status.
Once a contractor is ‘pre-qualified,’ their status is valid for two years with all participating councils. Automatic email notifications will be sent two months prior to the expiry of any pre-qualification.
Note that joining the scheme enables Council to use your business for jobs and projects, however, Council is unable to guarantee that you will be given work.
“We’re focussing on sharing the available jobs around local businesses. However, the actual allocation of jobs depends on what projects are happening, and of course we’re still aiming to ensure we get the best value for money for our ratepayers.”
Council’s health and safety team can direct you to local health and safety consultants if you need assistance with your application or developing a health and safety system.
How to join
To start your application, go to: mpdc.govt.nz/contractors.
If you would like more information, contact: email@example.com for an information pack.