Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for Communications and Information with regard to the Report of the Auditor-General for FY 2021/22, how will the Ministry structure future tenders under the Whole-of-Government Period Contract and Framework Agreement to ensure a good spread of business opportunities for all the vendors in the appointed panel in order to build up players in the creative services industry and encourage vendors to bid for future tenders.
Mrs Josephine Teo: The Whole-of-Government Period Contract and Framework Agreement (PCFA) for Creative Services came into effect in 2018. Its main aim was to streamline the process for public sector agencies to procure creative services and improve value-for-money with better aggregation of demand and economies of scale. Through open tender, potential vendors were evaluated for quality and price. A panel of vendors was then appointed, all but one of them Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Public sector agencies can select any vendor from this panel for their respective projects, depending on which vendor is assessed to best meet their needs.
Although the PCFA does not guarantee procurement contracts for any vendor, all vendors on this particular panel have been selected for projects of different size and scope. The resulting distribution of contracts, where some vendors obtained higher percentages of expenditure, reflects the independent assessments of public sector agencies on which vendors best met their needs in terms of quality and price. As the Ministry of Finance has noted in the AGO report, this is not a negative outcome. The public sector agencies had provided positive feedback on the ability of these vendors to perform and deliver the required services. MCI did not observe any irregularity.
The promotion of any industry does not depend solely on government procurement. This applies to the creative services industry as well. As a result of their appointment to the panel, the PCFA has already enabled more vendors to be given serious consideration by public sector agencies. This helps the vendors build client awareness and strengthen their track record over time. For these reasons, more vendors have sought to be appointed to the PCFA, even if there is no assurance of their eventual selection by any public sector agency.
To better support industry promotion, MCI encourages agencies to consider using a wider range of vendors, including by actively sharing with the agencies information of all the vendors, such as their portfolios and contacts. To address the challenge that smaller creative agencies tend to have fewer resources to pitch for projects, the PCFA allows users to pay vendors a fee for their pitching services. With appropriate remuneration for their efforts in submitting proposals, smaller creative agencies would be in a better position to pitch for more projects, and thus improve their chances of being selected.
MCI will continue to refine the PCFA to better achieve its main aim of improving value-for-money in the government’s procurement of creative services. We will monitor the spread of expenditure as well as increase invitations-to-pitch, and where appropriate, make adjustments to better support industry promotion.
Ministry of Communications and Information
2 August 2022