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Those of you who frequently read my musings, and those who shared a lovely lunch with me yesterday, will know my view on the RCSA. Without labouring the point, I’m not a fan. A largely toothless, self-congratulatory boys club, it’s never resonated with me. Which is odd to be frank, given that I’m a boy who likes to congratulate myself. However, although still a boy, I’m man enough to apportion credit where it’s due, and the recent actions of the RCSA in relation to the AoG Gen 3 tender have been commendable. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t been great, but a solid B-.

Firstly, the RCSA, along with some major recruitment firms, have been instrumental in extending the deadline for tender submissions for those of you crazy enough to want to recruit for Government next year (relax- I know it’s all of you). Although an extension doesn’t change much, it does give us some wiggle room to either a) fundamentally change our operating model, commission schemes, employment contracts, CRMs, and accounts team, or b) find some strange loophole to hang MBIE out to dry with.

Sadly, option a is the likely scenario, however, I’m quite enjoying thinking about option b. Y’see, this is where the RCSA has actually done something pretty useful. One of the questions asked by many recruiters is how the hell did MBIE come up with such a god-awful idea. When probed, the procurement team have said:

Industry research and feedback from subject matter experts across government agencies and the recruitment sector highlight that there are multiple pricing models used globally, including percentage of salary, retained search, fix fee recruitment, hourly billed recruitment. A flat fixed price model is the simplest, most accessible pricing model for the end-user to understand and apply when purchasing services for placing candidates. We cannot name the people or government agencies or businesses that were consulted with due to privacy and confidentiality reasons.

Now here’s the interesting thing. Since my previous blogs, my LinkedIn inbox has been full of messages from industry leaders confirming that they haven’t at any stage, in any way, been contacted my MBIE to give their opinion. I even know a Head of TA at a Government Agency who offered their assistance in the creation of this tender, and they’re still waiting on a return call. We have been told that this new model is following consultation with “subject matter experts”. The RCSA, in what is the most bullish language I’ve heard from them, say:

After numerous discussions with both Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Minister’s office—and even a commitment to meet with RCSA and industry leaders this week—both the Ministry and the Minister have now chosen to hide behind probity, instead of engaging with RCSA further. This is despite RCSA’s offering of agnostic representatives who no longer supply services within the market.

In response to this extremely disappointing development, RCSA has filed an Official Information Act (OIA) Request application to obtain documents which will detail how MBIE constructed this Gen 3

This means that under the Official Information Act, MBIE may have to tell us what this consultation looked like, and who the “experts” were. And given that we the tax payer are paying for this procurement process, I think we have a moral right to know how our money was spent. Won’t it be fantastic if the RCSA pulls this off and MBIE has to disclose exactly how they come up with this idea? Here’s my view on who might have been contacted:

Agency Recruitment leaders:

Without stating the bleeding obvious, this tender is about creating a new way of working between two parties. This is also a tender specifically about recruitment. And yet, no agency to my knowledge has been consulted. So this means that we have a proposal representing the best interests on 50% of the two parties, and this 50% has precisely zero knowledge of recruitment. Or perhaps I’m being cynical. Maybe some of you were consulted. Maybe you were just ignored. Hell, maybe we all followed the red herring, and this was an agency’s idea all along. I very much f*cking doubt this.

Internal Recruiters:

Maybe. Although the good internal recruiters I know weren’t spoken to. Or maybe they just won’t admit it to me. My fear is that the internal recruiters who were consulted fell into the mould that 80% of government recruiters spring out of; failed agency recruiters with a chip on their shoulder, jumped up administrators, careerists, and email warriors who drink two cups of coffee for every one phone call they make.

Government Agencies:

Probably. There were no doubt focus groups with morning teas held throughout Wellington. Work was stopped (probably for the day), and managers (who don’t really know how recruitment works) were asked to come up with ideas. After several hundred man hours lost, a thousand flat whites, and more afghans than Kabul, the collective output of our government’s brightest thinkers was “make it cheaper?”.

Other procurement professionals:

Of course. Laurence Pidcock, , is a man who knows a thing or two about buying 10,000 biros. Unfortunately, unable to attend a global government procurement conference in some second-tier US city due to covid, he probably got this idea sitting in his underpants watching a virtual conference.

Consulting Firms:

F*ck yes. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Working as a recruitment firm for the Government is very difficult and not very profitable. Once Gen 3 goes live, even more so. Providing Consulting Services, and getting onto the Consulting Services panel, is really f*cking easy! And…you can charge loads. Let’s not be surprised if some global consulting firm provided expertise on this one. Of course, as they are not a recruitment firm, this offers no conflict of interest. Instead, they sit on a different panel, and offer access to professionals with specialist capabilities, charging an easy-to-understand hourly rate for their troubles. Oh the irony.

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend.