The fire next time

The fire next time

Why some government departments don't 'stop' very well

An old photographer friend of mine once tried to explain that not every model is photogenic, or looks as good in a photograph as she does in real life. When casting models for photo shoots it was often very hard to tell how the shots would turn out based only on how attractive the model appeared in real life. This conversation took place at the base of a certain chromium plated vertical pole that had been deliberately attached to both floor and ceiling and served no structural or plumbing related objective. It was something about bone structure and poise versus how the light falls over the contours of the model’s face and the subtle shadows that bone structure creates. In summary he explained "No matter how beautiful a woman is, if she doesn’t stop very well she will never make it as a model". The same can be said about certain government departments when it comes to New Zealand’s annual stopping time, the festive season of holidays, when the country grinds to a halt for several weeks. A certain government department under fire (oh please excuse the inexcusable pun) is the Fire Department. The NZ Fire Services issued an ROI on November 11 last year for a new Financial Management Information System and an Asset Management Information System on GETS. Responses to the ROI were due on December 2 with a promise that evaluation would be completed by December 16. Tenderers were to be notified by December 20, so that everybody could go away to the bach in the Coromandel and wear jandels for the next two weeks safe in the knowledge that they had won a new deal to help New Zealand fight the fires that a million holiday makers were about start with slightly woozy barbecue management skills. With holiday season pressure building up some entrants of the race asked for more time to get the response in. The Fire Service responded negatively, and poured water on this smoky request. “The completed response is to be delivered in a sealed envelope by noon on the closing date, or be in the hands of a courier before noon on the closing date—consignment note/number details are to be emailed to the NZFS before noon on the closing date” Emphasis is from the Fire Service. Respondents who got their tenders in on time were notified with the following: “This email is to confirm that NZFS have received your response to the above tender and to give you an update on the timetable that we are working towards. There has been a tremendous response to the ROI which closed on Friday 2 December 2011 for both the FMIS and AMIS systems. The evaluation team has started to evaluate the responses but this process is likely to take somewhat longer that what was initially anticipated in the ROI. Some key members of the evaluation panel are currently unavailable until after the Christmas period, so internal group evaluations will now not take place until mid January - February 2012. A decision on the short list will not be made before this is completed and a recommendation made and signed off by NZFS Senior Management. With this in mind, I will not be in a position to contact you all before 28 February 2012. Please accept my apologies for the delay, but it is important that NZFS follow due process with complex tenders of this type. Please do not contact me, I will be in contact with all organisations that responded to the tender with any updates but not before 28 February 2012.In the meantime I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.” In other words, as they used to say in the army, hurry up and wait, because the Fire Service clearly doesn’t stop very well.

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