THE body handling a variety of food regulation issues in Australia and New Zealand wants to improve the project management of its larger research and action initiatives, in response to cost-cutting pressures from government.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) looks at proposals and applications to change the Food Standards Codes for the two countries.

One reason for referring to them in the plural is that New Zealand chooses to specify some modifications and exceptions to provisions which are otherwise totally uniform between the two polities. Regulatory officials and most business interests prefer to have the divergences as infrequent as possible, in the interests of production uniformity in a common trading market.

There is a constant flow of items needing attention, from product composition, packaging sizes, fine print on grocery items, use of insecticides, all watched over with close attention by the food industry, health advocates, consumer groups, farmers and other interested parties.

So drives for “efficiency dividends” and a general cost-trimming mood at higher administrative levels have induced FSANZ to look for outside assistance.

“In 2014, in light of diminishing government resources, a series of change management related initiatives were initiated,” the tender document explains.

“One of these initiatives was a project to rethink and redesign internal approaches and processes for projects to ensure they are fit for purpose.

“Whilst a number of changes have been made, an expert external review of FSANZ’s project management is seen as desirable at this stage.”

TenderSearch says the closing date for applications is March 2, at either 154 Featherstone St, Wellington, New Zealand or 55 Blackall St, Barton, ACT for hand delivery, or the postal address in either Wellington or Canberra. FSANZ is registered for GST in both Australia and New Zealand.

If the successful consultant is based in New Zealand, the fee calculated will have a GST component at the New Zealand rate of 15 per cent. The agency is looking for rapid implementation. It hopes to have an initial scoping meeting by March 23 and a seminar for staff outlining the results by June 5.

The focus will be on the large scale projects, where there should be more room for improvements. The aim is fewer and more carefully tailored projects, making better use of resources and achieving faster completion times. Included in the standard references to methods, structure, processes and leadership is a look at culture, or the embedded habits, corporate memories and expectations of the workforce.

The food policy framework for Australia is set by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulations, consisting of the health and agriculture ministers of Australasian governments.

Aspects covered include use of ingredients, processing aids, colouring, additives, vitamins and minerals, novel new foods, composition of dairy, meat and beverages, and labelling for both packaged and unpacked foods, including specific mandatory warnings or advisory labels.

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