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Insights can be a contractor’s nemesis or friend

Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman August 12, 2020

Insights gleaned out of the analysis of Big Data are quite possibly the most valuable thing any party can have at their disposal in making informed and strategic decisions during these challenging times.

The term Big Data is very well explained by SAS, a company that is a leader in business analytics software:

Big Data is a term that describes the large volume of data — both structured and unstructured — that inundates a business on a day- to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organisations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.” 

Insights can be a contractor’s nemesis.

The performance of contractors during this recession is capable of being the subject of data analysed insights by the industry regulator, the QBCC.

The QBCC has been on a journey for several years to become an insights-driven regulator.

In an article I published over two years ago, entitled Enormous Brother is Watching, I stated:

“A regulator who is reforming its operations around making better use of data is the QBCC. In an article entitled QBCC embraces the benefit of hybrid cloud, it was stated that to promote organisational flexibility the QBCC has switched to a hybrid cloud solution “to better utilise data to enable it to adopt an insights-driven approach to its work”.

The QBCC has further advanced its operational reforms in this regard by issuing an Insights Driven Regulator-Strategy and Business Case Tender where it is stated:

“Through recent significant legislative reform, the QBCC was given extended powers to enhance the integrity and probity of the building and construction industry. Consequently, this reform will rely heavily on data intelligence and analytics. A critical dependency to achieve the Government’s expectations for implementation of the new laws is the ability to be an “insights driven regulator”.

Contractors need to be aware that the QBCC will be looking to turn data, from a variety of sources, into information and information into insights. This will enable the QBCC to deliver a risk-based compliance and enforcement program.

As the inaugural Compliance Manager of the predecessor of the QBCC, the BSA, I wholeheartedly support the QBCC becoming an effective and fair risk-focused regulator.

The number one objective of the QBCC, as outlined in its Strategic Plan 2020-2024, is to:

“Promote quality, safety, security of payment and licensee sustainability.”

A key strategy in meeting this objective is:

“Early detection – we use insights and risk based regulatory models to focus on the greatest risk areas for the sector.”

If the QBCC is successful in this regard, then contractors ‘doing the right thing’ will be able to go about their daily business with the knowledge that the compliance and enforcement activities of the QBCC will not impact them.

Where is the QBCC on this journey?

In a recent report by the Queensland Auditor-General on whether the QBCC effectively regulates the industry, it is stated:

 “As of 30 June 2019, there were 91,164 active licences in Queensland (an increase of about 4.5 per cent since 2015–16). In the 2018–19 financial year, QBCC cancelled 280 licences and suspended 495. This equates to less than one per cent of all licences being cancelled and/or suspended.

“Since 2015, the number of licences cancelled by QBCC has decreased by 22 per cent, while the number of licences suspended has increased by 130 per cent. The largest increase was in 2018–19, which corresponds to the move to a more risk-based approach to compliance. Almost 43 percent of licences suspended in 2018–19 was due to a breach of minimum financial requirements. This correlates with one of QBCC’s compliance priorities—to avert licensees causing financial detriment to participants in the building and construction industry.”

The QBCC still has a way to go.

In the same report, the Auditor-General stated:

“However, insights-driven regulation relies on access to appropriate data, from which to form the necessary intelligence. To embed insights-driven regulation into the organisation, QBCC needs to better leverage data, technology, and people capability. For the 2019–20 financial year, QBCC received $3 million of additional government funding to begin development of its program for insights-driven regulation.

QBCC has assessed it will take three to five years to fully implement all intended aspects of insights-driven regulation. It will require sustained attention and disciplined management by QBCC to translate its regulatory strategy into a targeted compliance program. Delays in implementing the regulatory strategy will hinder QBCC’s ability to achieve its objectives and effectively manage the transition to a risk-focused regulator.”

Insights can be a contractor’s friend.

On the other hand, insights can help contractors make good business decisions.

For a contractor, insights which identify potential contracting risks are valuable information at any time, but during these challenging times they are absolute gold.

We want to see as many contractors as possible emerge from this COVID-19 recession.

At Helix, we are committed to turning data into information, and information into insights for our clients.

We want to see contractors make perceptive decisions on who they should contract with based on our analysis of data and our experience and expertise.

Since Helix Legal was founded in 2016, we have taken many opportunities to showcase innovation in the construction industry. Now it is time for us to unveil several home-grown innovation projects, one of which provides contractors with insightful risk-based information.

Register here to join us on the 26th August 2020 when the entire Helix team will demonstrate our new capabilities to help you build better.

Click here to receive the opinion articles authored each week by Helix Consultant, Michael Chesterman.

Not intended as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.
Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman August 12, 2020

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