Appendix B—Procurement Practices and Outcomes

This appendix focuses on the Department's procurement practices and outcomes, with attention to:

  • procurement policies and practices
  • competitive tendering and contracting arrangements
  • use of consultancies, and
  • payments for marketing research and advertising.

Procurement Policies and Practices

The Department's approach to the procurement of goods and services, including consultancies, is consistent with the requirements of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. The rules are applied to procurement activities through the Chief Executive's Instructions and supporting operational guidelines. The Department's procurement policies and processes have been developed to help ensure that the Department: undertakes competitive, non-discriminatory procurement processes; uses resources efficiently, effectively, economically and ethically; and makes decisions in an accountable and transparent manner.

As part of these arrangements, the Department published the following on the AusTender website www.tenders.gov.au:

  • a procurement plan providing details of expected procurements for 2013–14
  • details of publicly available procurement opportunities with a value of $80,000 or more, and
  • details of all contracts, standing offers and consultancies awarded with a value of $10,000 or more.

The Department also publishes on its website, at www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/contracts, details of all contracts with a value of $100,000 or more entered into or active during the previous 12 months.

The Department completed a thorough review of all departmental procurement guidance to coincide with the release of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules which came into effect on 1 July 2012. This was supplemented by targeted training throughout the year to ensure employees become aware of the new requirements and that procurements conducted are compliant with procurement policies.

The Department supports its employees in managing procurements appropriately by providing information and training on procurement policies and procedures and maintaining a single point of contact for advice on the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, the Chief Executive's Instructions and tendering processes. Standard tendering and contracting documentation has also been developed to ensure that consistent procurement practices are undertaken.

Australian National Audit Office Access Clauses

All contracts valued at $100,000 or more routinely include a requirement for access to the contractor's premises by the Auditor-General.

Exempt Contracts

In 2013–14 no contracts were exempted from publication on AusTender on public interest grounds.

Consultancy Contracts

The Department engages consultants where it lacks specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to: investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in the Department's decision-making.

Prior to engaging consultants the Department takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policies. Consultancy contracts are identified and reported in accordance with the guidance outlined on the Department of Finance Procurement Policy website www.finance.gov.au/procurement/procurement-policy-and-guidance/buying/reporting-requirements/consultancies-reporting/principles.html.

During 2013–14 82 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $4.32 million. In addition, 15 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2013–14 year involving total actual expenditure of $1.23 million.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website www.tenders.gov.au.

Table B.1 Trends and consultancies

2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Consultancies
Expenditure on new and ongoing consultancies
Total expenditure $8.5m $15.4m $19.3m $10.2m $5.6m
New consultancies valued at $10,000 or more
Number let 76 78 72 57 88
Total value over the life of these contracts $9.9m $14.9m $19.8m $4.0m $6.1m

Payments for Advertising and Market Research

In 2013–14 the Department paid $65,962 for advertising and market research. Table B.2 lists payments of $12,400 or more made during the financial year as required by section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Throughout 2013–14 the Department did not undertake any reportable advertising campaigns.

Table B.2 Details of advertising and market research payments of $12,400 or more

Creative advertising agencies
Firm Service provided Payment made in 2013–14
Total creative advertising Nil Nil
Market research/polling
Firm Service provided Payment made in 2013–14
Total market research/polling Nil Nil
Media advertising organisations
Firm Service provided Payment made in 2013–14
Adcorp and Office of Administrator Norfolk Island Advertising for employee vacancies $14,589*
Total media advertising $14,589

Note: * This is the combined amount of all recruitment advertising payments in 2013–14

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Last Updated: 3 February, 2015