The department’s procurement policies and practices are consistent with all relevant Commonwealth laws, the Commonwealth financial framework (including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules) and other relevant policies. The provision of specialist legal and probity advice is available to all areas of the department engaged in procurement. The department uses AusTender to publish its procurement activities and plans. As a result, the department’s procurement activities are readily communicated and accessible to all business enterprises.
The department implements the requirements of the Indigenous Opportunities Policy in tendering and contracting processes. Internal procurement policies aim to increase opportunities for businesses owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the use of Exemption 17 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. The department works in partnership with Supply Nation in applying the policies to support participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in Australian Government procurement activities.
There were no contracts exempt from being reported on AusTender during 2013–14.
Promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers
The Shared Services Centre Procurement and Grants Support team’s leadership and advocacy in promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers within the partner departments of Education and Employment was recognised at the Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Awards held at Sydney Town Hall in May 2014.
The awards recognise private sector organisations and government agencies for their efforts in using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to supply goods and services.
The team won the prestigious Government Member of the Year category for ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business was front and centre in the minds of those responsible for procurement in the two departments.
‘I think this is a fantastic result which underlines our commitment to helping our partner departments achieve their Reconciliation Action Plan goals and to supporting their approach to Indigenous business more generally,’ said Shared Services Centre Deputy CEO Danny Jones.
‘On behalf of the Shared Services Centre Executive staff I would like to extend my hearty congratulations to the Procurement and Grants Support team for this outstanding result,’ Danny added.
Demonstrating leadership and advocacy, the team took the opportunity to influence the design of the new procurement system by simplifying the exemption provisions.
The department engages consultants to provide professional, independent and expert advice or services, taking into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of those options. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and related regulations.
The methods of selection used for consultancies are open tender, prequalified tender, limited tender and panel arrangements (initially selected through either an open tender or prequalified tender process). Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined research reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist the department in managing decision making.
During 2013–14, 69 new consultancies were entered into, involving total actual expenditure of $7,378,657. In addition, 34 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2013–14, involving total actual expenditure of $6,570,465.
Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.