External service providers

​Service providers

In 2010–11, DAFF continued to contract consultants and other non-government service providers to supply goods or services. This section provides an overview of our use of consultants. It also gives information required by law about exempt and other contracts.

Purchasing

In 2010–11, DAFF complied with the purchasing policies outlined in the Commonwealth procurement guidelines and conducted procurement, including engaging consultants, in accordance with the following principles:

  • value for money
  • open and effective competition
  • ethics and fair dealing
  • accountability and reporting
  • national competitiveness and industry development
  • support for other Australian Government policies.

Any exceptions were reported in the Certificate of Compliance.

Our Contracts and Procurement Unit provides services of an advisory nature in support of procurement and contracting activities. The unit provides advice to all areas of the department engaged in procurement. Its services include contract template maintenance, providing guidance on all aspects of the procurement cycle, and contract management advice. The unit is also responsible for departmental procurement policy and reporting in accordance with government guidelines.

DAFF’s divisions are responsible for their own purchasing, subject to a Chief Executive’s Instruction on procurement and supporting departmental procurement guidelines that complement the Commonwealth procurement guidelines.

Procurement processes to support major advertising campaigns are subject to the requirements of the Australian Government advertising campaign guidelines to use the communications multi-use list established and maintained by the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

DAFF conducted numerous open tender processes, including for the supply of information technology personnel, corporate uniforms and legal services. A tender process to establish a panel of communication services providers across the department was released to the market in October 2008. Two of the nine tender categories were finalised in 200910. Of the remaining categories, four were finalised in 201011, and the final three will be finalised in the second half of 2011.

We met reporting obligations, including listing contracts of more than $100 000 on our website in accordance with the Senate Order on Departmental and Agency Contracts.

DAFF’s annual procurement plan is published on the AusTender website by 1 July each year.

Consultants

In 2010–11, we hired consultants where we identified a need for specialised or professional skills or for independent research or assessment. DAFF’s guidance material on procurement contains procedures and guidelines for engaging consultants. Each proposal for a consultancy must specify the project requirements, justify the use of a consultant, identify the expected costs, recommend a procurement method and explain how the consultant’s performance will be evaluated and monitored.

During 2010–11, we entered into 157 new consultancy contracts, with a value of $12 040 356. Total actual expenditure on new consultancies was $5 950 275. In addition, 83 ongoing consultancies involved total actual expenditure of $10 027 232.

Table 39 shows the number and value of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000, and total expenditure on consultancies, for 2010–11 and the two previous years. Table 40 shows why it was necessary to use consultancies.

During the year, DAFF contracted various legal service providers, including Blake Dawson and Australian Government Solicitor. Although these contracts may include a variety of engagements, they are subsets of the overarching contracts, and have not been separately identified or included in the numbers reported.

Details of consultancy contracts of more than $10 000 (including GST)  PDF [310kb] let during the year are available.

 

Table 39 Consultancies: number, value and total expenditure, 2008–09 to 2010–11
2008–09 2009–10 2010–11
Number of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 let during the year 192 162 157
Total value of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 let during the year $16 537 050 $9 609 907 $12 040 356
Actual expenditure on new and ongoing consultancies during the year $14 704 039 $9 128 466 $15 977 507

 

Table 40 Consultancies: reasons for use, 2010–11
Reason Number
Skills currently unavailable within the agency 3
Need for specialised or professional skills 142
Need for independent research or assessment 12
Total 157

Other contract information

This section contains information that we are required to publish in our annual report.

Exempt contracts

No contracts let during 2010–11 were exempted by the secretary from being published on AusTender on the basis that publication would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Access by the Auditor-General

All contracts valued at $100 000 or more (inclusive of GST) let during 2010–11 provided for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Further information

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.