Purchasing and grants

The department is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity, and its procurement and grant policies and practices are consistent with:

  • all relevant Commonwealth legislation
  • the Australian Government Financial Framework, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines, and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act, and
  • Secretary’s Instructions and the Department of Jobs and Small Business’ internal policies and processes.

The department provides procurement and grants management advice and guidance, sources ICT goods and services under a centralised model, and coordinates contracts and statutory reporting. It helps a number of agencies achieve open, transparent and accountable purchases and value-for-money outcomes by working closely with internal and external stakeholders. It also ensures consistent guidelines and operating procedures are in place to meet mandatory reporting obligations.

The department communicates with staff about their obligations when undertaking procurement or grant activities. This is achieved through intranet and email news articles to promote procurement and grant obligations, providing and publishing clear guidelines and reference material, and facilitating regular procurement training and information sessions.

Procurement processes are fair and equitable. It is departmental policy to use panel arrangements to select providers where possible, and to conduct its procurement activities in accordance with relevant policies, regulations and legislative requirements.

The department publishes details of its procurement activities and plans on AusTender. During 2017–18, 74 contracts were exempted from publication.

Information on grants awarded by the department during 2017–18 (as at 31 December 2017) is available at www.jobs.gov.au.

Grants awarded by the department since 1 January 2018 are available at www.grants.gov.au.

Support for Indigenous businesses and small and medium enterprises

The department has embedded the Indigenous Procurement Policy into internal procurement processes to increase opportunities for businesses owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The department partners with Supply Nation to implement these policies and to support participation of these businesses in Australian Government procurements.

In 2017–18, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet set the department a target of 44 contracts to meet the Indigenous Procurement Policy requirements. A total of 159 procurements were achieved with Indigenous enterprises, representing 10.4 per cent of all our procurements.

The department supports small business participation in Australian Government procurements. Small and medium-sized enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website at www.finance.gov.au/procurement/statistics-on-commonwealth-purchasing-contracts

The department recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Department of the Treasury website at www.treasury.gov.au.

Consultants

The department engages consultants to provide independent and expert advice or services, considering 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 Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act and related regulations.

Selection methods include open tender, prequalified tender, limited tender and panel arrangements (initially selected through either an open tender or a prequalified tender process). Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined research, reviews or evaluations; or to provide independent advice, information or creative solutions.

During 2017–18, the department entered into 113 new consultancies, involving total expenditure of $5,919,475. In addition, 27 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the year, involving total expenditure of $4,500,812.

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available at www.tenders.gov.au