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Appendix VI: Consultants-competitive tendering and contracting

Policy and probity

In line with the principles of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, the Comcare policy on selection and engagement of consultants is based on the principles of:

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

Consultancy services

Consultancy services are one type of service delivered under a contract for services. They are distinguished from other contracts by the nature of the work performed. A consultant is an entity (individual, partnership or corporation) engaged to provide professional, independent and expert advice or services. In general, the term ‘consultancy services’ is used to describe the application of expert and professional skills to:

  • investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem
  • carry out defined research, reviews or evaluations
  • provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist the agency in management decision-making.

A consultancy contract will usually define the nature, purpose and duration of the task to be performed but does not detail the manner in which the task is to be performed. The consultant is usually paid on completion of milestones or in a lump sum. Consultants are not employees of Comcare and are not paid wages or other employee entitlements. A contract for consultancy services is based on a principal/consultant relationship.

Details of contracts for consultancy services

Total spend on consultancy services during the 2010–11 year was $2 126 821.

Forty-four ongoing consultancy contracts (with an individual contract value of $10 000 (GST inclusive) or more) were active during the 2010–11 year, involving actual expenditure of $1 897 984.

Nine new consultancy contracts (with an individual contract value of $10 000 (GST inclusive) or more) were entered into during the 2010–11 year, involving actual expenditure of $228 837.

Details of the new consultancy services let during 2010–11 are outlined in Table 14. Contract values may not represent actual payments made—they may reflect commitments to pay or contractual limits.

Table 14: Consultancy services

Supplier Name Description of Services Contract Value Procurement Method1 Reason2
Aurion Corporation Pty Ltd Aurion Consultancy Upgrades $12 375.00 Direct Sourcing B
Aust Government Solicitor Probity Advisor $27 000.00 Select Tender B
Dimension Data Australia Consultancy for WAN QoS Remediation $25 278.00 Direct Sourcing B
Dwight Dowda Pty Ltd Comcare Guide Modification $12 500.00 Direct Sourcing C
Geniere Aplin Audit Committee Member $60 000.00 Direct Sourcing B
HBA Consulting Provision of Investigative Services $22 275.00 Direct Sourcing C
Julie Harrick Consulting Consultancy Services $39 490.00 Open Tender C
Optimice Pty Ltd Data Analysis Consulting Services $13 200.00 Direct Sourcing C
Peter Harcourt Pty Ltd Clinical consultancy services $31 482.00 Open Tender C
Total $243 600.00

Further information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

Table 14 notes

Note 1

Explanation of selection process terms drawn from the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (December 2008):

Open Tender: A procurement procedure in which a request for tender is published inviting all businesses that satisfy the conditions for participation to submit tenders. Public tenders are generally sought from the Australian Government AusTender internet site.

Select Tender: A procurement procedure in which the procuring agency selects which potential suppliers are invited to submit tenders (this includes tenders submitted through Multi Use Lists). This procurement process may only be used under certain defined circumstances.

Direct Sourcing: A form of restricted tendering, available only under certain defined circumstances, with a single potential supplier or suppliers being invited to bid because of their unique expertise and/ or their special ability to supply the goods and/or services sought.

Panel: An arrangement under which a number of suppliers, initially selected through an open tender process, may each supply property or services to an agency as specified in the panel arrangements. Quotes are sought from suppliers that have prequalified on the agency panels to supply to the Government. This category includes standing offers and supplier panels where the supply of goods and services may be provided for a pre-determined length of time, usually at a pre-arranged price.

Note 2

Justification for decision to use consultancy:

A—skills currently unavailable within agency

B—need for specialised or professional skills

C—need for independent research or assessment.