Appendix - Consultants; competitive tendering and contracting

Policy and probity

In line with the principles of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, 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 and 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

In 2015–16 Comcare’s total consultancy expense, with an individual contract value of $10 000 or more (GST inclusive), was $389 197. During 2015–16, there were seven new consultancy contracts entered into. No consultancies continued from 2014–15 into 2015–16.

More information about Comcare’s consultancy services and competitive tendering is available through the AusTender website.

Table 34: Consultancy services 2015–16–as at 30 June 2016

Supplier name Contract value Description of services Procurement
Bevington Group $95 227 Open Tender A
Quality Management Solutions $63 822 Open Tender A
The Social Research Centre Pty Ltd $79 648 Open Tender A
Templar and Leatham Pty Ltd $60 000 Limited Tender A
Milner & Clyde Pty Ltd $16 500 Limited Tender A
Carmel McGregor $44 000 Limited Tender A
Cordelta $30 000 Open Tender A
Total$389 197  

More information on the value of contracts and consultancies above the relevant threshold of $400 000 is available on the AusTender website www.tenders.gov.au.

Table 14 notes

Note 1

Explanation of selection process terms drawn from the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (July 2014).

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.

Prequalified 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.

Limited Tender: 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—Required specialist skills not available in-house

B—Independent review, research or assessment required

C—Independent agent or facilitator required.