The AAT’s procurement policies and practices reflect the principles and requirements in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. We relied on our Accountable Authority Instructions and other guidance material in 2018–19 to ensure that staff with purchasing duties focused on securing value for money, encouraging competition, ensuring the efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of government resources, providing accountability and transparency, and ensuring compliance with other Australian Government policies.
In relation to major purchases and contracts, open tender or prequalified tender processes were employed unless the procurement was covered by a mandatory whole-of-government arrangement or a standing offer was available or limited tender was appropriate in the particular circumstances. For purchases and contracts below the mandatory tender threshold, at least three quotes were generally required, together with an assessment of the need justifying the purchase request and an analysis of why the selected quote would achieve value for money.
We support small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website: www.finance.gov.au/procurement/statistics-on-commonwealth-purchasing-contracts. We supported small business participation by utilising the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000, by communicating in clear, simple language, presenting information in accessible formats and by using electronic systems to facilitate on-time payment of invoices.
The AAT uses consultants where there is a need for independent research or assessment, or for specialist knowledge or skills that are not available within the AAT. Any decision to engage a consultant is made after considering the skills and resources required for the task, internal capacity and the cost effectiveness of contracting an external service provider. Consultants are selected in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policies noted above. Consultants were engaged in 2018–19 to investigate issues, carry out independent reviews and evaluations, and provide independent advice, information and solutions to assist in our decision-making. .
During 2018–19, 28 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $954,924. In addition, five ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $131,385.
The following table sets out the AAT’s total actual expenditure on all consultancies in the previous and current reporting years.
Total actual expenditure (incl GST)
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: www.tenders.gov.au.
Reporting on purchases
Details of all contracts of $100,000 or more that were current in the most recent calendar or financial year were available on the AusTender website in accordance with the Senate order on agency contracts.
There were no contracts of $100,000 or more in 2018–19 that did not include a clause providing for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.
There were no contracts of more than $10,000 (including GST) or standing offers exempt from being published on the AusTender website on the basis that they would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act.