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Asset management, purchasing and grants

Asset management

Management of the department’s assets is governed by the Secretary’s Instructions on asset management and aligns with government best-practice. The department maintains an asset register, asset management policies and a capital management plan. A rolling annual stocktake is carried out to maintain the accuracy of the information in the asset register. The department’s fixed assets include office fit outs, purchased and internally developed software, computer equipment, infrastructure and centrally held library materials.

Purchasing

Our procurement policies and practices reflect the principles in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. We focus on:

  • obtaining value for money
  • encouraging competition
  • efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of government resources
  • accountability and transparency in all of our business transactions
  • compliance with other Australian Government policies.

A central procurement team within the department provides advice to staff undertaking procurement and contract management activities. The procurement team undertakes quality assurance testing of procurement activities and periodically reviews procurement related documentation and training material to ensure consistency with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and other policies. The department uses a procurement module within its financial management information system to enhance administrative workflows and procurement compliance.

Information on significant procurements expected to be undertaken in 2021–22 is in the department’s annual procurement plan, available on the AusTender website, tenders.gov.au.

Small-to-medium enterprises

The department supports small business participation in the Australian Government procurement market. The department's measures to support small business enterprises include:

  • complying with the Commonwealth Procurement Framework
  • using standardised contracts for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000
  • using the Australian Industry Participation policies and programs to encourage small business enterprises opportunities.

Small and medium enterprises and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website.

The department recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time, complying with the government’s Supplier Pay On Time or Pay Interest Policy. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Treasury’s website.

The department supports the goals of the government's Indigenous Procurement Policy. This is reflected in the Indigenous Procurement Policy procurement statistics, which show that the department consistently exceeds its Indigenous Procurement Policy targets. Further details are available on the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

Consultants

The department engages consultants when it lacks specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem, carry out defined reviews or evaluations, provide independent advice and information and develop solutions to assist in the department’s decision-making. Prior to engaging consultants, the department takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policies.

Information on the value of reportable consultancy contracts is available on the AusTender website. Details of the reportable new and ongoing consultancy contracts entered into during 2020–21 are shown in the following tables.

Expenditure on reportable consultancy contracts current report period (2020–21)

Contract types

Number

Expenditure (GST inc.)

New contracts entered into during the reporting period

81

$1,737,897

Ongoing contracts entered into during previous reporting period

11

$520,044

Total

92

$2,257,941

Organisations receiving a share of reportable consultancy contract expenditure (2020–21)

Name of organisation

Expenditure (GST inc.)

Aussafe Consulting Pty Ltd (ABN 90 086 516 707)

$553,351

Nous Group Pty Ltd (ABN 66 086 210 344)

$310,076

Law & Justice Foundation (ABN 54 227 668 981)

$165,000

Portable Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 82 118 683 828)

$143,936

Australian Institute of Family Studies (ABN 64 001 053 079)

$104,500

Contracts

Information on the value of reportable non-consultancy contracts is available on the AusTender website.

Details of the new and ongoing reportable non-consultancy contracts entered into in 2020–21 are shown in the following tables.

Expenditure on reportable non-consultancy contracts (2020–21)

Contract types

Number

Expenditure (GST inc.)

New contracts entered into during the reporting period

614

$30,119,203

Ongoing contracts entered into during previous reporting period

543

$95,511,395

Total

1,157

$125,630,598

Organisations receiving a share of reportable non-consultancy contract expenditure (2020–21)

Name of Organisation

Expenditure (GST inc.)

ISPT Pty Ltd (ABN 28 064 041 283)

$13,263,383

Law in Order (ABN 63 086 329 044)

$7,468,174

Gilbert & Tobin (ABN 88 775 098 848)

$6,068,723

DFP Recruitment Services (ABN 66 394 749 447)

$5,661,670

IPA Personnel Services Pty Ltd (ABN 12 137 834 738)

$4,957,350

No contracts of $100,000 or more (inclusive of GST) were entered into during 2020–21 that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises where appropriate.

During 2020–21, the department had 50 contracts in excess of $10,000 to a total value of $13.907 million that were exempt from being reported on AusTender on the basis that they would disclose matters exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Grants

Information on grants awarded by the department for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 is available on the Australian Government GrantConnect website.

Advertising and market research

Under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the department is required to disclose payments of $13,800 or more (inclusive of GST) to specific types of organisations. These organisations are advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, media advertising organisations and direct mail organisations.

The following table provides details on expenditure during 2020–21.

Payment to advertising, market research and other organisations

Name of organisation

Payment

Purpose

Key

Universal McCann

$219,603 (GST inc.)

Elder abuse: development and placement of radio advertisements (including translation into 9 languages) and boosting of social media promotions.

C

Whereto Research Based Consulting

$198,000 (GST inc.)

To assess the need for an information campaign about industrial relations reforms.

B

Key:

A: Paid to a creative advertising agency to develop advertising campaign.

B: Paid to a market research organisation.

C: Paid to a media advertising organisation for placing government advertising (both campaign and non-campaign) in the media.

We advertised to increase community awareness about elder abuse and to promote the 1800ELDERHelp redirect service and the Compass.info website. We also undertook market research on the degree of understanding employers and employees have about industrial awards and employment conditions in Australia to assess the need for an information campaign on industrial relations reforms. The government decided not to proceed with a campaign. This research will be used to guide the other information resources such as website content.

There were no payments to polling organisations or direct mail organisations.

Further information on advertising is contained in the reports on Australian Government advertising prepared by the Department of Finance. Those reports are available on the Department of Finance website.

Ecologically sustainable development

In 2020–21, we continued to mitigate the effects of our operations on the environment through:

  • electronic document management systems, use of e-forms and web-based information-sharing tools that reduce or eliminate the need to print and retain paper copies of documents
  • videoconferencing to reduce the need for local, interstate and international travel
  • identifying and implementing ways to improve the energy efficiency of our facilities
  • ensuring that new leases entered into comply with the Australian Government’s energy policy
  • procuring energy-efficient equipment and lighting solutions, including a smart lighting system that activates only when work areas are occupied
  • recycling facilities in all work areas
  • use of organic waste bins to divert 33 tonnes of general waste from landfill. The organic waste is collected by a worm-farming company to be recycled into organic fertiliser.

The integration of energy-efficiency practices into our organisation and planning processes allows us to reduce our energy costs and decrease the consumption of resources.