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Procurement

ACIAR complies with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and the objectives of Commonwealth procurement. Value for money is applied as the core principle in the procurement process, consistent with Section 4 (4.4) of the rules. ACIAR Accountable Authority Instructions include details on delegations, the commitment of public moneys, management of risk and dealing with public property. These instructions have been developed in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Purchasing

Purchasing activities are subject to the provisions of the Accountable Authority Instruction (AAI 3 Procurement Process) relating to procurement. In accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules that ACIAR publishes an Annual Procurement Plan on the AusTender website <www.tenders.gov.au>

The majority of ACIAR procurement activity (by expenditure) is exempt from Division 2 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, predominantly exemption 6: procurement of research and development services, but not the procurement of inputs to research and development undertaken by the agency.

Agreements executed under exemption 6 include contracts for the conduct of research projects by Australian universities and research organisations with the collaboration of other governments and international agencies. In relation to research project activities, ACIAR:

  • publishes an Annual Operational Plan that includes areas of priority for research developed in consultation with partner countries
  • disseminates this to research providers, both within and outside Australia, inviting suitable experts to submit ideas and develop these in consultation with ACIAR Research Program Managers.

Reporting against the Senate Order of 20 June 2001 requiring departments and agencies to list contracts entered into with a value of more than $100,000, that were still to be concluded or had been concluded during the previous 12 months, is available on the ACIAR website and is reported separately from that outlined below.

In addition to contracts in excess of $100,000 reported under the Senate Order referred to above, ACIAR entered into an additional 177 contracts, agreements and variations to acquire services mainly related to research program support and services. These contracts totalled $56,516,334 in 2019–20. All contracts greater than$10,000 are reported on the AusTender website.

No contracts were let in excess of $10,000 that were exempted from publication in AusTender due to freedom of information exemptions. All ACIAR contracts in excess of $100,000 contained clauses permitting the Auditor-General through the Australian National Audit Office access to contractor premises.

Competitive tendering

ACIAR conducted two approaches to market for Requests for Tender (greater than $80,000) during 2019–20. The total expenditure from contracts arising from the procurements was $0. ACIAR conducted four approaches to market in FY 2018–19 (previous FY) with total expenditure for these contracts of $1,584,296.

Two responses were reported on AusTender where ACIAR had engaged whole of government arrangements for travel, IT services and other services.

Consultants and contracts

ACIAR engages consultants where 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; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in ACIAR decision making.

Prior to engaging consultants, ACIAR considers 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 PGPA Act and related Rules including the CPRs and relevant internal policies.

The agency selects consultants through the use of panel arrangements or by making an open approach to market.

Expenditure on reportable consultancy contracts

During 2019–20, a total of three new consultancy contracts were entered into, involving total actual expenditure of $42,074 (inclusive of GST). In addition, three ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $37,654 (inclusive of GST).

All consultancy contracts valued at $10,000 (inclusive of GST) or more, that were awarded in 2019–20, are published on the AusTender website.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on reportable consultancy contracts. Information on the value of reportable consultancy contracts is available on the AusTender website.

Organisations receiving a share of reportable consultancy contract expenditure, 2019–20

Organisation

Expenditure $

Richard Markham

28,736

Datacom Systems (AU) Pty Ltd

27,060

Foodlink Advocacy Co-operative

15,014

RDSM Consulting (NZ)

8,918

Expenditure on reportable non-consultancy contracts

During 2019–20, a total of 169 new non-consultancy contracts were entered into, involving total actual expenditure of $15,331,891 (inclusive of GST). In addition, 298 ongoing non-consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $60,697,563 (inclusive of GST).

All non-consultancy contracts valued at $10,000 (inclusive of GST) or more, that were awarded in 2019–20, are published on the AusTender website.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on reportable non-consultancy contracts. Information on the reportable non-consultancy contracts’ value is available on the AusTender website.

Organisations receiving a share of reportable non-consultancy contract expenditure, 2019–20

Organisation

Expenditure $

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

$6,739,408

University of Sunshine Coast

$6,683,197

University of Queensland

$5,802,018

University of New England

$4,122,099

University of Melbourne

$3,311,124

Small business

ACIAR supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website.

In supporting small and medium enterprises, ACIAR applies:

  • the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000
  • Australian Industry Participation plans in whole-of-government procurement, where applicable
  • the Small Business Engagement Principles (outlined in the government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda), such as communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in an accessible format.

ACIAR 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 Treasury website.