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Purchasing is made in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Guidance is provided to staff through the purchasing guide, and the Accountable Authority Instructions. The Commission has a framework for managing the risks inherent in procurement activity, as well as operational guidelines to support staff in assessing the risks associated with their projects. The Commission published its procurement plan for 2019–20 on the AusTender website, at www.tenders.gov.au.
No contracts of $100,000 or more (inclusive of GST) were entered into during 2019–20 that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.
The Commission engaged consultants when the expertise sought was not available internally or when independent advice was required. Decisions to engage consultants are made in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and related requirements, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, and other internal policies.
During 2019–20, the Commission entered into 24 new consultancy contracts involving total expenditure of $0.2 million. This compares with 23 new contracts totalling $0.8 million in 2018–19. A total of 9 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2018–19, involving total actual expenditure of $0.4 million, compared with 13 ongoing contracts totalling $0.1 million in 2018–19.
Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available through the AusTender website.
Table 26 Expenditure on Consultancy Contracts 2018-19 and 2019-20
The Commissioner may direct that contracts not be reported on the AusTender website if they are subject to an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or if the Commissioner considers the information is genuinely sensitive and harm is likely to be caused by its disclosure. No exemptions were issued during 2019–20.
The Commission supports small businesses’ participation in the Australian Government procurement market. Participation statistics for small and medium enterprises and small enterprises for 2019–20 are available on the Department of Finance website, at www.finance.gov.au.
The Commission adopted two specific practices to support procurement from small and medium enterprises:
- use of the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low risk procurements valued under $200,000; and
- use of payment cards for purchases up to $10,000 to facilitate on time payment.