In 2018–19, our assets management processes were effective. Our capital plan reflects the government’s priorities and business needs and complies with the financial management framework. We monitor asset acquisitions and disposals against this plan, and we carry out a risk-based annual stocktake for non-artwork targeting key asset classes or events to update and verify the accuracy of our asset records and review their condition and utility. A separate stocktake of all artworks held on premises by Artbank is completed once a year.
In terms of performance against the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, our procurement policies and processes in 2018–19 were consistent with the rules, and with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). Appropriate controls are in place to ensure procurement is carried out in accordance with the rules and with legislative requirements.
We publish procurement activities and annual procurement plans on AusTender. Information on expected procurement activities in 2019–20 is included in our latest annual procurement plan and is also available on AusTender.
We engage consultants to provide specialised professional services when we do not have the capability or capacity to perform these in-house, or where we need independent research, review, assessment or advice. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a specific issue or problem, carry out reviews or evaluations, and provide independent advice, information or solutions to help us make decisions.
Before engaging consultants, we take into account the skills and resources needed for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. Our policy for selecting and engaging consultants in 2018–19 was in accordance with the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules: it is based on the core principle of achieving value for money.
The main categories in which consultants were engaged are for the provision of:
- legal services
- auditing and accounting services
- economic services
- other professional services, including in relation to engineering, broadcasting, telecommunications and the arts
During 2018–19, 68 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure during that period of $2.5 million. In addition, 22 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2018–19, involving total actual expenditure during that period of $0.9 million. Therefore, total consultancy expenditure during 2018–19 was $3.4 million. Expenditure on consultancy contracts, 2015–16 to 2018–19 shows expenditure on consultancy contracts since 2015–16.
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.
Expenditure on consultancy contracts, 2015–16 to 2018–19
Procurement initiatives to support small business
We support small business participation in the Australian Government procurement market. Small and medium-sized enterprises and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website.
We continue to meet government policy requirements in terms of supporting small and medium enterprises in the following ways:
- Our approach-to-market documents are clear and straightforward to help potential suppliers to produce a response that does not require extensive time and effort.
- Our processes facilitate the payment of invoices on time, and our financial management information system identifies late payments so that remedies can be applied.
- We use the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for eligible procurements valued under $200,000 (GST inclusive).
- Where procurements are considered low risk and their value is below the procurement threshold of $80,000 (GST inclusive), a streamlined process is followed.
- For procurements valued under $10,000 (GST inclusive), we encourage the use of payment by credit card.
- We have exceeded our portfolio target for supporting Indigenous businesses. In 2018–19, we raised awareness of the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy including with our portfolio entities, many of which are not bound by the policy. In 2018–19, our portfolio achieved 464 new contracts with Indigenous businesses worth $38.5 million against a full‑year target of 18 new contracts.
We recognise the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are published by the Treasury on its website.
Information on grants awarded by the department during 2018–19 is available on the GrantConnect website.