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PSR 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 with the agency’s decision making.

Before engaging consultants, PSR takes into consideration 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 Commonwealth Procurement Rules. A consultant provides professional advice on subject matter in which they have expertise.

During 2018–19, PSR engaged 14 consultants under s. 90 of the Health Insurance Act 1973, with a total value of $355,976 (inclusive of GST), to assist with the performance of the functions, duties and powers of the Director. Four out of the 14 consultancy contracts were ongoing contracts (totalling $271,707 GST inclusive), for services provided by Dr D Brand, Dr A Di Dio, Dr R Sharma and Dr K Flegg. PSR uses peer review to assist in Director stage reviews and some clinicians are engaged under a consultancy for this purpose. The remaining 10 consultancies represent new contracts entered into during the financial year (totalling $84,269 GST inclusive).

In addition, PSR incurred further expenditure of $245,032 (inclusive of GST) in relation to three ongoing contracts, and one new contract for the provision of legal services from Clayton Utz, Sparke Helmore, Maddocks, and the Australian Government Solicitor.

PSR spent a cumulative amount of $172,348 (inclusive of GST) on three consultancies during 2018–19 to provide professional, independent and expert advice to PSR. Two out of the three were new contracts (totalling $158,790 GST inclusive), which included an agency functional review by Ernst and Young, in the amount of $150,000 (GST inclusive).

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.