The department’s procurement policies and practices are consistent with all relevant Commonwealth laws, the Commonwealth financial framework (including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules) and other relevant policies. Specialist legal and probity advice is available to all areas of the department engaged in procurement. The department uses AusTender to publish its procurement activities and plans. The department’s procurement activities are accessible to all business enterprises.
The department has implemented the requirements of the government’s Indigenous Opportunities Policy in tendering and contracting processes. The department works in partnership with Supply Nation in applying the policies to support participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in Government procurement activities.
There were no contracts exempt from being reported on AusTender during 2014‑15.
Procurement Initiatives to Support Small Business
The department 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’s website.
The department 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’s website.
The department’s procurement practices support SMEs though a range of initiatives and practices including the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000, Australian Industry Participation Plans where applicable and the Small Business Engagement Principles.
The department engages consultants to provide professional, independent and expert advice or services, taking into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of those options. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and related regulations.
The methods of selection used for consultancies are consistent with government requirements. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem, carry out defined research reviews or evaluations, or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist the department make decisions.
In 2013‑14, 62 new consultancies were entered into, involving total actual expenditure of $5,179,933. In addition, 26 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2014‑15, involving total actual expenditure of $1,310,642.
Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.
Information on grants awarded by the Department of Education and Training during the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 is available on the Department of Education and Training website.