Have Your Say | The new procurement suite helping Suppliers and Government do business

John Sheridan - CIO & CISO

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I’m pleased to announce that Finance has developed new standard procurement documents for low risk procurement under $200,000. If you are a stakeholder I would like your feedback.

In the 2011/12 financial year the Commonwealth signed over 68,000 contracts valued at less than $200,000. This is 85% of the number but less than 8% of the total value of contracts reported.

Since early 2011, agencies have used the Basic Contract Suite for contracts under the $80,000 threshold and business has provided very positive feedback on this initiative. Building on this experience my team has developed the Commonwealth Contract Document Suite. It has the necessary terms for both parties while stripping out repetition, ambiguity and process costs.

The Suite is available using the links below. To clearly highlight the rights and responsibilities of each of the contracting parties, a colour-coded version of the contract is included – Blue for Supplier, Green for Customer, Orange for Both.

Please submit your comments via this blog (publicly viewable) or confidentially to haveyoursay.procurement@finance.gov.au

This consultation stage will close Tuesday, 19 November 2013


In accord with policy directions this Suite will simplify procurement for suppliers, reducing costs and making it easier to tender.

Are the documents easy to understand?  Will using the Suite reduce your tendering time and costs? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Now it is time for you to have your say: you can view the Suite and covering information using the links below

Government Agencies

The Suite reflects current procurement processes across Government while introducing time-savers, standardisations, and consistency (Note: not for use for ICT, Construction or Defence inventory items).

Are there any real conflicts between this suite and the requirements of your agency? Is the Suite easy to understand and use? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Now it is time for you to have your say: you can view the Suite and covering information using the links below


Comments on this blog are now closed. Please let us know if you would like to discuss this post or have any general comments.


Comments (6)

The use of these templates should not be restricted by value. A contract for several million dollars can be relatively simple and a contract for $10,000 can be quite complex. I would prefer to see these templates offered to procurement officers who can then judge whether they are appropriate to their needs. A value as a suggestion rather than a hard rule would be more acceptable.There are references in the terms and conditions to 'goods and/or services'. This is confusing in what is a goods template and should be changed perhaps to 'goods [and services]'.There is a clause for specified personnel which is an unlikely requirement for a goods only contract. I accept that a goods contract may include some services such as installation or configuration.For CA1 Key Dates and Times I would prefer the heading to be 'Contract Term / End Date. A contract may be specified as a period of time or delivery may be required by a certain date.

I commend the Government for this initiative and expect the small business sector will be a major beneficiary.In my experience, colour coding contracts to clearly highlight the rights and responsibilities of each of the contracting parties, has some really positive impacts. In particular, it can significantly reduce contract related disputes and bring about improvements in the contracting practices of both parties.If colour coding of contracts proves to be successful on contracts under $200,000 this could potentially be rolled out to other Commonwealth contracts.In regards to the Public Consultation Draft – contract – colour coded, I would recommend including a key in the document explaining what each colour identifies, i.e. to clearly highlight the rights and responsibilities of each of the contracting parties, a colour-coded version of the contract is included – Blue for Supplier, Green for Customer, Orange for Both.The general initiative to simplify procurement contracts will also be well received by the small business sector.

The suite is similar to the suites used by our department in the sense that both provide for the necessary terms for both parties.

There are some differences but no real conflicting ones. Like all agencies, ours has its unique requirements but the suite offers the flexibility to cater for this. The use of this suite could be used in operational environments overseas where local suppliers might be faced with even more challenges than those faced by average small businesses in Australia.

Using the suite would mean for our agency that the way in which we interact and do business is more compatible with the way in which the private sector like to, which is more efficiently.

It is for people to understand the words used. The use of direct and plain language makes it clear as to who will do what and promotes understanding. The grammar and punctuation conforms to the practice of good standard English, and the text can be read with ease by users.

In terms of the usability of the documents, the text layout and graphic elements would have a positive visual impact on the users. The quality of its structure is good in terms of how the documents are organised in relation to their intended function. The documents will create a good impression overall in terms of attractiveness and approachability.

The documents will assist in establishing a relationship with users as it contains clear communication from the intended agency and makes clear the contact points and means of contract. The documents are also appropriate to the knowledge and skills of the users as its intended audience. Similarly, the style and language are appropriately matched to the users.

The way in which the content is organised meets the purpose of the documents. The content is relevant and communicated clearly. The content is such that there is no lack of clarity as to what is required of users, and aligns with the intended aims and values of the Commonwealth.

The suite will assist Commonwealth staffs by making contract documents easy to compile, prepare and manage. Further, the suite supports consistency between the technical and contractual areas across agencies yet provides flexibility to address unique requirements. It may further assist to improve the quality of the procurement of low risk generic goods in Australia.

It will also be easy to use and tailor when employing different procurement methods.

The suite will assist to minimise disputes as the contractual framework reflects sensible risk allocation, and provides guidance as to the process and the required delegation of authority to resolve in a timely manner.

The suite contains the necessary terms for both parties, and removes repetition and ambiguity. Further, the suite sets the benchmark for simplified and more efficient procurement processes. It has wide utility for generic low risk procurement across government.

Also the time and costs associated with Commonwealth tendering, including the cost to the tax payer for Commonwealth request for tender preparations and the costs of tender preparation that are initially borne by the successful supplier and passed onto the Commonwealth.

I would like to thank all those who have given valuable feedback both through this Blog and the mailbox. The comments received to date have been constructive and well-considered. My team is currently reviewing the suite and considering these contributions. The consultation period for these documents closes COB tomorrow, Tuesday 19 November, I encourage you to get your ideas and comments in, now.

Yvette Sims, Assistant Secretary, Procurement Policy Team, Department of Finance.

This program is excellent - particularly for the small business sector.
In NSW we are already seeing many Councils and State Govt Departments moving towards becoming Buy Local supporters (in the sub $150k range) via a joint initiative being worked on between the NSW Chamber of Commerce, the NSW Small Business Commissioner's office and Industry Capability network (ICN).
Simplifying procurement policies for low risk / lower value supply contracts is wonderful news and all associated should be commended. The only thing I would add is that if there was a regional buffer (recognition) built in to these opportunites then the offering would be even more valuable. In other words, if a small business operator was in the immediate region of where the producvt or sevice was required then a buffer / allowance could be made that recognised the local business operator.
It would then become the quickest way of getting funds flowing into Regional Australia AND not in the form of grants! What a boost to the struggling small businesses in the regions!!

As Victoria's Small Business Commissioner (VSBC), I support this small business procurement initiative. I note this is a Commonwealth proposal and I note the comments from Mark Brennan, Australian Small Business Commissioner, which support the same. In general terms, I support the ASBC comments.

In Victoria, the purpose of my my Office under the Small Business Commissioner Act 2003 (Vic) is to enhance a competitive and fair operating environment for small business in Victoria. If the proposed contracts make it easier for business to contract with Commonwealth departments, I support this important initiative.

Colour-coding contracts so that each party is more aware of their respective rights and obligations is a worthwhile development. Traditionally, my Office has found that many disputes - with government and other businesses - are caused by parties, in particular, small businesses, not being aware of what they're committing to by signing a contract. Colour-coding contracts, to assist in better informing and educating parties about their legal obligations, should be supported.

Last updated: 12 August 2016