Contracts and Entity Agreements

​​Principles

1. Entities must report contracts and amendments on AusTender within 42 days of entering into (or amending) a contract if they are valued at or above the reporting threshold.

2. For the purposes of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs), contracts include:

  • a Commonwealth contract;
  • an entity agreement (which may be in the form of a memorandum of understanding); and
  • a standing offer arrangement.

3. Contract Notices (CN) on AusTender must not disclose information that would contravene legislative requirements, such as those set out in the Privacy Act 1988 or information that may pose a risk to national security.

4. An Accountable Authority may direct in writing that contract details are not to be reported on AusTender if they would be subject to an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and the Accountable Authority considers that the information is genuinely sensitive and harm is likely to be caused by its disclosure.

Contracts that have been exempted by the Accountable Authority from being reported on AusTender may still need to be documented in annual reports (refer Requirements for Departmental Annual Reports).

5. Standing offers are reported in the standing offer arrangements section of AusTender. Where deeds of standing offer are used to establish a panel, those deeds are collectively reported on AusTender as a standing offer arrangement. Entities are not required to report a value against standing offers reported in AusTender.

6. Contracts valued at or above the reporting threshold, formed under a standing offer arrangement, are to be reported in the CN section on AusTender. Each contract reported under a standing offer arrangement is to reference the Standing Offer Notice identification (SON ID) which is issued by AusTender at the time the standing offer is reported.

7. Entities are to report individual credit card transactions, invoices and purchase orders which are valued at or above the relevant reporting threshold if they have not been previously reported in an overarching contract.

8. Entities are not required to report on AusTender contracts resulting from goods or services procured and used overseas, though they may choose to do so.

Practice

1. Only contracts for the procurement of goods or services are to be reported in AusTender.

2. Contract information to be reported on AusTender includes (but is not limited to):

  • entity details;
  • supplier details; and
  • contract details
    • contract value,
    • description,
    • start and end dates,
    • procurement method,
    • consultancy information (non-corporate Commonwealth entities only),
    • confidentiality information (non-corporate Commonwealth entities only).

3. For the purposes of AusTender reporting the 42 day period begins from the date the contract is entered into. This is the date when the contract is signed or the date of the first provision of goods or services, whichever comes first. If there is no written contract, the date of the first provision of goods or services should be used. In the case of a contract (including an SON) which has two or more suppliers and each supplier is required to sign that contract, the date of commencement of the 42 day period is the date when the last signatory has signed that contract, or the date of the first provision of goods or services, whichever comes first.

Arrangements NOT to be Reported

4. Only details of contracts for the procurement of goods or services are to be reported in AusTender. The following arrangements must not be reported on AusTender:

  • grants (whether in the form of a contract or conditional gift);
  • invoices (including monthly accounts), purchase orders or other payments which are payable under a contract which has previously been reported;
  • payments or transfers of funds which are not in return for goods or services (and are therefore not a procurement);
  • contracts for the sale or disposal of public goods or assets (such as a contract arising from the sale of Commonwealth land by tender);
  • tax payments made to the Australian Taxation Office, including fringe benefits tax, that are not part of a payment made in exchange for goods or services;
  • contracts for investment or divestment;
  • statutory appointments, appointments made by a Minister using the executive power (for example, the appointment of a person to an advisory board), or payments to employees;
  • refunds to customers for a prior payment made for goods or services;
  • payments to credit card providers against amounts due.

Contract Details

5. Contract Value: For each contract reported, the entity must report the total value of the contract (including GST where applicable). This does not take into account any options, extensions, renewals, or other mechanisms that may be exercised at a future date to increase the value of the contract.

  • In the case of a contract which spans several years, the total value of the contract is reported, not the value on a per-annum basis.
  • In the case of a contract where part of the value is a trade-in, the total value must be reported. The fact that some of the contract value will be met through a trade-in on an existing asset is not relevant for reporting purposes.
  • The value of individual invoices or purchase orders should not be reported on AusTender unless they reflect the full value of a contract that has not been previously reported.

6. Start and End Dates: Entities should report the start date identified in the contract. If there is no start date identified, entities should report the date the contract is signed. If there is no written contract, the date of the first provision of goods or services under the contract should be reported.

  • For the purpose of reporting on AusTender, the end date is the date that performance of the contract is expected to be completed. It does not take into account any options, extensions, renewals, or other mechanisms that may be exercised at a future date to extend the period of the contract. The date does not take into account possible late performance or breach of contract.
  • In cases where the end date is not specified, entities will need to estimate the expected date of receipt of the final instalment of goods or services.

7. Procurement Method: When reporting the procurement method for a contract, officials must base their decision on the CPRs definition and procedural requirements for Open Tender or Limited tender. If reporting contracts made under a standing offer arrangement, officials should have regard to:

  • When conducting a limited tender, valued at or above the relevant threshold, the relevant exemption or limited tender condition must also be reported on AusTender.
  • for reporting a purchase made under a panel arrangement, officials should report the contract against the procurement method used to establish the panel (generally open tender) and not 'Limited tender' on the basis that only one or a few quotes were sought from the panel.

8. Values:Entities must only report amendments which are valued at or above the reporting threshold. Amendments include options, extensions or renewals. Further information is provided in the AusTender Agency User Guide. Entities are not required to report amendments valued under the relevant reporting threshold. This includes instances of multiple amendments, individually valued under the relevant reporting threshold that cumulatively add up to or above the relevant reporting threshold. For example, if an entity enters into a contract for $20,000 and over the next year the entity makes three amendments of $4,000 each, the entity is not required to report those amendments, even though they add up to an amount that meets the relevant reporting threshold.

9. Standing Offer Arrangements: Entities are required to report amendments to standing offer arrangements, forexample when entities or suppliers are added to a standing offer arrangement or when an extension option is exercised.

10. Other Details: Entities are encouraged to use their discretion to determine whether other changes in contract details will be of sufficient interest to stakeholders to warrant amendment. For example, an entity may wish to update supplier information to reflect a change of name or merger.

Reporting Cooperative Procurement

11. Reporting of cooperative procurement is based on the contractual arrangement. Where more than one entity is a signatory to a contract, the contract value reported on AusTender by each entity should reflect each entity's commitment under the contract, if the value of the entity's commitment meets the relevant reporting threshold. Each entity should not report the cumulative total value of the contract. For example, if five entities sign a contract for equal services under a contract with a value of $100,000, each entity would report the amount of its commitment ($20,000 in this example). If the value of one entity's commitment did not meet the relevant reporting threshold (for example $8,000), there would be no requirement for that entity to report their portion of the contract.

12. Where an entity has entered into a standing offer arrangement that is available for access by other entities, the entity which established the standing offer is the only entity which should report the standing offer arrangement on AusTender. The standing offer notice (SON) should include, where known, a list of participating entities. Entities not listed on the original notice should be added to the SON when they are approved to access the arrangement. Only entities listed on the standing offer arrangement can report contract notices against the SON where the contract meets the relevant reporting threshold. All listed participating entities are to reference the relevant SON ID when reporting related contracts.

Reporting Pass Through Costs

13. 'Pass Through' costs include payments for outgoings (such as rent), which are made by an entity through a third party. Generally, the third party (intermediary) submits an invoice to the entity for the amounts owed by the entity to a supplier. The entity transfers funds into an approved account that the intermediary can draw on when payments are due to the supplier.

14. As a general rule, entities should report on AusTender the total fees payable to the intermediary (for management services and/or subcontracted works) and separately report pass through costs paid through the intermediary to supplier(s) where valued above the relevant AusTender reporting threshold. Should a contract be established that is not facilitated by an intermediary, it should be reported separate from these arrangements.

15. An intermediary may enter into an agreement with a supplier on an entity's behalf through third party procurement (as distinct from payments being facilitated by a third party). Where possible, entities should separately report the supplier contract as a separate notice to the contract with the third party. This will ensure other potential suppliers are aware of the outcomes of entity procurement activities, irrespective of the approach to conducting the procurement, and will ensure ongoing transparency of entity practices.

16. To avoid double reporting and consistent with paragraph five of this guidance, where a contract has previously been reported on AusTender, payments made under that contract through an intermediary should not separately be reported.

17. There are two reporting models that entities may choose from when reporting pass through costs. Reporting in line with Model A may be more appropriate when arrangements with the intermediary and suppliers have already been established or when the intermediary's role centres on managing arrangements established by the entity. Reporting in line with Model B may be more appropriate when the intermediary is responsible for managing and establishing arrangements on the entity's behalf.

Model A: Create:

1. a Contract Notice (CN) (referencing the AusTender Approach to Market Identifier (ATM ID) where available) for the total value of the intermediary's services; and

2. a series of contract notices (each referencing the relevant AusTender ATM ID where available) for the total value of pass through costs payable under each contract (or each pass through where appropriate).

Contracts and Entity Agreements Model A

Model B: Create:

1. a standing offer notice (referencing the AusTender ATM ID where available);

2. a contract notice (linked to the Standing Offer Notice (SON)) for the total value of the intermediary's services only; and

3. a series of contract notices (linked to the SON) for:

(a). the total value of pass through costs;
(b). the estimated value of all pass through costs, where there are contingent expenses; or
(c). each pass through where appropriate.

Contracts and Entity Agreements Model B


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