Frequently Asked Questions - Phase 1: Recruitment and Search Services

Use of the Panel for Commonwealth Entities

Yes. In accordance with section 4.12 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules 2022 (CPRs), as a Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) coordinated procurement, use of the Panel is mandatory for non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCEs) that are subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

Use of the Panel is optional for corporate Commonwealth entities (CCEs) and Commonwealth companies (CCs), including Government Business Enterprises (GBEs), authorised by the Department of Finance (Finance) to use the Panel.

It is expected that NCEs will fully utilise the services under Phase 1 of the People Panel by the 31 March 2023.

Yes. Your Entity will need to complete a Deed of Participation to access the People Panel Phase 1 – Recruitment and Search Services. This Deed of Participation will be forwarded to you once you request the same from Your Entity will not be able to access the Panel or the documentation until the Deed of Participation is completed.

The Panel and RFx functionality is available through Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P). Access to the Panel on DS4P is managed through your Entity’s central procurement area. Where an Entity is unable to access DS4P, that Entity should contact the People Panel Contract Management Team on or the AusTender Help Desk on

About the Panel

Due to the high volume of tenders expected, the procurement process is being completed in three phases. This will help to manage the risks associated with this large and complex procurement, and ensure services under the Panel are operational as quickly as possible.

Each phase is being conducted through a separate open approach to the market.

The anticipated dates for the procurement phases and commencement dates are as follows:

Phase Service Areas Service Launch
1 Recruitment and Board Search Services 19 October 2022
2 Labour Hire Services Est. July 2023
3 Contractor Services Est. December 2023

Each RFT and any notices related to the procurement process will be published on AusTender.

The service categories under Phase 1 of the People Panel include:

  • General Recruitment (APS1 – EL2 and equivalent)
  • Executive Recruitment (SES Band 1 to Band 3 and equivalent and statutory appointments)
  • Expert/Specialised Role Recruitment (personnel who are experts with extensive knowledge, experience, and advanced education in their field and are not generally available in the Australian Public Service)
  • Candidate Sourcing Services (identifying and sourcing highly skilled candidates to fill advertised vacancies at any level)
  • Board Search Services (undertaking searches to fill vacancies for potential board positions).

The People Panel term will be a maximum of 4 years, commencing mid October 2022 and expire 30 September 2026. Finance may, at its sole discretion, extend the Panel for a further period (or periods) of up to four years in total, which may be taken in whole or in part, and in any number or combination of time periods.

The tender was conducted in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. This included a value for money assessment of all respondents on the basis of demonstrated capability, capacity, experience, pricing and compliance with other criteria outlined in the RFT. The Department of Finance was responsible for the procurement process.

“On the Panel” refers to the Suppliers who were selected for one or more Service Categories or Service Subcategories for which they were assessed to provide value for money. 

A Panel Administration Fee is not applicable to the People Panel Phase 1 – Recruitment and Search Services.

The Service Provider rates are ONLY available to Commonwealth entities (NCE’s and any participating CCEs, CCs and GBEs) from the DS4P site. This information is commercial-in-confidence.

Accessing the Panel

Information about enrolled suppliers will be made available on the People Panel website and through AusTender’s Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P). Information includes contact details and supplier matrix with the supplier’s approved service categories.

Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P), is an AusTender functionality that provides government buyers with a standard and streamlined approach to sourcing their goods and services from panels. Buyers can identify panels that match their requirements, search for and shortlist relevant suppliers, access panel documents and templates, and run Request for Quote processes. For more information please see the Panels page of the AusTender website.

NCEs can manage staff access to the People Panel through AusTender’s DS4P by using a Panel Buyer account. Panel users with an existing Panel Buyer account can search for the People Panel using the Standing Offer Notice identifier.

Other entities such as CCEs, CCs and GBEs who wish to access the Panel and gain procurement efficiencies when sourcing Recruitment and Search Services must first notify the People Panel Contract Management team via email: The People Panel Contract Management team will review your request to participate and provide you with further details including a Deed of Participation which establishes the conditions of participation for CCEs, CCs and GBEs. The Deed of Participation standardises the use of the Panel which is essential to maintain the integrity of the Panel and consistency for Service Providers.

Access will be granted once a duly approved and executed Deed of Participation is provided to Finance

The Panel templates such as the Request for Quote (RFQ), Order of Services, Variation to Order of Services, Supplier Matrix and Head Agreement is available on DS4P.


Each Supplier must sign a Deed, agreeing to the Head Agreement to become enrolled for their approved Services offered under each Service Categories.  Any Supplier that does not appear on the Supplier list cannot be invited to respond to an RFQ.   This Supplier List will be updated throughout October and November 2022 as each Deed is executed.

The People Panel website has a Search Tool allowing Agencies to view the Suppliers that are on the Panel, and identifies the Service Subcategories in which they were successful. The Suppliers are also listed on AusTender under SON3897769 and in DS4P.

If there are no suppliers on the People Panel that can meet your needs, you should contact for assistance.

If your requirement is out of scope of the People Panel, you should conduct a procurement in accordance with the Commonwealth’s Resource Management and Procurement Frameworks (the PGPA Act, CPRs and Procurement Connected Policies).

Purchasing services

Entities can procure services from a supplier using the Request for Quote/Proposal/Tender (RFx) functionality on DS4P. To support Panel Buyers navigate DS4P and conduct RFQs through the RFx functionality, eLearning tutorials are available on GovTEAMS. Panel Buyers should contact their entity RFx Manager to access these tutorials, and will require a GovTEAMS Official account. 

If an Entity is seeking recruitment or search services to fill ICT related roles with ongoing or non-ongoing APS personnel, they are able to approach Service Providers enrolled under the various service categories, categories and subcategories of the Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel.

Independent contractors providing ICT or other specialist services are out of scope of Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel.

If seeking General and/or Executive Recruitment Services, an Entity may to choose an ‘end-to-end’ recruitment process, in which the Service Provider provides all services under the ‘Bundled Activities’ for that service category. Pricing for the Bundled Activities are determined by the number of advertised vacancies.

If an ‘end-to-end’ recruitment process is NOT required (i.e. not a Bundled Activity) an Entity may opt to receive only certain activities under the category of Bundled or Unbundled Activities. Pricing for any of these selected activities and or services within an activity are determined by the hourly rate of Service Provider personnel delivering the services, based on the three tiers of Service Provider personnel rates, depending on the experience of the Service Provider’s personnel. The experience requirements are set out in Annex A to Schedule 3 of the head agreement.

Note: When an Entity requests an Unbundled Activity, such as Interview and Verification, it can choose as few or as many of those services within that activity, with the unbundled fee’s applying.

The engagement of contractors (via a 3rd party) is out-of-scope of the Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel. Under Clause 2.1 of the Head Agreement, the scope of this panel is specific to the recruitment of Australian Public Service personnel required by an Entity for ongoing or non-ongoing positions.

Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel facilitates the provisioning of recruitment services to fill advertised vacancy using merit based principles. Delivery of these recruitment services result in a direct employment relationship between the Entity and the candidate (no 3rd party). Clause 2.2.1 outlines the services that are out-of-scope of this Panel, which includes engagement of contractors.

The published rates offered by Service Providers against each subcategory that they are enrolled, represent the “not to be exceeded” rate. Each Entity is encouraged to negotiate with Service Providers as part of the RFQ process to achieve best Value for Money.

Yes (noting the exclusions below). An Entity must have clearly articulated their requirement for services, in relation to the advertised vacancies, to Service Providers under an RFQ and evaluated all responses in accordance with the Division 1 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Preparation of Advertising (Schedule 2, clause 6.4.2 - cannot be provided as a standalone Unbundled Activity, but may be provided together with one or more Bundled Activities or Unbundled Activities.

Candidate Sourcing Services (Schedule 2, clause 7.3) – If a Service Provider is providing General, Executive or Expert/Specialised Role Recruitment Services under service categories 1A, 1B or 2 in respect of one or more vacancies, that same Service Provider must not provide Candidate Sourcing Services in respect to those same vacancies.

The People Panel Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services relates to advertised vacancies and merit based recruitment activities. If the request for CVs is part of a recruitment process for advertised vacancies and the request is made via an RFQ under Service Category 3 – Candidate Sourcing, then the request for CV’s is in scope to this Phase 1 Panel.

If the Department made an unsolicited approach to Service Providers asking just for CVs, then any such request is out-of-scope of the Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel.

Panels impacted by services under Phase1

Existing arrangements that are in scope of Phase 1 of the Panel should be transitioned once the People Panel is operational. Any and all services available under Phase 1 of the People Panel should be fully transitioned by 31 March 2023.

You should manage termination, reduction of services, or transition to use the People Panel in consultation with your suppliers, after having obtained legal advice.

Managers of an existing panels that will be impacted by the implementation of the People Panel will be responsible for notifying suppliers. All questions regarding the People Panel, not already in this FAQ should be directed to

Yes. A work order can generally survive the end date of a Deed of Standing Offer, however, your work order should only be long enough to provide business continuity whilst transitioning to use of the People Panel.

Yes, but only to procure those services that are not in scope of the People Panel.

Current Government Panels that provide services that are in-scope to the People Panel Phase 1 – Recruitment and Search Services must transition. Panel owners have been directed to take steps to cease access to any new in-scope services. Orders may be placed/extended under these Panels only to provide business continuity whilst those services are transitioned to an order executed under the People Panel Phase 1 – Recruitment and Search Services Head Agreement.

It is mandated that NCE’s requiring new services (which fall within the scope of the Panel) use the Phase 1 – Recruitment and Search Services Panel from 19 October 2022. NCE’s are not required to end current work orders/contracts for similar services but should consider if the Phase 1 – Recruitment and Search Services Panel offers better value for money if the current contract runs beyond 31 March 2023.

If an Entity has a current work order under another Panel/contract arrangement (for services that fall within the scope of the Panel) and there is insufficient time to undertake an RFQ/execute a new work order under the Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel, that NCE may execute a short term extension of that current work order to maintain business continuity whilst an RFQ and work order execution is completed under the Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Panel.

A flexibility framework has been applied to Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel and Entities are able to purchase up to five percent of their total expenditure on recruitment and search services in a financial year from service providers not on the Panel. Any expenditure not reported under the Phase 1 - Recruitment and Search Services Panel (SON3897769) post 19 October 2022 will be classified under the Flexibility Framework (5% annual spend) that applies under the Phase 1 Panel.

Exemptions from coordinated procurements require joint approval from the Minister of the requesting NCE and the Finance Minister (Clause 4.12 of the CPRs provides additional details).

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