Recruitment and Search Services Panel Overview

About the Panel

Establishment of the Phase 1 Panel

The Phase 1 Panel has been established as a coordinated procurement, also referred to as a Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) arrangement.
The Phase 1 Panel replaces all:

  • Recruitment and Search Services related panels
  • Recruitment and Search Services related categories on existing panels and
  • Non-panel approaches to procuring Recruitment and Search services.

Benefits of the Phase 1 Panel

The Phase 1 Panel provides a range of benefits, including:

  • improved quality, consistency and efficiency of purchasing Recruitment and Search Services with standard terms and conditions and a Performance Management Framework
  • cost savings and efficiencies for Service Providers by reducing administration and tendering efforts
  • reduction in the time and effort for Entities and for Service Providers to establish contracts
  • replacing multiple panel arrangements across Government with a single panel arrangement, and
  • providing standardised rate structures for Entities, noting that Service Providers’ rates vary significantly across other panels for the same types of Services.

Finance will administer the Phase 1 Panel for the benefit of participating Entities, including:

  • managing the Head Agreements between Service Providers and Finance, on behalf of the Commonwealth
  • monitoring the Panel to implement efficiencies for the Commonwealth
  • hosting and maintaining the People Panel webpages on the Finance website which provides guidance and tools to assist Entities using the Panel
  • overseeing a Performance Management Framework for Service Providers and addressing performance issues
  • providing internal reporting and strategic advice to support WoAG decision making, planning and delivery across the Commonwealth
  • reviewing and refreshing the Panel, and
  • monitoring the Flexibility Framework.

Term of the Phase 1 Panel

The Phase 1 Panel commenced on 19 October 2022, and will expire on 30 September 2026. Finance may, at its sole discretion, extend the Phase 1 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.

Finance will determine the process for refreshing the Panel during the Panel term. This may include adding or removing Service Categories or Service Providers to the Panel in one or more Service Categories.

Scope of Services

The Phase 1 Panel will cover the recruitment of APS personnel required by a Commonwealth Entity for ongoing or non-ongoing positions, and search activities relating to board positions.
The service categories for the panel include:

  • General Recruitment (APS to 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)

This Scope of Services table sets out the Services (including Service Categories within the Services).

Access the Phase 1 Panel

NCEs are able to manage panel access for their staff through AusTender’s Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P).

Other entities such as CCEs, CCs and GBEs who wish to access the Phase 1 Panel and gain procurement efficiencies when sourcing Recruitment and Search Services, must first notify the People Panel Contract Management team via email: PeoplePanelContract@finance.gov.au. 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 Phase 1 Panel which is essential to maintain the integrity of the Phase 1 Panel and consistency for Service Providers.

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

Purchase Services

Issuing a Request for Quote

The Panel and RFx functionality is available through Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P), in line with the DS4P mandate. Entities should submit all RFQs for the Panel through DS4P, which provides a simple, streamlined and consistent approach to using the Panel. Where an Entity is unable to access DS4P, that Entity should contact the People Panel Contract Management Team or the AusTender Help Desk (tenders@finance.gov.au). 

In accordance with Clause 9.14 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) to maximise competition, Entities should, where possible, approach multiple Service Providers listed in the relevant Service Category to submit a quote. The number of quotes sought should be commensurate with the scale and scope of the business requirement (refer 4.4e of the CPRs).

The website and DS4P include a search tool to enable Entities to identify potential Service Providers by Service Category prior to approaching them for an RFQ.

Entities should consult with their internal procurement advisors as there may be Entity specific requirements in determining an approach to market or access to DS4P. It is important to document the reasons underpinning the approach to market, including the number of quotes requested and how value for money will be determined. Competition is a key element of the Commonwealth Procurement Framework.

It is strongly encouraged that Entities download the RFQ Form available on DS4P and complete it offline. Once complete, the form should be uploaded into the DS4P RFx functionality and published to the relevant Service Providers.

Further information on completing the RFx process in DS4P is available on the People Panel website or on AusTender.

Entities can approach Service Providers to negotiate rates that are more competitive or represent better value for money in terms of innovative pricing structures. When doing so Entities should treat all Service Providers approached to submit a quote equitably.

When seeking quotations from Service Providers, an Entity should have regard to the reasonable time frames required to prepare and submit a quotation.

Issuing an Order for Services

The Order for Services Form, available through DS4P, should be used for procurements through the People Panel to ensure the terms and conditions of the overarching arrangement apply to the individual procurements. The Form provides a consistent structure to Orders under the Panel and delivers efficiencies for Service Providers in their engagement with Entities.

It is strongly recommended, that only Forms developed for each specific phase of the People Panel and made available on DS4P, should be used.

When issuing an Order, Entities should CC’ or send a copy of the order to PeoplePanelContract@finance.gov.au. This allows Finance to track panel usage and deliver targeted engagement with Service Providers.

When an Entity issues an Order, a separate contract will be formed between the Service Provider and the Entity at the rates provided in the Head Agreement, unless a lower rate has been negotiated, or alternative pricing (e.g. fixed pricing) has been quoted and is stated in the Order for Services. Rates specific to each phase are available in DS4P.

Entities must ensure they only engage Service Providers approved to deliver services under the Service Category the Entity is seeking. If a Service Provider accepts an Order for Services for a Service Category for which it is not listed under the Panel, it will constitute a breach of the Head Agreement by the Service Provider and must be reported to Finance.

Please consult with your Entity’s internal procurement advisers prior to issuing final documents to ensure you are acting in accordance with your Entity’s internal processes and that any approvals required have been obtained.

The Service Provider must not subcontract any aspect of the Ordered Services without the prior written approval of the relevant Entity (such approval may be subject to conditions). Subcontractors specified in an Order are considered to have been approved by the Entity for the purposes of the relevant Contract.

DS4P

To support Panel Buyers, Finance has made available e-Learning Tutorials to give new users the knowledge needed to navigate DS4P, including searching for Panels, downloading documentation, creating an RFx, sending notifications and downloading Service Provider responses.

To access the e-Learning Tutorials, users simply need to register for a GovTEAMS OFFICIAL account. Once registered, users can access the tutorial suite via GovTEAMS - DS4P e-Learning Tutorials.
The suite contains the following:

  1. Search for a Panel
  2. Viewing Panels and Downloading Documents
  3. Choosing Service Providers
  4. Create an RFx
  5. Amend an RFx
  6. Clone an RFx
  7. Resend Broadcast Email
  8. Check Panel Access
  9. Download Service Provider Responses

If have any questions, or would like to suggest improvements to this content, please email tenders@finance.gov.au.

Should you require additional information on procuring from Panels, please visit the Buying for Australian Government website: Procuring from a Panel - Panels 101.

What’s new

Updates to templates and Service Provider information

Text to be updated as required.

Reporting

Service Provider Reporting to Finance

Schedule 4 of the Head Agreement sets out the reporting requirements to Finance.

Service Providers must, at its own expense, provide Finance with reports in accordance with Schedule 4 (Reporting), and any additional reports reasonably requested by Finance. The Service Provider must, if requested by Finance, provide written verification of the accuracy of any reports delivered.

On expiry of this Head Agreement, the Service Provider must continue to provide, at no cost, reports in accordance with Schedule 4 (Reporting) in relation to any existing Contract until all invoices are paid and reported to Finance.

Entities

All NCEs and prescribed CCEs must comply with the Resource Management Guide 423 Procurement Publishing and Reporting Obligations (RMG 423) which sets out the publishing and reporting obligations under the Commonwealth Procurement Framework and other government policies.

Entities are required to report, on AusTender, all contracts entered into under the People Panel that are valued at or above the relevant reporting threshold in the CPRs within 42 days of entering the contract.

The contract details on AusTender must reflect the procurement method used to establish the standing offer and reference the relevant SON ID.

Panel Refresh (FIN-2024-PP01Refresh)

Finance’s Annual Procurement Plan has been updated with an estimated approach to market date to refresh the Recruitment and Search Services panel (Agency Reference: FIN-2024-PP01Refresh). The approach to market and industry consultation paper will be published via AusTender at tenders.gov.au. Interested parties are encouraged to register on AusTender to receive notifications pertaining to the refresh including when the Request for Tender is released.

Finance administers the People Panel for the benefit of participating Entities, including reviewing and refreshing each phase under the People Panel as required. Finance will determine the process for refreshing the People Panel during the relevant term. This may include adding or removing Service Categories or Service Providers to the People Panel in one or more phases or Service Categories.

Approaches from industry to join the People Panel will not be considered outside of a formal refresh process.


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