Using an Existing Panel

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Using an Existing Panel

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This contains conditions that you need to first consider when conducting your procurement.

Value for money must be established for each order under a panel (CPRs 9.12)

This page will guide you through the process.

  • You can follow the process by clicking + to see further detail.
  • Sentences marked with ► denotes an action
  • Notes and text in the blue boxes provide additional information or tips 
  • Click the orange “Why?” Box to see the policy behind this part of the process

Start at Step 1 below and follow the entire process

 

1. Plan your Procurement
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Now that you have identified a panel that is suitable for your requirement, you will need to consider which supplier(s) to approach.

A Standing Offer Arrangement (panel) consists of a Deed of Standing Offer (DoSO) for each supplier under the panel. There may also be a Head Agreement that is applicable to all suppliers. Generally the DoSO offer will be the same for each supplier under the panel.

For procurements against a standing offer arrangement (panel) you may directly approach one or more supplier(s).  Note that you will still need to justify value for money when evaluating a potential supplier’s response.

► Assess if you are going to approach one or more suppliers from the panel. One quote may be sufficient, but you may need more if the market or requirement is unfamiliar to you or if you are unsure of the capabilities of the suppliers.

You will need to define your requirement in a way that can be easily understood by the supplier(s). A standing offer arrangement may have categories of services or a catalogue of goods. 

► Assess which category of services are required or where the goods are specified in a catalogue.

► If required, further define your requirement. Ensure that your requirement is consistent with the category that you have identified. If your requirement is more complex then further information on developing a specification can be found here (CPR 10.9 - 10.13). 

Under a panel there is no requirement regarding the number of potential suppliers you need to approach.

Why?

2. Prepare your RFx Documentation
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When going out to potential suppliers, you must ensure that your approach is consistent and equitable to all potential suppliers.

Most deeds of standing offer (DoSO) will include an RFx template and may set out a process for preparing and sending out the RFx. You MUST follow and use any instructions or templates that are included in the Deed.  If the panel you are using does not have an RFx template then you may choose to draft an email. 

► Complete the RFx template for your requirement. Include the definition of your requirement completed in Step 1: Plan your Procurement. If drafting an email ensure the same information is sent to each supplier and clearly identifies the panel that you wish to use.

RFx is a collective term for request documentation. This may be described as a Request for Quote (RFQ), Request for Proposal (RFP), or some other format in the deed.

Panels are listed on AusTender.

All panels are listed under a standing offer notice (SON). If the panel also has a panel ID then it is managed under the Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P) tool within AusTender.

If your entity is approved to use that panel, documentation can be accessed from DS4P once you register in the system as a government buyer. Otherwise you will need to contact the panel manager via the contact details for any documentation.

Why?

3. Obtain delegate endorsement to the RFx
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Before you approach the market through the standing offer arrangement, you need to gain your delegates agreement that the proposed approach to the procurement is right for this requirement.

► Discuss your procurement with the delegate; agree the need, confirm funding, scope and approach to market details.

► Document in-principle approval to proceed.

Other considerations include:

● expected cost and whether unallocated funds are available

● risk and risk management

● conflicts of Interest (see APSC policy).

Why?

4. Distribute RFx to selected Panel members
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When releasing your RFx to potential suppliers under a panel ensure that your approach is consistent, particularly around release and closing times.

► Distribute the RFx documentation to identified potential suppliers. If the panel is managed under DS4P then you should use the DS4P functionality to publish your RFx (similar to AusTender). If not, seek advice from the panel manager. If you are not using DS4P, distribute the RFx by email.

► If you receive questions from potential suppliers while out to quote, answer them promptly (in writing to all suppliers, without identifying the source of the question).

► If a potential supplier requests an extension of time in order to submit their response, you are not obliged to agree. If you choose to consider granting an extension, it should be based on the following:

» whether genuine and reasonable grounds exist (e.g. not due to the potential supplier‘s disorganisation)
» it must not unfairly disadvantage any other potential suppliers and the extension is applied equally to all potential suppliers
» the request is received within a reasonable period before the closing deadline.

Why?

5. Evaluate responses
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Evaluating supplier responses will determine which supplier presents the best value for money (VFM) to the Commonwealth.

Keep in mind VFM is the consideration of all relevant financial and non-financial costs and benefits of each response.

Ensure that you evaluate the responses against any evaluation criteria identified in the deed or in your RFx documentation.

If only one quote is received:

► evaluate whether the quote meets your requirement and is priced reasonably. This will form the basis of your VFM justification.

If multiple quotes are received consider:

► which quote best meets your requirement (e.g. quality, fit for purpose, delivery times etc.)

► which quote represents the best price relative to their ability to meet your requirements (value for money).

You may want to use the CCS Evaluation Report to guide your process.

While value for money was assessed when establishing the panel, value for money must also be assessed for each subsequent procurement from the panel.

Prices contained in most Deeds of Standing Offer will be maximum capped prices. You must ensure that the prices quoted by suppliers do not exceed these levels however they may be less.

Why?

6. Draft the Official Order
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To contract under a Deed of Standing Offer you will need to draft and execute an official order (sometimes called a work order).

Most Deeds of Standing Offer will include an official order template. If the panel you are using does not have an official order template then you will need to contact the panel manager for advice.

► Draft the official order and ensure that it meets your requirements and is consistent with the supplier's RFx response.

If the panel is managed under DS4P then the official order template will be available online within DS4P, otherwise you will need to contact the panel manager.

Why?

7. Obtain Delegate Approval under PGPA Section 23
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Once you have completed your evaluation and before entering into an agreement, you MUST seek approval under section 23 of the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA  Act).

► Prepare the Section 23 approval minute. Ensure that the evaluation recommendations and draft official order are attached.

► Submit to delegate for approval.

 Notice of Inclusion

Some standing offer arrangements will require an entity to sign a notice of inclusion (NOI) with the supplier so that your entity is covered by the provisions of the deed of standing offer. This only needs to be done once for each standing offer. If you are unsure whether this has been done in your organisation then contact your central procurement area or the panel manager. If in doubt, sign one for your procurement before you sign your official order. 

 When does the official order get signed?

The delegate should not sign the official order at this point. The supplier should sign the order FIRST but not before PGPA Section 23 approval is granted.

 

Why?

8. Formalise the Official Order
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Once relevant approvals have been obtained, you can notify the preferred supplier and proceed to finalise your official order.

► Notify the successful supplier in writing (email may be sufficient) and provide the final official order for signature.

► The supplier is required to return a signed copy of the official order (either physically or electronically).

► The Commonwealth is also required to sign and return a signed copy of the official order to the supplier.

► After the official order has been formalised, enter this procurement into your entity's Financial Management Information System (FMIS). (You may also be required to submit supporting documentation).

► Entities MUST report official orders over $10,000 on AusTender within 42 days of entering into an arrangement (see CPR 7.18).  Your FMIS may facilitate this reporting or you may have to do this manually. Check with your CFO or your central procurement area.

Ensure that you have identified the SON ID for the panel that you used when reporting this procurement.

Ensure that the procurement method reported on AusTender for the panel is also used for reporting this procurement (CPR 9.13).

Why?

9. Advise unsuccessful suppliers
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Once the official order has been formalised in Step 8: Formalise the official order, you MUST notify other suppliers that provided responses. 

► You MUST notify the unsuccessful supplier(s) in writing (an email may be sufficient).

► You MUST offer all suppliers (including the successful supplier) the opportunity to receive feedback on their offer.

Tip: How to conduct a Supplier Debrief

Why?

10. File documents
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You are required to retain all relevant documents in accordance with the Archives Act 1983. Relevant documents include any documents that record decisions and/or approvals, including those with signatures.

► File documents in accordance with your entity's records management practices.

Why?