The Treasury engages consultants where specialist skills are required that are not available in-house or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or innovative solutions to assist in the Treasury’s decision making.
Prior to engaging consultants, the Treasury takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the FMA Act and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs) and relevant internal policies.
Providers of consultancy services are selected through the following methods:
- Open tender — a procurement procedure which publishes a request for tender, inviting all businesses that satisfy the conditions for participation to submit tenders. Public tenders are generally sought from the Australian Government AusTender website.
- Select tender — a procurement procedure which allows the procuring agency to select potential suppliers and invite them to submit tenders (including through multi use lists). This process may only be used in certain defined circumstances.
- Direct sourcing — a form of restricted tendering, available only under certain defined circumstances, with a single potential supplier or suppliers being invited to bid because of their unique expertise and/or special ability to supply the goods and/or services sought.
- Panel — an arrangement whereby a number of suppliers, initially selected through an open tender process, may each supply property or services to an agency as specified in the panel arrangements. Quotes are sought from suppliers that have pre-qualified on the agency panels to supply to the Government. This category includes standing offers and supplier panels where the supply of goods and services may be provided for a pre-determined length of time, usually at a pre-arranged price.
During 2011-12, 101 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $5,196,273. In addition, 44 on-going consultancy contracts were active during the 2011-12 year, involving total actual expenditure of $3,202,791. These amounts include GST.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website www.tenders.gov.au.