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 an identified 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.
Before 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 Rules (CPRs) 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. Commonwealth tenders are published on the Australian Government AusTender website.
- Prequalified tender — publishing an approach to market inviting submissions from all potential suppliers on:
- a shortlist of potential suppliers that responded to an initial open approach to market on AusTender;
- a list of potential suppliers selected from a multi-use list established through an open approach to market; or
- a list of all potential suppliers that have been granted a specific licence or that comply with a legal requirement, where the licence or compliance with the legal requirement is essential to the conduct of the procurement.
- Limited tender — 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 required.
- 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 requested from suppliers that have prequalified 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 predetermined length of time, usually at a prearranged price.
- Multi-Use List — a list of prequalified potential suppliers of nominated goods and/or services, who have satisfied the conditions for inclusion. A multi-use list is a procurement tool available under the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and is intended for use in more than one procurement process.
During 2013-14, 70 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $1,659,941.46. In addition, 11 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2013-14 year, involving total actual expenditure of $42,757. 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.