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Frequently Asked Questions - Agencies

How does the panel work?

The APSC's Learning and Development Panel was set up through an open approach to market. Tenderers who demonstrated the highest level of capability and ability in the specific training or service area were offered membership of a panel(s). The Commission entered into Deeds of Standing Offer with successful tenderers on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia. The deeds outline the basis on which the agreed services are provided under the panel and contain information such as maximum fees chargeable and approved services.

Agencies can access any of the panel suppliers through Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P) function on the Austender website. Services provided under the panel arrangements are delivered through an Order for Services (OFS) that forms the actual contract for specific work (training or service).

Speak to your agency's procurement area to gain access to DS4P.

What are the benefits to my agency in using the panel?

Agencies can access the Learning and Development Panel with the assurance that the procurement process is consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and other relevant legislation and policy frameworks.

  • The panel provides value for money - the core principle underpinning Australian Government procurement.
  • Purchasing through the panels simplifies the procurement process with many contractual issues having already been resolved, enabling agencies to purchase with confidence and with reduced risk.
  • Procurement through the panel satisfies the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, including procurements below and above the $80,000 threshold as the panels were set up via an open approach to the market.
  • Suppliers have been quality assured in the evaluation and selection process.

Who can use the panel?

The panels can be utilised by APS agencies through the Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P) function on the Austender website..

How do I know which panel suppliers to approach for my Request for Quotation (RFQ)?

To establish a high degree of specialisation and expertise in their deliverables under the Learning and Development Panel, suppliers have been approved to deliver in certain categories of training/services. Suppliers, generally cannot deliver ALL training/services under the panel.

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Can I specify the panel supplier I want to use if I know they are on the panel?

You may approach a single panel supplier under the panel arrangement as long as that supplier is approved to deliver the type of service you are requiring. However, your agency's Accountability Authority Instructions (AAIs) may have specific requirements that you need to meet. If you are unsure, we suggest that you consult your agency's procurement area for advice.

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Do I have to procure through the panel if I wish to contract with one of the suppliers from the panel?

It is not mandatory to procure through the Learning and Development panel to receive the services of a specific panel supplier. However, such a purchase would not be under the legal conditions set out in the panel arrangement and agencies should ensure that any such purchase conforms with Commonwealth Procurement Rules and their own agency Accountability Authority Instructions. You may wish to obtain advice from your agency's procurement area before proceeding with a direct procurement of this nature.

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Should I purchase through the panel or conduct an open tender?

There are advantages to either approach. Purchasing through a panel means that it is not necessary to conduct an open tender regardless of the size of the contract value. This can represent a substantial saving to an agency in terms of cost and resources. On the other hand, an open tender means that an agency can test the entire market for the best solution and price.

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What are the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) and how do they differ from Accountability Authority Instructions (AAIs)?

Both the CPR s and AAIs must be adhered to in relation to procurement where they apply to your agency.

The CPR s came into effect from the 1 July 2012, replacing the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs). The CPR s establish the core procurement policy framework and articulate the Commonwealth government's expectations for fair and ethical procurement. To download a copy of the CPR s, please use the following link: http://www.finance.gov.au/procurement/docs/cpr_commonwealth_procurement_rules_july_2012.pdf.

The AAIs are executive instructions issued by the head of your agency. These instructions cover various aspects of the business your agency undertakes, and will include procurement requirements specific to your agency. They cannot contradict the CPR s, however they can lay down expectations that are more stringent than the CPR s. While the Commission has ensured that the panel process adheres to the CPR s, you must ensure that any contractual arrangements also adhere to your own agency's AAIs . Your contract/procurement area will help you with this and we suggest that you contact them prior to negotiating contracts with panel suppliers.

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Can the training courses listed on the Commission's public calendar be delivered in-house?

In most cases, yes. When you have a small to large group of people interested in attending a training course scheduled on the Commission's public program calendar, contact the Centre for Leadership and Learning at L&Dpanelmangement@ apsc.gov.au and we will provide you with the information required to procure the services of the relevant panel supplier to deliver the program in your agency. The training courses can be tailored to include your agency's specific needs. Costs can be reduced as you will be paying the panel supplier's daily rate rather than a per participant rate.

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Can I access panel suppliers to deliver the APS Core Skills programs?

Most core skills programs can be delivered by a panel supplier. The Commission has compiled a list of suppliers from the Learning and Development Panel that have been successfully assessed against identified criteria in relation to their capacity to deliver and contextualise APS Core Skills programs. This list is available on Govdex and will be of considerable assistance in sourcing quality facilitation services at a reasonable price from the panel.

For access to Govdex, please contact coreskills [at] apsc.gov.au.

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Do you have further questions?

Contact the Centre for Leadership and Learning for further information:

Telephone: +61 (0)2 6202 3794
Email: L&Dpanelmanagement @apsc.gov.au

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