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Purchasing

Purchasing is undertaken in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Guidance is provided to staff through the Commission's purchasing guide and accountable authority instructions. The Commission has a framework for managing the risks inherent in procurement activities, as well as operational guidelines to support staff in assessing the risks associated with their projects. The Commission published its procurement plan for 2015–16 on the AusTender website.

Consultants

The Commission engages consultancy services in circumstances when particular expertise is not available internally or when independent advice is required. Decisions to engage consultants are made in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and other internal policies.

During 2015–16, the Commission entered into 22 new consultancy contracts involving total expenditure of $0.3 million (2014–15: 38 contracts totalling $0.5 million). Four ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2015–16, involving total actual expenditure of $0.3 million (2014–15: 10 contracts totalling $0.5 million).

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies for 2015–16 is available through the AusTender website, www.tenders.gov.au. The Commission's standard-form contracts for services and consultancies provide for access by the Auditor-General.

Table 7: Expenditure on consultancy contracts, 2012–13 to 2015–16
Year Number of new consultancies let Number of ongoing consultancy contracts that were active Total actual expenditure on new consultancy contracts
($'000)
Total actual expenditure on ongoing consultancy contracts that were active
($'000)
Total actual expenditure on consultancy contracts
($'000)
2012–13 42 10 870 491 1,361
2013–14 34 17 521 389 910
2014–15 38 10 460 524 984
2015–16 22 4 315 305 620

Small business procurement

The Commission supports small business participation in the Australian Government procurement market. Participation statistics for small and medium enterprises and small enterprises for 2015–16 are available on the Department of Finance website.

The Commission has adopted the following practices to support procurement from small and medium enterprises:

  • the use of the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000
  • the use of payment cards for purchases of up to $10,000 to facilitate on-time payment.

Exempt contracts

The Commissioner may direct that contract details not be reported on the AusTender website if they are subject to an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, or the Commissioner considers that the information is genuinely sensitive and harm is likely to be caused by its disclosure. The Commission did not issue any exemptions during 2015–16.