The AEC published 17 open tender requests and used AusTender to distribute tender documentation for two select tenders during 2008–09. In all cases, tender documentation was made available electronically via AusTender. Tender responses were received either physically or electronically through the AusTender system.
The AEC sought assistance from its legal panel in developing revised tender documentation and contract templates that better reflected recent changes to the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. In addition, the AEC reviewed its procurement policies and procedures to ensure that they were consistent with the guidelines and legislative changes.
The AEC emphasised better procurement planning to present a more accurate projection of future procurements in its annual Procurement Plan.
The National Procurement Section continued to advise AEC officers on how to conduct their procurement activities in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and Finance Regulations.
Training was a major focus of the section in 2008–09. Nineteen procurement-related topics, ranging from simple procurement to complex procurement and contract management, were delivered in 80 training sessions. Training was conducted in the national office and in all states and the Northern Territory. Training modules were delivered by teleconference and visits to state offices.
The AEC has adopted the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Environmental Purchasing Guide and Checklists to take into account relevant energy and environmental issues when making government procurement decisions.
The AEC made seven approaches to the open market in 2008–09 seeking procurement services covered by the Environmental Purchasing Guide and Checklists 2008–09. In these cases, the prospective tenderers were required to address the guide and checklists in their responses. The tenderers' responses to the environmental criteria were used in the evaluation process to select a value-for-money solution.
The seven approaches to the market seeking procurement services were for:
The AEC made 10 other approaches to the market, but those were for services not covered by the Environmental Purchasing Guide and Checklists.
The AEC has implemented several recommendations identified in the 'Green ICT Quick Wins' list developed by the Department of Finance and Deregulation and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. The list sets out overall sustainability and energy cost savings measures for information and communication technology (ICT) in Australian Government agencies.
In addition, the AEC's recent procurement and rationalisation of ICT servers has reduced the volume of packaging, use of hazardous substances and consumption of power.