The AEC may engage consultants under s.35(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and may determine the terms and conditions of engagement of those consultants under s.35(4) of that Act. Consultants may also be engaged in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.
For reporting purposes, the AEC takes into account the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Requirements for annual reports, which define a 'consultant' as an individual, partnership or corporation engaged to provide professional, independent and expert advice or services. The AEC also considers:
If the answer to both questions is 'yes', the AEC categorises the arrangement as a consultancy.
When engaging consultants for work with a value up to $79 999, the AEC generally seeks quotes from prospective consultants according to the AEC policy and procedures for procurement.
If the expected value of the consultancy is $80 000 or more, AEC staff are required to follow the policy and procedures in the Guidance on the Mandatory Procurement Procedures – January 2005 (Financial Management Guidance No. 13).
Consultants can only be engaged by senior management in accordance with the AEC Financial Delegations Schedule.
The main purposes for which the AEC engaged consultants in 2010–11 were:
Table 55 provides details of consultancy contracts let by the AEC during 2010–11.
|Consultant||Description||Price including GST ($)||Selection processa||Reasonb|
|Vanessa Johanson Alpern||Curriculum writing services for BRIDGE training modules||10 000||Direct||B|
|Corporate Success Group||Investigative services||19 998||Open||B|
|Australian Bureau of Statistics||Enrolment projections||21 190||Direct||B|
|Julie Baker-Smith & Associates Pty Ltd||Investigative services||22 000||Open||C|
|WJG & Associates Pty Ltd||Handling of pre-poll votes for the 2010 federal election||22 000||Direct||C|
|Spatial Vision||Mapping for the South Australian redistribution||58 470||Open||B|
|IV & V Australia Pty Ltd||NATA-accredited testing of software||84 722||Open||B|
GST = goods and services tax, BRIDGE = Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections, NATA = National Association of Testing Authorities.
a Explanation of selection process terms drawn from the Commonwealth procurement guidelines (December 2008)
A procurement procedure in which a request for tender is published inviting all businesses that satisfy the conditions for participation to submit tenders. Public tenders are generally sought through the Australian Government AusTender Internet site.
A procurement procedure in which the procuring agency selects which potential suppliers are invited to submit tenders. This procurement process may only be used under certain defined circumstances.
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 their special ability to supply the goods and/or services sought.
An arrangement under which 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.
b Justification for decision to use consultancy:
A – skills currently unavailable within agency
B – need for specialised or professional skills
C – need for independent research or assessment.