Year in review

AEC overview

Report on performance: Program 1.1 Electoral roll management

Report on performance: Program 1.2 Election management and support services

Report on performance: Program 1.3 Education and communication

Management and accountability

Financial statements



Appendix H - Consultancies

Updated: 19 October 2011

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:

  • whether the services involve the development of an intellectual output that assists with agency decision making, and
  • whether the output reflects the independent views of the service provider.

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:

  • management advisory services
  • application implementation services
  • accredited software testing
  • mapping for the South Australian redistribution
  • data services for enrolment projections
  • business intelligence consulting services
  • curriculum writing services for the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) training modules.

Table 55 provides details of consultancy contracts let by the AEC during 2010–11.

Table 55 Consultancy contracts to the value of $10 000 or more let during 2010–11
Consultant Description Price including GST ($) 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
Total   238 380    

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)

Open tender:
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.

Select tender
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.

Direct sourcing:
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.