Managing resources and assets
Procurement and contractual arrangements
In 2013–14 the AEC continued to improve procurement processes and prepare for the introduction of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
Improving procurement practices
In January 2014, the AEC implemented a new Procurement and Contract Management Register to streamline procurement processes and enhance quality assurance and compliance with the Commonwealth’s financial framework and reporting obligations.
These changes were supported by the delivery of face-to-face and online procurement and contract management training to help AEC staff to meet their procurement obligations and better understand value for money.
The AEC made two open tender requests, which were published electronically in AusTender in 2013–14.
The AEC did not administer any discretionary grant programmes in 2013–14.
During 2013–14, the AEC’s new consultancy contracts involved total actual expenditure of $1 420 347 (GST inclusive).
There were 30 new consultancies with a value of $10 000 (GST inclusive) or more during 2013–14. The total actual expenditure on consultancy contracts increased by $262 358, or 25.5 per cent, compared with 2012–13. Preparation for and review of two federal elections and the need to ensure a rapid and effective response to Mr Mick Keelty’s report, Inquiry into the 2013 WA Senate Election (Keelty Report) contributed to the increase in consultancy contracts.
The AEC engaged consultants to deliver:
- market research
- internal audits
- information technology consultation services
- business intelligence consulting services
- strategic planning consultation services
- corporate objectives or policy development
- management advisory services
- human resources services
- feasibility studies or screening of project ideas
- business administration services.
There were no ongoing consultancy contracts or related ongoing expenditure.
The AEC may engage consultants under section 35(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and determine the terms and conditions of engagement of those consultants under section 35(4) of that Act. In 2013–14, consultants could also be engaged in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.
The AEC categorises arrangements as consultancies when:
- the services involve the development of an intellectual output that assists with agency decision making
- the output reflects the independent views of the service provider.
When engaging consultants for work with a value up to $79 999, the AEC generally seeks quotes from prospective consultants according to the AEC procurement policy and procedures. If the expected value of the consultancy is $80 000 or more, AEC staff follow policy and procedures outlined in the Department of Finance Commonwealth Procurement Rules – 1 July 2012.
Senior managers engage consultants in accordance with the AEC Financial Delegations Schedule.
Australian National Audit Office access clauses
During 2013–14, all AEC contracts in excess of $100 000 (GST inclusive) included provisions for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.
During 2013–14, no contract or standing offer in excess of $10 000 (GST inclusive) was exempted from publication on AusTender on the basis that it would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.