Annual Report 2014–15

5Managing resources and assets

Procurement

The AEC’s focus has been on improving procurement processes and practices in preparation for the next federal electoral event. In 2014–15, the Commercial Law and Procurement Section coordinated procurement planning for key election services to ensure national consistency and implemented a contract management framework.

Overview

Procurement within the AEC consists of processes and procedures to ensure purchasing represents best value for money and is conducted in a transparent and accountable manner.

In 2014–15 the AEC continued to improve these processes through the use of the Procurement and Contract Management Register which records all procurements:

  • valued at $10 000 and over
  • that involve election-related services
  • where intellectual property is created
  • where a consultancy is engaged
  • that present a high risk for the AEC.

This information feeds into the monthly reports provided to the ELT on new procurements and expiring contracts.

In accordance with external reporting obligations, the AEC also publishes an Annual Procurement Plan and contractual arrangements on AusTender.

Purchasing

Procurement procedures, policy and planning

The AEC’s procurement procedures and related templates provide AEC employees with guidance on how to conduct procurements in accordance with the Commonwealth procurement and financial framework.

Procurement and contract management register

The Procurement and Contract Management Register is used to streamline procurement and contract management processes and enhance quality assurance and compliance with the relevant Commonwealth framework, including reporting obligations.

Panel and multi-use list

Panels and multi-use lists provide the AEC with an efficient process for achieving the best value for money when purchasing goods or services.

Tenders

There were 13 open tender requests published electronically on AusTender in 2014–15.

Grants

The AEC did not administer any discretionary grant programs in 2014–15.

Sustainability principles

In accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and Policy, the AEC adheres to its responsibility to be efficient, effective, economical, ethical and sustainable. The AEC’s procurement policy acknowledges ‘sustainability’ as a capacity for development that can be sustained into the future, such as the promotion of reduced energy consumption and minimising waste.

Consultancies

Engaging consultants

The AEC’s procurement procedures, which include guidance on consultancies are supported by a range of best practice guides and resources such as the Procurement and Contract Management Register, contract management support materials (i.e. a contract management plan template and checklist) and online procurement and contract management training.

The AEC may engage consultants under section 35(2) of the Electoral Act and determine the terms and conditions of engagement of those consultants under section 35(4) of that Act. In 2014–15, consultants could also be engaged in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

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 to work with a value up to $79 999, the AEC generally seeks quotes from prospective consultants according to the AEC procurement procedures. If the expected value of the consultancy is $80 000 or more, AEC staff follow policy and procedures outlined in the Commonwealth Procurements Rules (July 2014).

Consultancy use

During 2014–15, the AEC’s new consultancy contracts involved total actual expenditure of $2 568 692 (GST inclusive).

There were 35 new consultancies with a contract value of $10 000 (GST inclusive) or more during 2014–15. The total actual expenditure on consultancy contracts increased by $1 148 345, compared to 2013–14. The increased expenditure can be attributed to the AEC implementing a number of strategic measures including revised election planning, assurance and governance frameworks and measures to facilitate cultural change.

The AEC engaged consultants for the following purposes:

  • business intelligence consulting services
  • internal audits
  • project management
  • information technology consultation services
  • education and training services
  • strategic planning consultation services
  • risk management consultation services
  • accounting services
  • human resource services
  • business administration services
  • management advisory services.

There were no ongoing consultancy contracts or related ongoing expenditure.

Table 17 contains details of the AEC consultancy contracts to the value of $10 000 or more. Further information on the value of AEC contracts and consultancies is available on AusTender.

Consultancy contracts table

Table 17: Consultancy contracts to the value of $10 000 or more during 2014–15
Consultant Description Selection processa Contract price incl GST ($)

Category A: Specialised or professional skills

Altis Consulting Pty Ltd

Assessment of the current state of AEC Business Intelligence

Open

35 640

Bendelta Pty Ltd

Design and Development of a Performance Coaching Model and associated ‘Creating Coaching Leaders’ Programs

Open

304 105

Bull & Bear Special Assignments

Consultant services to conduct staff facilitation services

Limited

20 000

Citrix Systems Asia Pacific Pty Ltd

Citrix XenDesktop Design Review Assistance Project

Limited

24 000

Cordelta Pty Ltd

Provision of Business Strategy Development Services

Open

137 500

Cordelta Pty Ltd

Provision of Development Services for the Establishment of Enterprise Architecture Principles in the AEC

Open

133 694

Cordelta Pty Ltd

IT strategy development services

Open

163 020

David John Williams

Consultancy services

Open

36 300

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Programme/Project Management Services

Open

78 810

Lismar Trust & Others (trading as Duesbury Nexia)

Superannuation and taxation advice

Open

20 000

Lismar Trust & Others (trading as Duesbury Nexia)

Superannuation and taxation advice

Open

25 476

Lyn Beasley

Review of National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC) program

Limited

10 200

McGrathNicol

Internal Audit – Review of Fraud Control

Open

25 000

McGrathNicol

AEC Assurance Policy

Open

32 500

Noetic Solutions Pty Limited

Election planning

Limited

294 542

Noetic Solutions Pty Limited

Election Planning

Open

156 410

PricewaterhouseCoopers

2015/16 Internal Audit Plan

Open

20 000

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Internal Audit – Review of Privacy, Security and Compliance audit

Open

20 000

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Internal Audit – Review of McLeod recommendations FAD

Open

25 000

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Internal Audit: AEC Assurance Policy

Open

30 100

PricewaterhouseCoopers

2014–15 Internal Audit Plan – Fixed fee services

Open

17 000

PricewaterhouseCoopers

2014–15 Internal Audit Plan – Implementation of the Keelty Report Recommendations

Open

31 295

PricewaterhouseCoopers

2014–15 Internal Audit Plan – Risk Management Framework Maturity

Open

25 000

PricewaterhouseCoopers

2014–15 Internal Audit Plan – Review of Election Evaluation

Open

20 000

PricewaterhouseCoopers

2014–15 Internal Audit Plan – Review of People Services Systems Replacement (PSSR) project

Open

15 000

Protiviti Pty Ltd

Risk Consultancy

Open

62 920

RSB4STARS Industries Pty Ltd

General consultancy – workforce planning

Open

132 990

SAVV-E PTY LTD

Capability Pathway and Governance Framework

Limited

282 800

Total Decision Support Pty Ltd

Rebasing of costs for the Joint Roll Arrangements – Update of Cost Models

Open

34 850

Total Decision Support Pty Ltd

Rebasing of costs for the Joint Roll Arrangements – Update of Cost Models

Open

14 630

Total Decision Support Pty Ltd

Review of PSB Business Services and AEC leave records

Limited

116 325

Category B: Independent research or assessment

Business Strategy Review Pty Limited

Strategy for procurement of future fixed voice services

Open

113 620

Kurtis Paige Initiatives

Review Recruitment and Pay model for temporary election staff

Open

52 800

The Trustee for Birdanco Practice Trust

Consultancy Services for Recruitment project

Open

18 500

The Trustee for Birdanco Practice Trust

Consultancy services for recruitment project

Open

38 665

Total

2 568 692

  1. See Commonwealth Procurement Rules (1 July 2014) for an explanation of the procurement process.

GST = Goods and services tax.

FAD = Funding and disclosure.

SME procurement

The AEC acknowledges Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Finance, as a trading business with fewer than 200 full-time employees that operates independently of any parent organisation for taxation arrangements.

The AEC’s procurement procedures and practices, including payment terms, support the requirements under paragraph 5.4 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. This includes the implementation of Small Business Engagement Principles such as communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in accessible formats.

Statistics for 2013–14 which illustrate SME participation in the Australian Government procurement market are available on the Department of Finance’s website.

List of initiatives

In the AEC, the overall SME participation rate for 2013–2014 was 34.4 per cent of contracts by value and 64 per cent by number.

The AEC recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to small business are available on the Treasury’s website.

Contractual arrangements

ANAO access clauses

During 2014–15, all AEC contracts in excess of $100 000 (GST inclusive) included provisions for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Exempt contracts

During 2014–15, 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.