Each agency is required to establish a Procurement Review Committee for the purposes of reviewing procurement valued at $100 000 and over (excluding GST). The review must occur prior to any advice being provided to suppliers on the outcome of the procurement process and before negotiations are entered into with the preferred supplier and/or the contract is awarded.The purpose of the review is to ensure that procurement is undertaken in accordance with the Government's procurement policies and principles.
Establishment and membership of the Committee
The Treasurer's Instructions require each agency to establish a Procurement Review Committee. The membership of the Committee is a matter for the Head of Agency. However, it is recommended that the Committee consist of at least three members being:
- a Chairperson, to be nominated by the Head of Agency;
- at least two members, experienced in government procurement processes (but not part of the procurement evaluation team for the procurement being reviewed); and
- a Secretary to the Committee.
Some agencies may wish to increase the membership of their Procurement Review Committee, and have a panel type arrangement, to allow for the absence of some members or for a situation where a member may be involved in a particular procurement.
Role of the Committee
The Committee's primary role is to review the procurement process to ensure that fair and equitable processes have been followed; and that the principles and mandatory policies outlined in the Treasurer's Instructions and, if appropriate, the Free Trade Agreements Guideline, have been adhered to.
This includes processes that result from an exemption approved by the Secretary of Treasury or following approval to procure by way of a direct/limited submission sourcing procurement process.
The Committee must review the procurement prior to any advice being provided to suppliers on the outcome of the procurement process and before negotiations are entered into with the preferred supplier or the contract is awarded.
In addition to the matters referred to above, for building and construction (including roads and bridges), the Treasurer's Instruction 1218 details a list of specific matters that the Committee must consider being:
- compliance with procurement guidelines contained in the Procurement Practice Manuals and other guidance material;
- conformity with all documents including site reports, geotechnical reports and addenda;
- value for money that the offer presents including whether the appropriate weighting has been given to the cost component;
- conformity with prequalification levels; and
- any other matter the Committee considers appropriate.
Agencies may extend the role of their Procurement Review Committee beyond that set out in the Treasurer's Instructions. For example, other functions of an agency's Procurement Review Committee could include the approval of the procurement process to be adopted for complex/high cost or high risk procurements; the review of procurement documentation or other procurement processes within the agency or preparing recommendations in relation to procurements pursuant to the Treasurer's Instructions 1114, 1115(2), 1127, 1217 or 1231.
The Committee can also be a focus of procurement data collection within an agency, for example, information on awarded contacts can be collected from the information that is submitted to the Committee and included in the Agency's Annual Report.
Information required for endorsement of procurement and evaluation process
The Committee must be provided with sufficient information to enable it to be satisfied that any process undertaken was in accordance with government procurement principles and practices.
To enable the Committee to undertake a review of any procurement, it will need to consider:
- the procurement and evaluation process adopted;
- the final evaluation report, signed by the evaluation committee;
- critical dates (eg when the contract is to start, when the current contract is due to expire, critical project milestones, expenditure constraints etc);
- any other relevant issues or information, such as a probity adviser's report; and
- a certification by the officer responsible for managing the procurement process, verifying conformity with relevant policies and guidelines.
If the usual tender or quotation process has not been undertaken, evidence of an exemption or approval for direct or limited submission sourcing, should be provided to the Committee.
Use of the tender and quotation process checklists may be of assistance.
Communication of Decision
The decision of the Committee to endorse, or not endorse, the procurement process should be communicated to the chairperson of the evaluation committee and to any other relevant staff. A copy of the Committee's endorsement of the procurement and evaluation process must be provided with the Evaluation Report to the person who is responsible for approving the awarding of any subsequent contracts.
Relevant Government Guidelines and Documents
The Treasurer's Instructions set out the principles, policies and procedures to be observed in government procurement and disposal. In addition to the Treasurer's Instructions, Treasury has issued several publications providing guidance to agencies on mandatory and best practice requirements. Publications to refer to include:
- Probity Guidelines for Procurement;
- International Procurement Obligations;
- How to Assess Value for Money;
- Procurement Practice Manual - Best Practice for the Engagement of Consultants;
- Procurement Practice Manual - Contract Documentation, Delegation and Risk; and
- Guidelines for Tender Evaluation using Weighted Criteria for Building Works and Services.
All these may be accessed here.
Template process checklists are available here.