Procurement Principles and Policy - general process questions

‚ÄčIs there a difference in requirements between goods and services and building and construction/roads and bridges?

Yes. There are a number of differences. Purchasing Overview provides a high level summary of the applicable procurement procedures and requirements that government buyers must adopt for goods and services and building construction/roads and bridges procurements. Detailed information on requirements is contained throughout this website.

What are the procurement thresholds?

The type of good or service and dollar value (threshold) of a purchase determines the purchasing process to be used by an agency.

Purchasing Overview lists the procurement thresholds for goods and services, building and construction, and roads and bridges. Included against each threshold is a summary of the associated mandatory procurement procedure that government buyers must follow.

Treasurer's Instructions 1102 (goods and services) and 1202 (building and construction/roads and bridges) set out the thresholds in relation to free trade agreements, to which Tasmania is a party. Free trade agreements only apply where the procurement has an estimated dollar value equal to or in excess of the thresholds set out in the Instructions. Note: The thresholds are reviewed and updated every two years.

What if the estimated value of the purchase is around the open tender threshold but I'm not certain - Which process should I use: quotation or tender?

Ultimately this decision should be made by your agency based on the market research conducted. However, it is advisable that a tender process be used if you are uncertain of the value and there is a chance that the purchase may be greater than the open tender threshold.

If using a tender process you should refer to the Treasurer's Instructions 1107 (goods and services) and 1207 (building and construction/roads and bridges) for the mandatory requirements and follow the processes outlined on the relevant overview page for goods and services or building and construction.

What if I have asked for quotes but all responses come in at over the open tender threshold level?

Your initial market research should have assisted in determining whether you used a quotation process or a tender process. If the results of your analysis indicated the cost of the procurement would be under the open tender threshold level then you should revisit your market research and determine if there are aspects of the procurement which were not considered, causing the values to be greater than your estimate. If there are aspects that were not taken into account in your research then you should consider conducting an open tender to comply with the Treasurer's Instructions 1107 (goods and services) and 1207 (building and construction/roads and bridges). Alternatively, if you think that the current quotes are overpriced, you may consider approaching more suppliers for a quotation.

What if I ask for three quotations but only receive one?

If the procurement process requires you to seek at least three written quotations, and after doing so less than three submissions are received, you are not obliged to seek further quotations. You should maintain records of all suppliers approached and their responses including documented advice from suppliers who have declined to submit a quote.

What is the difference between a panel and a multi-use list?

A panel is an arrangement under which a number of suppliers may each supply property or services to an agency as specified in the panel contract arrangements. A panel has a finite number of suppliers and operates for a finite period. The panel is re-opened at the conclusion of the established period. A panel usually provides a set or indicative price for the goods or services that can be obtained from it. A panel can be established through an open tender process or through a multi-staged purchasing process. In either case panel members have been selected at the conclusion of a full evaluation process.

A multi-use list, by comparison, is a list of pre-qualified suppliers, intended for use in more than one procurement process. A multi-use list can include an unlimited number of suppliers and suppliers can be added either continuously or annually, it can operate indefinitely and does not make reference to pricing. Suppliers included on the list have satisfied the conditions for participation (ie prequalification).

For more information, refer to the Treasurer's Instructions 1122 and Multi-Stage Purchasing.

What is the difference between an Expression of Interest and a Request for Proposal?

An Expression of Interest (EOI) is a multi-staged process. An EOI is used to shortlist potential suppliers before then seeking detailed bids from the shortlisted tenderers. An EOI is generally used when the information required from tenderers is specific but the agency is unsure of the capability of suppliers to provide the required goods and services.

A Request for Proposal, on the other hand, can be a single or a multi-staged process and is usually used when the project or requirement has been defined, but where an innovative or flexible solution is sought.

For further information and mandatory requirements in relation to both processes refer to the Treasurer's Instructions 1108 and 1208.

Are the whole-of-government common use contracts compulsory or can I use another supplier?

Under the Treasurer's Instruction 1112 inner budget government agencies must use certain established Common Use Contracts unless otherwise authorised by the Secretary, or an authorised delegate, of the Department of Treasury and Finance. 

Selected contracts are available for use by Government Business Enterprises, State Owned Companies, Statutory Authorities and Local Government.  Also, organisations that satisfy Income Tax Exempt Charity requirements may apply for the authorisation to access some of the Common Use Contracts.

For additional information on whole-of-government / Common-Use Contracts, please refer to Contracts

How do I deal with a complaint from a supplier?

The Treasurer's Instructions 1117 (goods and services) and 1219 (building and construction/roads and bridges) require agencies to follow a formal complaints process for dealing with grievances raised in relation to procurement issues.

Agencies must deal with complaints in a timely and impartial manner.  In the first instance, the agency officer managing the purchasing process should attempt to resolve the problem informally with the complainant.  If relevant, the complainant should be encouraged to seek a debriefing interview.  If the complainant wishes to pursue a complaint, the matter should be investigated by the agency's nominated purchasing complaints officer.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the response by the agency, the complainant can write to the Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance for further action.  Thereafter, they may approach the Ombudsman or the Minister responsible for the tendering agency.

For further information, refer to Complaints.

What information must I report on the Tenders website and in the agency Annual Report?

Detailed information on reporting requirements is located on this website at Reporting.

What is a free trade agreement?

A fee trade agreement is a negotiated agreement between two or more countries to form a free trade area. The free trade area increases trade between the signatories through the removal of tariffs, quotas, "buy local" penalties and other trade barriers.

For further information on free trade agreements that impact Tasmanian Government procurement please see the Treasurer's Instructions 1102 and 1202.

What is prequalification and what are the categories?

Prequalification is an assessment of a consultant's or a contractor's financial, managerial and technical resources and competence to execute and complete work required. Prequalification classifies the consultant/contractor according to their expertise and capability in specific work categories within a specific financial range.

Prequalification is only required for building and construction/roads and bridges consultants and contractors (not for goods and services). Refer to the Treasurer's Instructions 1215 and 1216 for further details.

The categories for prequalification are:                                            

Strategic Services:Building Works:
- Strategic Asset Management- Institutional
- Project Management- Residential
- Management of MaintenanceElectrical Services
- Heritage Conservation PlanningMechanical Services
Project Services:Fire Services
- ArchitectureBuilding Systems - Monitoring & Control
- Civil EngineeringFacilities Management & Maintenance
- Electrical Engineering 
- Mechanical Engineering 


What is a Procurement Review Committee and when must a Review Committee be used?

Each agency is required to establish a Procurement Review Committee for the purpose of reviewing the evaluations of all goods and services, building and construction, and roads and bridges procurement valued at $100 000 or more (excluding GST). This includes processes that result from an exemption or following approval to procure by way of a direct/limited submission sourcing procurement process (Treasurer's Instructions 1114, 1127, 1217 and 1231).

The purpose of the review is to ensure that procurement undertaken by an agency is in accordance with the Government's procurement policies and principles including, where appropriate, the International Procurement Obligations publication and the Government's Procurement Practices Manuals.

In all cases where a review is required, the Committee must review the procurement process after the evaluation process and prior to negotiations being entered into with the preferred supplier or any contract being awarded.

The mandatory requirements relating to Committees are set out in the Treasurer's Instructions 1116 (goods and services) and 1218 (building and construction/roads and bridges). For further information relating to the establishment and roles of the Committee, refer to Procurement Review Committees.

What is a Probity Adviser? Do I need one?

In any Government procurement process, independent assessment of the procurement process may be necessary.  In some cases, this is best achieved by engaging an independent person to act as a probity adviser.

A probity adviser is an external consultant appointed to assist in the procurement process.  The probity adviser will:

  • provide scrutiny (by way of observing and reviewing) of the procurement process, to ensure that prescribed processes have been or are adhered to;
  • provide advice on probity issues which may arise before and during the procurement process; and
  • ensure that the process is equitable and conducted with integrity. 

A probity adviser should be used as the exception rather than the rule, however there are circumstances where the use of a probity adviser would be beneficial such as where:

  • the procurement is of high value;
  • the matter is highly complex, unusual or contentious; or
  • the matter is politically sensitive.

For detailed information on probity refer to the publication Probity Guidelines for Procurement available from Publications.

Treasury maintains a directory of pre-qualified probity advisers for inner budget government agencies to select from.  For additional information on this directory please click here

How do I detect possible collusion?

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's publication, Cartels: deterrence and detection - a guide for government procurement officers is written to assist procurement professionals understand cartel behaviour and provides useful information to help you detect possible collusion amongst suppliers.

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