The Government's purchasing process has been developed to encourage fair and open competition with the objective of achieving best value for money.
The seven main steps in the purchasing process are set out in the flow chart below. High level information relevant to each step in the process is set out below the flow chart.
Purchasing process is determined
The first step which an agency will take after determining that goods or services (including building works etc) need to be purchased is to determine which process they need to adopt. This will depends on the value of the purchase and the type of goods or services required. How Purchasing Works sets out the applicable rules.
Bid documents are prepared
The agency will develop documentation that outlines what it is that they are seeking to purchasing and how you should go about submitting an offer. The decisions made in relation to the process will largely determine the style of document used and the amount of detail provided.
The documentation may include formal documentation such as:
- Conditions of Tender or Quotation, including:
- an explanation of the evaluation criteria to be used to evaluate the bids
- information on relevant government policies; and
- closing time, date and place of lodgement.
- A specification describing the goods, services or works required.
- Forms to be completed by you including, where appropriate, a Local SME Industry Impact Statement or, for some roads and bridges procurement, a Tasmanian Industry Participation Plan.
See Understanding the Procurement Documentation for further information.
Bids are invited
Depending on the process, the agency may contact suppliers directly or they may publicly advertise the purchase.
Quotes are generally not advertised while an open tender will be. Therefore, to maximise your opportunities, you should make sure that the government buyer is aware of you and your business and you should also ensure your are registered on the Tenders website. For marketing tips, see How to get known.
In some cases, prequalification may be required before you can make an offer to supply building construction or roads and bridges works or consultancy services. See Prequalification for more information.
The next step requires you to respond to the invitation to quote or advertisement. To do this, make sure you have received all relevant documents from the agency contact (noting that for very simple purchases there may be no formal documentation).
You should also:
- attend any pre-bid briefings if these are being conducted;
- clarify any uncertainties you have in relation to the purchase or the documents;
- plan and prepare your response; and
- submit your response in the right format, on time and at the right location.
Note: Even though an agency may ask you to quote verbally, it will usually expect a written response. You should check with the person seeking the quote if you are at all unsure. For purchases valued at more than $50 000, a written quotation response is generally required.
To find out more, go to Planning to Quote / Tender.
Evaluation and selection
Depending on the process undertaken, either a formal committee or an individual will be responsible for the evaluation of bids and the final selection of a supplier.
If an informal process is being used, generally your submission will be assessed on how well it meets the requirements and whether it offers value for money.
More complex purchases or higher value projects will be evaluated against the criteria specified in the bid documents and will generally be assessed by a formal evaluation committee. Before evaluation, each offer will be checked for compliance with any Conditions for Participation and if compliant, then evaluated against the criteria specified in the procurement documentation - so it is important to read the documents carefully.
See Understanding how quotes / tenders are evaluated for further information.
Notification and debriefing
When a decision has been made and the contract has been awarded, the successful supplier will be advised of the outcome. Unsuccessful bidders are also advised and a debriefing is available.
Contracts established and managed
A contract may be established by using a letter of acceptance, issuing a Purchase Order, or using a formal agreement with specific conditions of contract. A decision will be made by the agency on the appropriate contract format.
Once the contract has been established, both you and the government agency have responsibilities to manage and complete the contract.
Payment will be made at the completion of the contract or as outlined in the payment schedule in the bid documentation.
For further information, see Establishing the Contract and Managing the Contract.