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Using the design services contract

This page provides step by step instructions on how to use the All-of-Government (AoG) design services contract. You may also find additional resources on this page.

Using this contract

  • 1
    Determine your requirements

    Start by working out your service requirements and whether you have the capability to meet them in-house.

    Define whether your requirement is for a specific project or campaign, or whether you’re looking for a long-term partnership arrangement to deliver across multiple projects over a period of time.

  • 2
    Brief your work

    Provide a written brief for every piece of work so that everyone is clear about what your objectives and expected outcomes are.

    For larger projects or campaigns you might want to follow up the written brief with a meeting to discuss.

  • 3
    Decide on a selection process

    You can choose to approach a provider directly or shortlist several providers for a secondary procurement process.

    Find the providers on the panel directory under contract resources or on the design services providers page.

    We recommend three categories of involvement. All three categories are a guide only, and should balance the complexity of the process against the size of the project.

    Design services providers

  • 3a
    For budgets between $5,000 and $50,000

    We recommend you:

    • select directly from the panel directory and design services providers page based on existing knowledge and your own investigation
    • ask for a demonstration of previous examples based on creative or design responses to similar project requests in the past
    • don't ask for a creative response. It’s unreasonable to expect providers to develop a creative response specific to your requirements during the selection process.
  • 3b
    For budgets between $51,000 and $200,000

    We recommend you:

    • select directly from the panel directory based on existing knowledge and your own investigation, or choose a maximum of two providers to approach
    • ask for a demonstration of previous examples based on creative responses to similar project requests in the past
    • If required, only request a limited creative response to a particular design brief (ie a concept or idea with a supporting creative strategy), or request a bespoke strategic response.
  • 3c
    For budgets over $200,000

    We recommend you:

    • approach a maximum of three or four potential providers
    • request examples of creative responses to similar projects or campaigns in the past

    and either:

    • request a limited creative response to a particular design brief (ie a concept or idea with a supporting creative strategy), or request a bespoke strategic response or insight without creative, or
    • request a more detailed creative response, which might include the creative concept and strategy accompanied by ideas on execution (eg scripts or story boards of how that idea would be represented).

    Detailed creative responses can be costly for providers to deliver. Often the best creative work and ideas come out of relationships and collaboration, so think carefully about whether it's worth asking for a detailed creative response at this stage.

    Contract resources

  • 4
    Decide your selection criteria

    There are some simple questions you can ask that will help you work out which provider could work best for you.


    • Who has experience and expertise in a particular area?
    • Who can provide the best pricing model for the scope of the project such as hourly rates, fixed fee, retainer for larger ongoing requirements, or a combination of these?
    • Who can meet your project timeline?
    • Can the provider give examples showing how they can add value to your process and how they can contribute to your overall objectives?
    • Can broader outcomes objectives be considered?
    • Depending on the brief, consider geographical locations of the providers.

    Professional services broader outcomes


    • Who brings the most relevant experience regarding industry, tasks, people and other government entities?
    • Who has the best client/agency fit?

    Strategy and planning

    • Who’s provided the greatest level of market and audience insight?
    • Who has demonstrated the greatest understanding of your agency’s design challenge?
    • Who has identified a solid strategic platform and demonstrated how best to bring your core messages to life in an aligned and integrated fashion?
    • What are their views and approach to the design task?


    • Who consistently produces creative ideas that are original and on brief?
    • Who has thought strategically and creatively?

    Account Management

    • How would daily account management be organised and which personnel would be involved?
    • What’s their approach to working on projects with modest budgets?
    • What processes do they have in place for budget and cost controls like hourly rates, call reports and cost estimates?
    • Who has the most robust accountability and quality control policies and procedures?
    • What’s their approach to sourcing, managing and liaising with third parties?


    • Who has well defined production procedures, eg for estimates and approvals?
    • Who consistently produces quality work?
    • Who consistently meets production budgets and deadlines?

    Finance and administration

    • Who has clearly defined invoicing procedures?
    • Who has a clearly defined cost management programme?
    • Who can provide you with the reporting and analysis you need?


    • Who has best satisfied the requirements of the design brief?
    • Who would you work best with to execute the design brief?
  • 5
    Make a shortlist

    Arrange one ore more face-to-face meetings with your shortlisted providers to outline:

    • your requirements and the brief in greater detail
    • the number of providers you've shortlisted
    • the requirement of confidentiality from both parties
    • the indicative budget range and timeframes
    • advice on compliance to government advertising guidelines where necessary
    • expectations for response whether written, verbal presentation or both - give reasonable timeframes for providers to complete any written response or prepare for presentations.

    Once you've evaluated and made your selection, advise those that were unsuccessful and give them any relevant feedback within 10 working days of your decision.

  • 6
    Award and engage a provider with a Design Services Order (DSO)

    Once you have selected one or more providers, engage with the successful provider(s) with a DSO. It needs to be completed and signed by both your agency and the provider. If you select multiple providers a separate DSO will need to be completed with each.

    All other documentation (including briefs, reverse briefs, cost estimates, and variations) can be referenced or attached as appendices for purposes of audit, invoicing, and reporting.

    The DSO includes:

    • a reference number
    • a schedule of services
    • the basis of engagement
    • timeframes
    • indicative budget (if known)
    • any conflicts of interest.

    The DSO can include any alternative pricing models and agreement on extra costs that aren't specified in the base agreement but may be necessary for the delivery of services.

    Note: if a provider is delivering services that require a cost-per-hour pricing model, the panel directory's hourly rates must apply. If a retainer model, fixed fee or alternative pricing model is suited to an agency’s needs, this can be negotiated and captured in the DSO.

  • 7
    Complete a post engagement survey

    Your provider is required to send you a survey to complete within 10 days of the engagement being completed. It is important that you complete this so that we can continue to monitor the performance of the panel. If you have any questions get in touch by emailing the Professional services team.

    Provider performance All-of-Government contract survey

    End of process

Contract resources

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