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​​Plan your procurement

​Before you can approach the market or provider community, you'll need to plan your procurement.

Before you start a new procurement project

If you are a public service agency, check to see if the product or service you require may be covered by an exisiting syndicated or All-of-Government contract.

Find out more about the contracts available

Check if any other agencies have a similar need. It might be more efficient and cost-effective to collaborate or create a syndicated contract that others can use in the future.

Check future procurement opportunities (FPOs) listed on GETS(external link)

Find out more about future procurement opportunities

Find out how to create a new syndicated contract

Planning for a social services procurement

Extra information on what you need to do before going out to the provider community and selecting a provider is in the developing a social services procurement plan section of our website.

Developing a social services procurement plan

Initiate the project

At the start of your project, you need to:

  • establish a project team
  • set up accountability and governance measures
  • engage with key stakeholders.

Set up governance and project structure

Ensuring probity

Probity means acting ethically and fairly.

In procurement, we need to make sure all suppliers and providers have a fair opportunity, and that the process is transparent, accountable, impartial and equitable. All steps in the procurement need to be clear, open, well understood and applied equally to all parties who are engaged in the process.

Managing probity and acting ethically

Get conflict of interest and confidentiality declarations

All agency staff that are actively involved in a procurement activity, or could influence the process or the outcome of a procurement, must complete and sign a conflict of interest declaration and a confidentiality agreement. You might need a management plan if a conflict exists.

Managing conflicts of interest and confidentiality

Identify your needs and options

A high-level needs analysis can:

  • help estimate the current and future needs of a population
  • indicate the geographical distribution of need
  • identify those people who are at greatest risk of needing services, and
  • help identify the gap between met and unmet need.

The statement of needs will feed into your requirements documents and procurement plan.

Developing a statement of needs

Analyse the market or provider community

Use market research and analysis to develop a thorough understanding of the nature of the market and how it works. This will impact your strategy and approach.

You may need to analyse:

  • suppliers or providers and their market share (supply)
  • the number of buyers and their influence on the market or provider community (demand)
  • degree of competition
  • current prices and the factors that influence price
  • market trends and regional differences
  • the availability of alternative goods and services
  • technological developments
  • the supply chain
  • any future behaviours that might better support successful delivery.

Analysing the market

Research the social services provider community

Check existing collaborative contracts and supplier panels

If you haven't already, make sure there is no existing collaborative contract that could meet your needs.

Contract register

To decide whether to use an existing panel, consider:

  • Does the panel fully meet your requirements? For example, your agency may have a panel for legal services, but you require legal advice on maritime law and there are no maritime law specialists on the panel.
  • Are you required to use the panel? For example, government agencies required to follow the Government Procurement Rules must purchase from All-of-Government contracts, unless there is a good reason not to.
  • If the panel has been established by another government agency, has your agency formally signed up to it? Talk to your procurement team or contact the lead agency to find out.

Government Procurement Rules

All-of-Government contracts

If you're still not sure whether to use the panel, speak to your agency’s internal procurement team.

If you do use an existing panel, you should follow any specific guidance that has been developed by the managing agency on how to use it, including defined secondary procurement processes.

Work out your position in the market

You'll need to understand:

  1. how important the procurement is to your agency
  2. how important your agency might be to potential suppliers or providers.

Knowing these two things will help to mitigate risks and influence any marketing tactics you might use to make your agency appealing to suppliers.

Positioning yourself in the market

Review previous procurements

To take advantage of lessons learned from previous experiences, you should:

  • review the previous contract or procurement documents, if they exist
  • review similar procurements
  • talk to other agencies and suppliers about similar projects
  • analyse previous spending.

Review previous procurements

Specify your requirements

Write a business case, if it hasn't already been done and your agency's procurement policy requires one.

The business case:

  • describes the case for change
  • explains how to achieve best public value
  • considers commercial viability
  • recommends a preferred option
  • may include options for an exit strategy at the end of the contract.

Writing the business case

Identify possible solutions or outcomes

Use your needs assessment and market analysis to identify the outcomes you're seeking.

Unless there's a good reason to define a solution, it's best to describe your required outcomes and see what solutions suppliers or providers suggest. This approach supports the development of more innovative, and potentially better value, solutions.

High-level budget estimate

Depending on the size and type of your project a budget estimate can be based on:

  • costs of recent similar projects
  • information about likely costs from RFI responses and other market research
  • cost comparison based on size and complexity of similar projects
  • vendor rate cards and previous spend.

Consider sustainability issues

Sustainable procurement means that when buying goods or services, we will consider:

  • strategies to avoid unnecessary consumption and manage demand
  • minimising environmental impacts of the goods/services over the whole-of-life of the contract
  • suppliers’ socially responsible practices including compliance with legislative obligations to employees
  • value for money over the whole-of-life, rather than just the initial cost.

Issues that impact on sustainability include:

  • climate change
  • ozone depletion
  • optimising use of natural resources
  • minimise use of hazardous substances
  • waste minimisation
  • job creation
  • health & safety
  • equality
  • fair pay for suppliers’ staff
  • economic regeneration
  • build sustainable markets
  • legal compliance
  • public image protection and enhancement.

Document your requirements

Requirements documents come in several formats. The one you choose will depend on your sourcing approach, the level of detail to be specified, and the rules at your agency.

The requirements document should answer:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What results or outcomes do we need to achieve?
  • How will the services be delivered?
  • How much – what quantity or volume is required?
  • Where will the services be delivered?
  • How well – what quality and standards apply?
  • When will the services be delivered – timeframes, key deliverable dates and term of contract?
  • Who will be involved in the delivery?

Documenting your requirements

Develop your procurement plan

Your procurement plan should support the business case and your agency's wider procurement strategy.

We can review your procurement documents and provide advice at any point in the planning stage of your procurement. Or you can hire an expert from our commercial pool to come and work alongside throughout your procurement.

Review of significant procurements

Commercial pool

Decide how to approach the market

Before you can approach the market or provider community, you'll need to decide:

  • if you'll use an open or closed process
  • if it will be a single-stage or multi-stage tender
  • what type of RFx documents will be required
  • how you'll advertise.

The option you select should reflect the nature and complexity of the service (including the value and the length of the contract) and:

  • the principles of government procurement and the Government Procurement Rules
  • which approach will deliver the best suppliers and value for money
  • the size of the supplier community.

Choose the right option for your project

Agencies that are subject to the Government Procurement Rules must advertise procurement opportunities worth over $100,000 on GETS.

Rule 15: Exemption from open advertising

Decide your evaluation methodology

To be able to evaluate the proposals you receive, you need to decide the criteria you'll ask potential suppliers or providers to meet, and choose an evaluation model to determine how those criteria will be prioritised against each other.

Deciding on evaluation criteria

Deciding on an evaluation methodology

Choose a panel of 3–5 people with a mix of skills and experience who'll decide the criteria and evaluate the offers. You can also ask experts to evaluate specific parts of proposals (eg price or technical requirements) without making them part of the official panel.

Setting up the evaluation panel

If you're direct sourcing

You'll still need to go through an evaluation process to ensure the supplier has the capability, capacity and expertise to deliver what you need. This process might not be as formal as the one outlined here, but it will still need to be robust enough for objective decision-making, including determining value for money.

Write a procurement plan

Your procurement plan should include:

  • key project information
  • a sourcing plan
  • any exclusions and exceptions
  • contract information
  • risks and probity
  • a timetable.

Write a procurement plan

For any procurements with a whole of life value of more than $5 million, you'll need to submit the procurement plan to us for review if requested. See Rule 22: Significant procurement plans.

Review of significant procurements

Set standards and measures

Finally, now is a good time to start thinking about performance standards and measures - usually called KPIs.

Measuring performance during delivery

How to measure social service outcomes

Guide to procurement


How to get quality responses from the right suppliers or providers.

Source your suppliers


How to manage the contract once it's underway.

Manage the contract