Challenging assumptions about the Commonwealth Procurement Rules

Accountability Projects (Department of Finance)

(17 November 2016) The final presentation at the recent Red Tape Outreach Session in September 2016 was given by Yvette Sims, Assistant Secretary, Procurement Policy and Advice. Yvette’s presentation focused on the myths in the public service that surround procurement and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Procurement is a classic example … in relation to our tendency to provide an overlay of unnecessary administrative process said Yvette. There is a common misperception out there that the Commonwealth Procurement Rules contain many [requirements] that aren’t there and likely never have been

The Department of Finance has been working hard to simplify and de-mystify the procurement process.

Some of the things that we’ve done to assist [with procurement] are that we’ve developed the Commonwealth Contracting Suite, [to] streamline the standard terms and conditions for all procurement under $200,000.

The Commonwealth Contracting Suite’s goal, Yvette explained, is to strip out the unnecessary process and duplication of effort across the Commonwealth, to free up time of people conducting procurement activities to focus on getting the specifications right and to get the right response from the market.

And in the future, procurements up to $1 million may be covered by the Commonwealth Contracting Suite Plus (which was recently launched for public consultation).

This work has been complemented by work to streamline the procurement process, including:

  • a review of the model Accountable Authority Instructions for procurement,
  • the introduction of the BuyRight tool within the Department of Finance, and
  • new functionality being added to Austender to simplify the procurement from panels, called Dynamic Sourcing for Panels (DS4P).

Fantastic work!

Yvette then went through three common myths around procurement in the public service. Test your knowledge below: 

1. How should you pay for purchases less than $10,000?

   Bank transfer
   Credit card
   Request Secretary approval

2. If you’re buying something that costs less than $80,000, or if you’re buying off a panel, how many suppliers do the Commonwealth Procurement Rules require you to approach?

   No set maximum or minimum

3. How many people do the Commonwealth Procurement Rules require you to have on an evaluation panel?

   No set maximum or minimum


How many of the above did you get right? Are these myths common in your organization? Let us know in the comments below.

More information: the Finance procurement page or Yvette’s full presentation below:

Themes: Red tape reduction, cultural change, red tape myths, common myths, Department of Finance, Commonwealth Procurement Rules, red tape in procurement, Accountable Authority Instructions, change management, review of internal procedures.

















Terrific myth busting

Every effort is being made to present a straightforward amd simplified approach to procurement within our agency.  This is effectively done from a centralised procurement team that is producing benefits through educating personnel across the agency.

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