Management of financial resources

Purchasing

All goods and services were purchased in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and the Clerk’s Instructions.

In addition to the procurement of internal audit services foreshadowed in the department’s procurement plan for 2007–08, significant procurement activities during the financial year included:

  • the replacement of
    • refrigerators in senators’ suites
    • televisions in senators’ suites and departmental areas
    • office chairs for senators’ staff and departmental staff
    • printers
    • photocopiers in the Senate wing and committee rooms
  • the purchase of a colour photocopier for the print room
  • the purchase of video production equipment for the Parliamentary Education Office.

Asset management

The Senators’ Services Section, the Information Technology Section and the Financial Management Section are responsible for the effective management of Senate assets.

At 30 June 2008, the department controlled 4,286 assets with a fair value of $3.5 million (last year’s total was 4,309 assets with a fair value of $3.7 million). In 2007–08, 450 assets were added and 473 assets were written off.

On completion of the annual stocktake in June 2008, 97 assets—with a depreciated value of $28,549—could not be located. Of these, 20 had not been found in the previous stocktake and have been written off.

This year’s stocktake result was consistent with the results of previous years.

Consultants and competitive tendering and contracting

The policies and procedures for selecting consultants, conducting tenders, contracting, and approving expenditure, are set out in the Clerk’s Instructions. Those instructions take account of the requirements of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and Senate standing order 25(17) (relating to approval of consultants for committees).

In accordance with recommendation 9 of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee’s second report on the operation of the Senate order for the production of lists of departmental and agency contracts, information on the department’s expenditure on contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website: www.tenders.gov.au.

Consultants

To facilitate specialist projects or to obtain independent professional and technical advice, the department was required to engage various consultants.

In 2007–08, the department let 10 consultancy contracts. A further eight consultancies continued from previous years. A total of $344,160 (including GST) was paid in relation to consultancy services, an increase of $57,940 on the figure for 2006–07.

Table 7 provides details of consultancy contracts let during 2007–08 to the value of $10,000 or more.

Table 7 Consultancy services let to the value of $10,000 or more, 2007–08
Consultant name Description Contract price Selection process Justification
Business Aspects Review of Table Office information technology 21,654 Select tender B, C
Pickles Valuation Services Valuation of departmental assets 12,100 Direct sourcing B, C
WalterTurnbull Review of fraud risk and fraud control plan 26,730 Direct sourcing B, C
Professor J Davis Legal advice 37,395 Direct sourcing B, C
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Internal audit services 250,000 Open tender B, C
Total   347,879    

a Explanation of selection process terms drawn from the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (January 2005):

Open tender—a procurement procedure in which a request for tender is published inviting all businesses that satisfy the conditions for participation to submit tenders. Public tenders are sought from the marketplace using national and major metropolitan newspaper advertising and the Australian Government AusTender internet site.

Select tender—a procurement procedure in which the procuring agency selects which potential suppliers are invited to submit tenders. Tenders are invited from a shortlist of competent suppliers.

Direct sourcing—a form of restricted tendering, available only under certain defined circumstances, with a single potential supplier or suppliers being invited to bid because of their unique expertise and/or their special ability to supply the goods and/or services sought.

Panel—an arrangement under which a number of suppliers, usually selected through a single procurement process, may each supply property or services to an agency as specified in the panel arrangements. Tenders are sought from suppliers that have pre-qualified on the agency panels to supply to the government. This category includes standing offers and supplier panels where the consultant offers to supply goods and services for a predetermined length of time, usually at a prearranged price.

b Justification for decision to use consultancy:
 A—skills currently unavailable within agency
 B—need for specialised or professional skills
 C—need for independent research or assessment.

Competitive tendering and contracting

All contracts with a potential value greater than $80,000 are open to a competitive tendering process through AusTender.

The department listed all its contract details on the internet, at www.aph.gov.au/Senate/dept/docs/contracts.htm, in accordance with the Senate Order on Departmental and Agency Contracts.

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