Management of financial resources

Assets management

The Senators’ Services, Information Technology and Financial Management sections are responsible for the effective management of departmental assets in accordance with the Clerk’s Instructions.

The assets management system implemented in 2008–09 has proven to be an effective management tool, offering improved functionality and reporting capability.

At 30 June 2010, the department controlled 3,487 assets with a fair value of $2.5 million (last year’s total was 3,363 assets with a fair value of $2.9 million). In 2009–10, 194 assets were added and 70 assets were written off.

On completion of the annual stocktake in June 2010, 27 assets—with a depreciated value of $5,046—could not be located. Of these, three had not been found in the previous stocktake and have been written off. The 2009–10 stocktake result was a slight improvement on the 2008–09 result. The missing items result is immaterial and subsequent follow-up is expected to improve it further.

Consultants and competitive tendering and contracting

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

Consultants

The department engages consultants to facilitate specialist projects or to obtain independent professional and technical advice.

In 2009–10, the department entered into three new consultancy contracts involving total expenditure of $0.026 million. One further ongoing consultancy contract was active during the 2009–10 year, involving total expenditure of $0.078 million.

Table 9 provides details of consultancy contracts let during 2009–10 to the value of $10,000 or more.

Table 9 Consultancy services let to the value of $10,000 or more, 2009–10
Consultant name Description Contract price ($) Selection processa Justificationb
Total   21,295    
Oakton Review of department’s risk management framework 21,295 Select tender B, C

a Explanation of selection process terms drawn from the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (December 2008):
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 generally sought from 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 (this includes tenders submitted through multi use lists). This procurement process may only be used under certain defined circumstances.
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, initially selected through an open tender process, may each supply property or services to an agency as specified in the panel arrangements. Quotes 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 supply of goods and services may be provided 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.

Note: This table does not include the provision of independent legal advice supporting the work of the legislative scrutiny committees. See also appendix 3.

Competitive tendering and contracting

All contracts with a potential value greater than $80,000 are open to a competitive tendering process through AusTender (www.tenders.gov.au).

In accordance with recommendation 9 of the second report of the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration on the operation of the Senate order for the production of lists of departmental and agency contracts, information on the value of the department’s contracts is also available on the AusTender website.

The department also listed details of its contracts valued at greater than $100,000 on the internet, at www.aph.gov.au/Senate/dept/docs/contracts.htm, in accordance with the Senate Order on Departmental and Agency Contracts.

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.

Significant procurement activities during the financial year included:

  • 120 personal computers for senators’ Parliament House offices and departmental staff
  • photocopier multifunction devices for party leaders, a shadow minister and general circulation areas
  • ongoing refurbishment of senators’ furniture.
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