Management of financial resources


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:

  • 97 laptop computers for senators' Parliament House offices and departmental staff
  • digital imaging of the Senate's tabled papers
  • ongoing refurbishment of senators' furniture.

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.

At 30 June 2011, the department controlled 3,389 assets with a fair value of $1.92 million (last year's total was 3,487 assets with a fair value of $2.5 million). In 2010–11, 118 assets were added and 226 assets were disposed of.

On completion of the annual stocktake in June 2011, 22 assets—with a depreciated value of $2,994—could not be located. The 2010–11 stocktake result was a slight improvement on the 2009–10 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 conducting tenders, selecting consultants, 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).

Competitive tendering and contracting

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

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 relating to departmental and agency contracts, information on the value of the department's contracts is available on the AusTender website.

In accordance with the Senate order relating to departmental and agency contracts, details of the department's contracts valued at greater than $100,000 are also listed on the internet.


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

In 2010–11, the department entered into two new consultancy contracts involving total expenditure of $0.055 million. One further ongoing consultancy contract was active during the 2010–11 year, involving total expenditure of $0.134 million.

Table 10 provides details of consultancy contracts let during 2010–11 to the value of $10,000 or more.

Table 10 Consultancy services let to the value of $10,000 or more, 2010–11
Consultant name Description Contract price ($) Selection processa Justificationb
Total   55,011    
Ipsos Public Affairs Pty Ltd Survey and written report 30,261 Direct sourcing B, C
Price Waterhouse Coopers Review of the department's fraud control plan 24,750 Direct sourcing 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.

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