We’re joined by Lillian Riches who’s a Senior Lawyer in the National Commercial Group at AGS and joins us from Canberra. Lillian welcome to BRR Media.
Well Lillian we’re talking about the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which have changed recently, can you just give us a brief outline as to what the Commonwealth Procurement Rules are?
The Commonwealth Procurement Rules replace the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines or CPGs, and they basically represent the Government’s policy frame work which agencies are required to govern and undertake their own procurement. Essentially they, based on Australia’s international obligations and recognised principles of good practice, and they’re intended to enable agencies to design processes that are robust, transparent and that will instil confidence in Government procurement activities.
And this is for procuring say legal services, or does it apply more broadly?
It applies more broadly, so procurement of any goods or services.
Okay and when did the CPRs come into effect?
The CPRs came into effect on 1 July 2012, so July of this year.
And Lillian does the change from the guidelines that we had previously and now the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, mean that agencies are now under say a stricter duty to comply or will be exposed to new penalties?
No agencies were required already by the SMA regulations to comply with the CPGs, so the obligation to comply with the CPRs is no difference to what it was previously. But there are a number of important changes to the requirements which agencies will need to be aware.
And what are some of the key differences then between the CPRs and the previous CPGs?
The CPRs are more streamlined than the CPGs, in that much of the guidance and good practice material that was contained in the CPGs has been omitted from the CPRs. That guidance material is now contained in the Department of Finance and Deregulation Procurement website. So this should make it easier for agencies to identify which requirements are mandatory and what is recommended good practice. Perhaps the biggest change is that the CPRs have made it explicit that there must be an upfront consideration of whether the procurement process itself will provide good value for money, the CPRs have also increased the emphasis on risk management. So in particular the CPRs provide the agencies must establish a process for identification analysis, allocation and treatment of risks when conducting procurements. There are also a number of changes relating to maintaining appropriate documentation, contract end dates, confidentiality of tender responses and co-operative procurements. However these changes for the most part barely make requirements that were previously recommended good practice mandatory, or they extend those requirements that apply to Division Two procurements to Division One procurements. Finally there have been a number of changes to terminology with the term procurement defined to mean goods and services rather than property and services, the term agency agreement being replaced with the term contract, procurement methods have also been renamed and the terms covered procurement and mandatory procurement procedures are no longer used in the CPRs.
Well Lillian a number of changes there and obviously we’ve only had these new rules for a short period. What would you recommend agencies should be doing to ensure that they comply with the new CPRs?
I would – we would recommend that agencies read the CPRs carefully, they should review and update their request documentation and chief executive instructions, they should review and update their risk assessment methodology and finally they should consider how confidential information of suppliers will be treated.
Well some good tips for agencies there. Lillian thank you so much for joining us today.
That was Lillian Riches, who’s a Senior Lawyer at AGS. Now listeners if you have any questions for Lillian, you can send them using the panel that appears on your screen or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.