On 11 May 2020, the Department of Finance released the COVID-19 – Procurement Policy Note (Procurement Note) to assist Commonwealth entities who are undertaking procurements in the current COVID-19 environment or dealing with affected suppliers.
Approaching the market
Under the Procurement Note, Commonwealth entities should consider current approaches to the market on a case-by-case basis having regard to the impact of COVID-19 on potential tenderers and their ability to deliver on an entity’s requirements.
Entities considering a tender process should first consider:
Entities could also consider undertaking an initial Request for Information or Invitation to Register process to test the market before undertaking a full tender process.
The Procurement Note highlights the following two procurement methods under the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) that may be beneficial during COVID-19:
As always, entities will need to satisfy themselves that the procurement method adopted will achieve the overarching obligation of value for money.
The Procurement Note also provides the following guidance to Commonwealth entities on contractual issues due to COVID-19:
Any changes to the terms of a contract should be limited to the specific circumstances of the situation, and considered on a case-by-case basis.
There should also be consideration as to how these changes are documented which may be determined by the contract itself, or may need to be through a Deed of Variation.
The Procurement Note further encourages Commonwealth entities to:
The Procurement Note recognises the significant impact COVID-19 is having on businesses of all sizes, including suppliers to the Commonwealth, and reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting at risk suppliers where possible so they are able to resume normal service delivery and fulfil their contractual obligations post COVID-19.
Commonwealth procuring entities can contact the Department of Finance via email@example.com for further information, or can consider seeking legal advice on contractual matters where appropriate.
Authors: Scott Alden & Victoria Gordon
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.
Published by Scott Alden, Victoria Gordon