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Resource management

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) financial accountability responsibilities are set out in the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework, which governs how officials in the Commonwealth public sector use and manage public resources.

Asset management and accommodation

DVA runs an effective asset management program, registering assets on receipt in the financial management system and conducting an annual stocktake. Asset accounting functions and the management of intangible assets are centrally controlled, while day-to-day management of physical assets is decentralised to regional locations.

In 2017–18, DVA continued to review its accommodation requirements across Australia, aiming to minimise the expense and extent of lease accommodation while maintaining quality and service delivery capability. As part of a whole-of-government initiative, DVA became the first Commonwealth agency to outsource the management of its property portfolio. Jones Lang LaSalle will provide property management services to DVA. This arrangement is designed to maximise savings to the Department by reducing the number of contracts and by delivering further efficiencies in leasing arrangements.

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Compliance report for financial year 2017–18

There were no significant instances of non-compliance with the finance law in 2017–18.

Purchasing

The Contract Advisory Unit provides services in support of procurement and contracting activities in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Framework. The unit provides specialist business advice to the Repatriation Commission, the MRCC and all areas of the Department engaged in procurement. Its services include developing contract templates, providing better practice guides on all aspects of the procurement cycle, providing contract management advice, and ensuring compliance with mandatory reporting requirements.

The Department is subject to internal and external (Australian National Audit Office) audits of compliance with the Commonwealth Procurement Framework. The Contract Advisory Unit works with the auditors to improve the Department's performance against the core principles of Commonwealth procurement.

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Consultants

The Department engages consultants when it requires specialist expertise or when independent research or short-term projects are undertaken. DVA's selection processes:

  • observe government and departmental procurement policies
  • are publicly defensible, promoting fair competition and effective service
  • are based on predetermined selection criteria
  • realise best value for money

During 2017–18, 50 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $25.10 million. In addition, 29 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2017–18, involving total actual expenditure of $6.40 million.

Table 9 shows the total expenditure on consultancies over the past three years.

Table 9: Expenditure on consultancies 2015–16 to 2017–18 ($m)
  2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Note: Total comprises expenditure paid in departmental and administered programs during the reporting period, inclusive of applicable GST.
Expenditure 10.01 16.16 31.50

AusTender

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the estimated value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website: www.tenders.gov.au.

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Exempt contracts

DVA did not seek any exemptions from gazettal under the FOI Act in 2017–18.

Access clauses

All DVA contractual arrangements have in place a facility for the Auditor-General and accountability personnel to access contractual material, including at the contractor's premises.

All DVA contracts are based on either the DVA template or the Commonwealth Contracting Suite, both of which contain access clauses.

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Procurement initiatives to support small business

The Department supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and medium enterprise (SME) and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance's website.

Health and wellbeing services are provided to veterans through the Department's arrangements with over 60,000 providers, the majority of whom are SMEs.

The Department recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Treasury's website.

The Indigenous Procurement Policy requires agencies to direct a percentage of business to Indigenous suppliers. The target for DVA in 2016–17 was four contracts, which it exceeded by letting seven contracts in the period.

DVA's procurement practices support SMEs, consistent with paragraph 5.4 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. DVA:

  • uses the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000
  • strives to communicate in clear, simple language and presents information in an accessible format in all documents
  • uses electronic systems to facilitate on-time payment performance, including the use of payment cards.

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