Understanding how government agencies go about their purchasing, and the policies that govern their buying behaviour, is imperative for you as a prospective supplier.
The methods government buyers follow when purchasing goods and services depend greatly on the value of what is to be bought. Regardless of the amount, the first step in any purchase is to determine whether a specific good or service is included on a Common Use Arrangement (CUA).
CUAs are mandatory whole of government contracts established for certain goods and services. CUAs have specified contract terms often spanning between two and five years. Should a CUA exist, government buyers must purchase directly from one of the contracted suppliers. Contracts WA is an online portal which provides a listing of all current CUAs.
Should no CUA exist, one of four key purchasing methods applies, based on total contract value:
(Request for Quotation (RFQ) - Between $20,001 - $150,000. The number of suppliers requested to formally quote will typically range from two to five in order to demonstrate competition.
(Request) - Above $150,000. Requests for Open Tenders are advertised via Tenders WA to ensure an equitable opportunity for suppliers to bid.
Major policies that direct Government Procurement are issued by the State Supply Commission. Request documents indicate which policies must be complied with, or referred to, when preparing an offer.
Government Purchasing Cards (P-Cards) are widely used for the payment of low value high volume purchases. P-Cards offer suppliers faster payment, and are seen as an efficient buying tool. Guidelines for suppliers and the use of P-Card are available.