Glossary of terms used in government tendering

Government tender processes use a common set of terms. Clearly understanding their meaning will help you make sense of the tender process. It will also reduce your risk of misinterpreting tender requests or making errors in your tender proposals.

Accountable officer

Agency

  • A department or statutory body as those expressions are defined in the Financial Accountability Act 2009.
  • Any government-owned corporation recognised under the Government Owned Corporations Act 1993. Note: Government-owned corporations are no longer covered under the new Queensland Procurement Policy (2013).
  • Special purpose vehicles as established from 1 July 2010 and existing special purpose vehicles which are required to comply with the Queensland Procurement Policy (2013) by their respective constitutions.

Agency procurement procedures

  • These are agency-specific procedures, which set out how procurement activities are to be conducted in compliance with the policy.

Approach to market (depending on the approach used this may also be called an invitation to offer, request for offer, request for proposal, request for quote or request for tender)

  • The process where a government agency approaches the supply market calling for offers for a particular good or service.

Charter for Local Content

  • The Charter for Local Content aims to provide all businesses with full, fair and reasonable opportunities to tender for Queensland Government procurements.

Closing date (also known as the deadline for submissions)

  • The time and date by which your submissions must be submitted and received. Offers submitted after the deadline may be considered as non-conforming and may not be considered.

Contract date

  • This is the date when a contract, or standing offer arrangement, is accepted by, executed by, or effectively binds all parties involved.

Contract disclosure

  • The term used to describe the publishing of details for awarded contracts as required by the Queensland Procurement Policy (2013). Under the policy, affected agencies will publish basic details for contracts valued over $10,000, and additional contract details for contracts valued $10 million or more. Disclosure of the procurement method is only required for contracts valued at $500,000 or more.

Contract schedules

  • Documents that contain details on the goods or services that are to be provided by a supplier to government.

Conditions for participation

  • The minimum conditions you must possess in order to participate in a procurement process. For example, to be considered you may need to have a certain registration, qualification, or other prerequisite.

Conditions of contract

  • The contractual terms that will be used.

Conditions of offer (also known as conditions of tender)

  • The terms and conditions that govern an approach to market process.

Deliverables (also known as statement of work or statement of requirement)

  • A statement of the goods or services required under a contract. Deliverables are usually detailed in the specification of the approach to market documentation and are linked to deadlines.

Environmental impact statement

  • A statement that identifies the impacts of a proposed work on the environment.

Evaluation criteria (also known as selection criteria)

  • The measures that will be used by the evaluation panel for selecting the most appropriate response to an approach to market. See also mandatory criteria.

Expressions of interest

  • A published notice inviting businesses to register their interest in a future procurement. The government agency may use the information provided as a basis for conducting a future limited or selective offer process. Registering your interest for an expression of interest does not guarantee that you will be invited for a future approach to market, or that the procurement will ultimately proceed.

Forward procurement

  • Advertisements on forward procurement schedules give suppliers an idea of what tenders may be available in the coming year. For example, the Australian Government releases an annual procurement plan that scopes proposed procurements for the coming year (published before 1 July each year). The Queensland Government also publishes notices of potential future procurements on the QTenders website.

Goods and services

  • This includes all property (except for real property) and all types of services, including building and construction services.

ICT SME Participation Scheme

  • The ICT SME Participation Scheme is a requirement for Queensland Government procurement of information and communication technology (ICT) products and services. Compliance with the scheme is required as per Information Standard 13. The scheme aims to help ICT small to medium enterprises (any business employing less than 200 people) gain greater access to the Queensland Government market.

Industry briefing (also known as supplier information sessions)

  • A briefing held by a government agency to given potential suppliers a clearer understanding of an approach to market. Depending on the approach to market, it may be mandatory that you attend the briefing so you are eligible to be considered.

Invitation to offer

  • See approach to market.

Large statutory body

  • For the purposes of the Queensland Procurement Policy (2013), a statutory body is classified as large where one of the following criteria apply:
    • net operating revenue in excess of $4 million
    • or
    • net assets in excess of $50 million.

Lead agency

  • An agency that is responsible for managing common categories of expenditure across 2 or more agencies.

Limited offer process (also known as a limited procurement method, limited tender or direct sourcing)

  • A procurement method where the agency invites a supplier(s) of its choice to submit an offer in response to an approach to market.

Local supplier

  • An Australian or New Zealand supplier of goods or services that are produced wholly or partially in Australia or New Zealand.

Mandatory criteria

  • The measures used to assess responses to an approach to market, which are considered essential and that you must, at a minimum, meet. Failure to either provide a response to mandatory criterion, or possess the necessary requirements to meet a mandatory criterion, means that your offer may be non-conforming and you may not be considered.

Multi-use list (MUL) (also known as a framework or pre-qualified panel)

  • A list of pre-qualified suppliers who wish to supply goods or services in the future and who have met the necessary conditions or requirements to be included on the MUL. Inclusion on an MUL does not guarantee a supplier that they will be included in any future approach to market process. A government agency may use an MUL as the basis for determining which suppliers are included as part of a selective offer process.

Notice of potential future procurements (also known as forward procurement schedules)

  • A notice published by a government agency about an upcoming procurement. The publishing of a forward notice does not, however, guarantee that procurement will necessarily go ahead.

Open offer process (also known as open procurement method or open tender)

  • A procurement method where all interested suppliers may submit an offer in response to an approach to market.

Panel

  • An arrangement under which a number of suppliers agree to supply goods or services for a set period of time and usually for a set price (see also standing offer arrangement).
  • The group of government officers responsible for assessing and selecting supplier(s) as part of an approach to market process (also known as an evaluation committee).
  • A list of pre-qualified suppliers who wish to supply goods or services in the future and who have met the necessary conditions or requirements to be included on the panel (see also multi-use list [MUL]).

Probity

  • Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour in a particular process. It terms of procurement, it is expected that government employees act in such a way that ensures:
    • fairness and impartiality
    • accountability and transparency of process
    • confidentiality and security of information and materials
    • effective management of conflicts of interest.

Procurement

  • This is the entire process by which all classes of resources (human, material, facilities and services) are obtained. This can include the functions of planning, design, standards determination, specification writing, selecting suppliers, financing, contract administration, disposals and other related functions. For clarity, 'procurement' under the Queensland Procurement Policy (2013) does not include 'grants' as defined in the Financial accountability handbook administered by Queensland Treasury.

Procurement method

  • Queensland Government departments or agencies use 3 different methods - open, limited or selective - to procure goods and services.

Professional indemnity insurance

  • Insurance that covers legal liability for claims arising out of a breach of professional duty in the provision of professional services.

Public liability insurance

  • Insurance that covers liabilities to the public for personal injury or property damage if you or your business is found to be negligent.

Purchaser

  • The government department or agency that is requesting goods or services from a supplier.

Purchasing

  • The acquisition process for goods, services and capital projects through purchasing, leasing and licensing. The definition of 'purchasing' extends to standing offer or similar arrangements by which terms and conditions of purchase are determined.

Quality assurance (QA)

  • Managing business processes in such a way that both the supplier and customer are satisfied with the quality and consistency of the goods or services being produced or provided. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) 9000 series of quality system standards sets out internationally agreed processes for achieving quality, consistency and satisfaction.

Request for applications for a multi-use list (MUL)

  • A published notice inviting businesses to apply for inclusion on an MUL. The notice must be published on the relevant government tender website either continuously or at least once per year.

Request for information

  • An invitation to businesses to provide certain requested information. Such information is usually requested by a government agency as part of a market research process and to better inform a subsequent approach to the market. A government agency may use the information provided as a basis for conducting a future limited or selective offer process. Providing information also does not guarantee that you will be invited for a future approach to market, or that procurement will ultimately proceed.

Request for offer or request for proposal or request for tender (also known as approach to market or invitation to offer)

  • See approach to market.

Selective offer process (also known as prequalified tender, selective procurement method, select tender)

  • A procurement method where suppliers that have pre-established criteria are invited to submit an offer in response to an approach to market.

Scope creep (also known as requirement creep)

  • Uncontrolled changes in a project's scope. This can occur when the scope of a project is not clearly defined, documented or controlled.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

  • This is an Australian or New Zealand business employing less than 200 employees.

Standing offer arrangement (also known as common-use supply arrangements)

  • An arrangement between the government and a supplier(s) that sets out the terms and conditions, including price, under which a business agrees to supply an undefined volume of goods or services for a specified period. Government purchasers can then subsequently buy directly from a supplier on the arrangement without having to go through a normal procurement process.

Subcontractor

  • A business that provides goods or services to a contractor (sometime knows as the primary or head contractor).

Supplier

  • An enterprise known to be capable of supplying required goods or services. It includes manufacturers, stockists, resellers, merchants, distributors, consultants and contractors.

Sustainable procurement

  • Procurement processes that consider sustainability factors in their criteria, including environmental impact and social responsibility.

Tender response form

  • The documents used by you to respond to an approach to market. If successful, these usually form the basis of the contract schedules.

Value-adding

  • In the context of procurement, this refers to additional things that you may offer that are not expressly specified in an approach to market, but that add minimal cost.

Value for money

  • Agencies should consider the following factors when assessing value for money:
    • overall objective of the procurement, and outcome being sought
    • cost-related factors including up-front price, whole-of-life costs and transaction costs associated with acquisition, use, holding, maintenance and disposal
    • non-cost factors such as fitness for purpose, quality, delivery, service, support and sustainability impacts.