Australian Government Architecture

Standards for Digital Sourcing

These standards support the Procurement and Sourcing Australian Government Architecture position. For guidance on each of the standards, see the Standards for Digital Sourcing Guidance.

Procurement Stage: Pre-procurement

Important digital investment factors are considered before starting a procurement.

What is the standard?

  1. Buyers consider important digital investment factors before they start a procurement. Buyers are informed that:
    1. early consideration of the digital investment factors help them get the outcome they need
    2. they should consider these factors during the strategic planning of their investment outcome.

The digital investments factors include:

  • Be user centred by involving users from the start of an investment, through to operation and management. Prioritise usability by ensuring the solution is developed to be easy to use.
  • Seek advice from technology, industry and procurement experts who might help to challenge traditional practices and explore new possibilities. Also consider how investments fit into the existing agency and technology environments.
  • Consider the whole-of-life cost of investments, not just the initial purchase price
  • Align with whole-of-government requirements, including but not limited to:
    • Accessibility
    • Security and Privacy
    • Australian Government Architecture
    • Digital and ICT Reuse

For more information on the digital investment factors see Appendix A.

How can I implement this standard?

  1. Recraft your procurement process by introducing a stage covering planning considerations prior to drafting procurement requirements. See the Digital Sourcing Lifecycle for more information on what a plan stage should include.
  2. Ensure buyers are aware the procurement process starts a lot earlier than they may think. Remind buyers the decisions they make prior to starting a procurement strongly influence their investment outcome.
  3. Make delegates aware that buyers should consider and incorporate the digital investment factors prior to seeking approval.
  4. Provide guidance so that buyers can understand how each factor applies to them. This can be done by linking to the DTA's guidance or by using the guidance content in internal documentation.

Procurement Stage: Drafting Requirements

Requirements are designed to allow for a range of solutions to deliver business outcomes.

What is the standard? 

  1. Use outcomes focused requirements: Outcomes focused requirements are the default and preferred option, leaving sufficient room for the market to propose solutions.
    1. The limited circumstances where technical solutions could be specified are clearly outlined (such as low value, low risk commodity purchases).
    2. There is a regular review of the limited circumstance against market offerings, which re-validates the case for each limited circumstance.
  2. Creating smaller work packages, where possible, is promoted, helping to ensure businesses of all sizes can offer solutions to government.
    1. At a minimum, buyers set up their contracts to follow the Digital Sourcing Contract Limits and Reviews Policy.
  3. Make access easy for businesses of all sizes:
    1. Buyers provide clear, high-quality information up front to sellers. This includes minimising government jargon and ensuring information is easy to understand for a range of sellers.
    2. Buyers cannot specify that having worked with government is a condition of getting work and are discouraged from classifying work with a higher security classification than is required.

How can I implement this standard?

  1. To support a mindset shift towards using outcomes focused requirements, remind buyers this practice means the market can offer useful solutions they may not be aware of.
  2. Include prompts or guidance within Request for Quote (RFQ)/Request for Tender (RFT) templates.
  3. Embed practices within internal checklists and guidance.
  4. Ensure further guidance is available by linking to the DTA's guidance or by using the guidance content in internal documentation.

Procurement Stage: Approach the Market

Panels that offer a better experience for buyers and sellers are considered (if using a panel).

What is the standard?

  1. Buyers are encouraged to evaluate against the list of digital certified panels if a panel is their chosen sourcing mechanism.

How can I implement this standard?

  1. Encourage buyers to evaluate against the list of digital certified panels in internal templates and/or guidance about approaching the market.

Procurement Stage: Evaluation and Negotiation

Evaluations are set up to be fair to all sellers, enabling buyers to find the best opportunities to meet their needs.

What is the standard?

  1. Buyers are made aware that the best value for money is not necessarily the tender which offers the lowest price.
  2. Buyers do not unfairly advantage or disadvantage any tenderer. All tenderers should be afforded equal opportunity.
  3. Buyers ensure there is no bias or favouritism, while declaring and managing any conflicts of interest.
  4. Buyers maintain clear and transparent records to inform feedback to sellers.

How can I implement this standard?

  1. Prompt buyers on how to set up their evaluations to be fair in internal evaluation templates, checklists and/or guidance.
  2. Ensure further guidance is available by linking to the DTA's guidance or by using the guidance content in internal documentation.

Procurement Stage: Buying and Contracting

Procurement processes are streamlined to minimise burden and attract sellers.

What is the standard?

  1. Buyers are encouraged to simplify and streamline their procurement. Buyers should: 
    1. use the minimum number of steps to reach their outcome, reducing processes where possible
    2. clearly communicate their procurement process intentions to the market
    3. consider the financial impacts of lengthy processes on sellers
    4. request only necessary information from sellers
    5. use consistent contract templates where applicable (like the Digital Sourcing Contract Template Suite)

How can I implement this standard?

  1. Encourage buyers to reduce the number of steps used to go to the market. For example, buyers could use an outcomes focused brief instead of a multi-stage Request for Information (RFI)/RFT process. This can combine the Expression of Interest (EOI), RFI, RFQ/RFT stages into one stage.
  2. Encourage buyers to use a simpler tender process where possible. This includes encouraging the use of panel arrangements for purchases falling within categories well catered for by panels (e.g. hardware, software, data centres, telecommunications and cloud).
  3. Guide buyers to design contracts that focus on the quality of the outcome, with a shared understanding, high-trust partnerships, risk sharing and agreed flexibility in responding to change built in. This can be accomplished by encouraging buyers to:
    1. design their approach to market and contract formation stages to focus on what the seller must achieve (the outcomes), rather than how it is achieved (the inputs and outputs).
    2. put a greater focus on interactions over processes, responding to change over following a plan and quality of outcomes over number of hours or a set price.
  4. Make the procurement process user centred by ensuring that it meets the needs of casual and experienced buyers.
  5. Ensure appropriate engagement with risk. This can be done by:
    1. Having the delegate as close to the decision as possible.
    2. Not making internal processes more restrictive than they need to be (e.g. adding additional layers on top of base CPR requirements).
    3. Not mandating that buyers must obtain 3 quotes for under procurements under $80,000.
  6. Minimise procurement processes that require sellers to provide onerous amounts of information that may not be required.

Procurement Stage: Feedback and Management

Sellers are provided useful feedback that helps them improve.

What is the standard?

  1. Buyers provide useful feedback to sellers following a request for debrief. Feedback:
    1. must be detailed enough to help businesses improve their offering the next time they pitch to government.
    2. should be provided against the broad range of areas and criteria considered in the evaluation process.

How can I implement this standard?

  1. Provide buyers with guidance on how they can provide feedback. For example, they can provide feedback based on:


    1. A comparison of the offer to the evaluation criteria (not in comparison to other offers received)
    2. The strengths of the offer
    3. The weaknesses of the offer
    4. The suitability and attractiveness of the experience, qualifications, referee reports or past performance
    5. An indication of cost competitiveness
    6. The adequacy of the administrative or management systems.
    7. Any quality management issues
    8. The nominated personnel, e.g., Number, experience, skills, knowledge, and quality of management
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