Acquisition/Procurement Policy and Procedures

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose and Scope
  2. Definitions
  3. Overview of Procurement Process and Confidentiality
  4. Delegation of Authority
  5. Sustainability and Buy Local
  6. Procurement Process (Expenditure Limits)
  7. Suppliers, Vendors or Consultants
  8. Call for Tenders (RFP, Criteria)
  9. Selection Process
  10. Contract Principles, Review and Management

1. Purpose and Scope

The purpose of the FRC Procurement Policy and Procedures (Procurement Policy) is to structure FRC’s purchasing processes and sourcing strategies to ensure that the services and goods we acquire are the result of transparent, objective, time and cost-effective decision making and risk management. This Policy is rooted in FRC’s and FRC Members’ commitment to continuous and performance-driven improvement and bench-marking.

This Procurement Policy applies to all FRC staff, managers, directors, and officers as well as any agent(s) for FRC seeking to acquire, acquiring and/or managing ongoing contractual relationships for the provision of services and/or goods to or on behalf of FRC. It is not a box-ticking exercise, but rather implies careful consideration at all stages of the procurement process, including before and after. Adhering to this Policy is mandatory; violations may result in disciplinary action.

This Policy may be shared with potential suppliers, donors, and external partners, and incorporated into any resulting contractual relationship.

2. Definitions

The below are definitions of terms used throughout this Policy. When in doubt, speak to your manager, the Procurement Manager, Financial Services or Legal Services.

2.1 Bid, proposal or tender: is the offer from a possible vendor or consultant responding to an invitation from FRC for that offer.

2.2 Procurement Manager: is the FRC staff person(s) dedicated to handling FRC procurement issues, developing templates, and answering any questions relative to this Policy.

2.3 Procurement Process: is the acquisition process (purchasing) of goods and/or services. FRC’s procurement process is meant to ensure that FRC’s needs are met for the best possible cost in terms of quality, time, and other relevant factors to support FRC’s business operations.

2.4 Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Interest (RFI): is an invitation from FRC defining a need, outlining certain project perimeters and criteria by which FRC will select a winning bid (in this case, a proposal that discretely sets out what service and good will provided, for how much, when and how, etc.)

3. Overview of Procurement Process and Confidentiality

This Procurement Policy applies to all acquisitions of goods/services at the FRC. All purchases (and perhaps even most) will not need to go through a formal tender process, but will remain subject to this Procurement Policy. To see when a tender process is needed and how it should look like, see the below tender limits at Section 6. Procurement Process (Expenditure Limits).

Adhering to this Policy will be the responsibility of the relevant business unit seeking to acquire the goods/services, and as required or requested, in consultation with the Procurement Manager or Financial Services.

While this Policy may be shared with potential bidders and donors, several aspects of the procurement process are confidential. Offers or tenders received from applicants are strictly confidential to FRC and should not be shared with potential or actual applicants in order to ensure fair and unbiased competition. The results of any offer or tender may be shared directly with the applicant only, including a summary as to why it was not selected.

Record-keeping will be of utmost importance for accounting and auditing reasons.

4. Delegation of Authority

Annex B to Clause 23 of the FRC Rules of Procedure (“Delegation of Authority”) and any further “FRC internal procedures” as referred to in the Delegation of Authority set out how authority to engage FRC financially is delegated from FRC’s Secretary General to staff. All FRC staff should be familiar with the Delegation of Authority and FRC/CS internal procedures, including on avoidance of oral agreements or commitments.

This Procurement Policy must be read in conjunction with the Delegation of Authority and FRC internal procedures, which take precedence. Importantly, all engagements (except as explained in Delegation of Authority and FRC/CS internal procedures, e.g., for “click-through” agreements) must be approved by two signatories. When in doubt, speak to your manager or a member of Legal Services.

As such, all normal budget constraints and approval processes shall also apply to any procurement process.

5. Sustainability and Buy local

All purchasing of goods or engagement of services at FRC must comply not only with Australian and US law, as FRC is headquartered in and subject to the laws of Australia, but also meet or exceed the guidelines from US, UK, Canada, EU and NZ as well as those related to the transparency of project management and administration of projects and contracts with development agencies.

Sustainability Guidelines

Buy locally guidelines

The FRC is committed to backing local manufacturers and businesses to create jobs and stimulate the economies to deliver growth. The intention of the FRC’s Buy Local Policy is to increase awareness of the requirements for, and benefits in, buying locally and improve access to FRC for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

These guidelines:

  • enhance opportunities for local manufacturers and businesses to compete for FRC business by:
    • requiring FRC to take into account the wider community and social benefits of purchasing decisions; and
    • promoting within the FRC, the advantages of buying locally;
  • reduce administrative burden on businesses providing services by simplifying procurement documentation;
  • provide businesses with key information, tips, tools and training to effectively increase their future competitiveness to win government business; and
  • increase transparency in relation to FRC procurement activities.

Such laws and guidelines include human rights, environmental, employment, health and safety, anti- avoidance and anti-corruption regulations. It should be noted that FRC is not subject to GST taxes, as prescribed in its Australian Taxation Office.

Further to the applicable FRC staff rules and the Code of Conduct and Ethics, this Procurement Policy commits all staff to upholding ethical conduct, social responsibility, transparency, auditability and accountability, and sound risk-management in the context of procurement. Deviations from this should be reported to the relevant line manager, Procurement Manager, Legal Services, and/or

Financial Services.

When selecting possible vendors or consultants, FRC shall strive to seek partners of the same or similar mindset and corresponding business operations.

As said above, this Procurement Policy is meant to encourage open and wide competition for the best quality/priced goods and services. As such, FRC procurement processes must always comply with the following;

  • Procurement processes should be fair, unbiased, consistent, and aim to attract the widest and diverse pool of applicants as possible and appropriate.
  • Compliance with applicable laws and regulations is strictly required.
  • FRC procurement should be consistent with socially responsible, diversity and ethical business operations and practices.
  • Engagements made on FRC’s behalf must follow the delegation of authority as described in

Delegation of Authority and FRC/CS internal procedures.

  • The procurement process shall be the responsibility of the relevant business unit, with systematic assistance from the Procurement Manager as required or requested, in order to ensure that another person can review an ensure the process is being followed.
  • Selection should be based on transparent and objective criteria, free from personal interests, biases, or other untoward or political influences.
  • All records should be as complete and accurate as possible, and timely kept.
  • Any contract review shall be in accordance with the Legal Services’ normal quality management practices.

6. Procurement Process (Expenditure Limits)

All acquisition of goods/services for FRC shall comply with the following processes, according to the below-described expenditure limits. The Procurement Manager may nevertheless assist if there are any concerns regardless of the exact monetary limit, especially if there may be a significant impact on FRC.

6.1 Up to USD 50 000. Any expenditure by FRC for goods/services up to USD 50 000 shall comply with all the principles set forth in this Procurement Policy. No formal call for tenders is required, unless other factors imply a significant impact on FRC.

Such factors include where an engagement would affect FRC’s reputation and integrity, and/or have a political or strategic impact, and/or imply an endorsement by FRC. Business units are expected to use best

6.2 Between USD 50 000 and USD 100 000. Any expenditure by FRC for goods/services between USD 50 000 and USD 100 000 shall require that the relevant business unit request and obtain at least 3 (three) offers from possible vendors or consultants. Although this does not require an RFP/RFI or other formal tender process (except as described in Section 6.1 above, e.g., where an engagement would affect FRC’s reputation and integrity, and/or have a political or strategic impact, and/or imply an endorsement by FRC), proper documentation and adherence to all the principles of procurement herein apply.

6.3 Over USD 100 000. Any expenditure by FRC for goods/services for over USD 100 000 should be accompanied by a formal call for tenders (e.g., RFP) and done in consultation with the

Procurement Manager. It is up to the business unit to determine whether the project management of the procurement process will be done by the Procurement Manager or the business unit. Nevertheless, the Procurement Manager should be consulted on the RFP document itself, the selection process or weighting of criteria and at the close of any contractual undertaking. Regular feedback to relevant LT member and/or Procurement

Manager/Financial Services, as appropriate, would be expected in cases with a significant impact on FRC.

Risk Management. Regardless of the exact expenditure, all purchasing shall include an appropriate and proportionate risk management analysis. Any purchase or engagement for services with external parties inherently exposes FRC (and possibly its Members) to a variety of risks. It shall be the responsibility of the relevant business unit seeking to acquire the goods and/or services to undergo and document its risk manage analysis, including the identification and mitigation.

Artificial Limit Compliance. These above expenditure limits are meant to ensure the proper use of procurement processes to obtain the best and most cost-effective service/good to meet FRC’s need.

Artificial splitting of contracts or projects in order to avoid the implications of another procurement process category is strictly prohibited. When in doubt, business units must consult their relevant FRC Director member, and/or Procurement Manager/ Financial Services.

Auditability and Accountability. For any FRC purchase, good record-keeping is important, including as may be required by law and by internal FRC Procedures This includes keeping an original copy of all invoices for goods and services for 10 years (in paper or electronic form, if supported), from the end of the year in which the expense was incurred.

Business units should at a minimum also maintain a copy of (1) how and from whom the need for the acquisition originated, (2) the approval or project management process by which the purchase was authorized, (3) all records pertaining to the source of the service or good, (4) the performance of the vendor or consultant, and (5) any remedial measures taken where performance or compliance so required it.

Continuous Improvement. FRC staff or agents engaged in procurement for FRC shall strive to continually seek relevant training and perform self or team assessments to support ethical and sustainable procurement processes at FRC, and in accordance with normal FRC business operations.

As FRC and its Members are committed to FRC’s continuous improvement, all vendors and consultants with whom FRC does business are expected to be likewise demonstrably committed to judgment and in case of doubt consult with an LT (Leadership Team) member, the Procurement Manager and/or Financial Services.  The continuous improvement of its goods/services, including identifying and setting performance targets within the context of their relationship with FRC.

7. Suppliers, Vendors or Consultants

FRC only partners with suppliers, vendors or consultant that attest they respect and comply with all applicable health, safety, environmental, employment and fiscal regulations. Any known violations or inability to provide the appropriate evidence shall disqualify any supplier, vendor or consultant from the procurement process.

The relevant business unit seeking or managing the acquisition will also manage the vendor or consultant relationship. For contracts of particular impact on FRC, feedback should be given to the relevant LT member and Procurement Manager/Financial Services.

Any conflicts of interests that may arise in the context of a possible or ongoing vendor/consultant relationship should be immediately raised with the relevant manager of the business unit, who may escalate its resolution, in accordance with internal FRC Staff Rules Edition 2016.

8. Call for Tenders (RFP, Criteria)

A call for tenders is an essential part of any formal procurement plan. Due consideration must be given to the manner in which the call is released, how to effectively describe the service/good FRC is requesting (with a clearly defined aim), and by which criteria FRC will judge timely, eligible bids.

Open/Restricted. Calls for tenders should preferably be open (widely advertised). In some cases a more targeted approach (whereby a few possible applicants are directly contacted) may be more effective, especially in cases of genuine time or source constraints. Derogations must be authorized by the Procurement manager, who must keep a list of such derogations so the reason for the derogation is documented. However, casting a wider (but cost-efficient) net may help to attract a wider and more diverse pool of applicants. Where appropriate, social media can be helpful in getting the word out. Business units must consult the Procurement Manager on both the content and the manner of invitation for a call for tender to help strike the right balance.

Templates. When issuing a call for tender where the business unit is seeking a more detailed proposal of the service/good offered to meet FRC’s need, business units may use the RFP template maintained by the Procurement Manager.

A critical part of any RFP will be the careful selection and weighting of criteria. This is essential in the later selection process. Such criteria may include:

  • Cost competitiveness of the offer
  • Service and service level coverage
  • Ability to meet timeframes
  • Company profile and stability
  • Geographical coverage
  • Compliance with relevant regulatory bodies
  • Relevant experience and references
  • Ease of implementation
  • Communication and technology
  • Innovation and continuous process improvement
  • Methodology and project management
  • Environmental contribution and compliance
  • Ability to respond to FRC financial requirements such as prices
  • Future developments

The Procurement Manager can provide assistance in defining and weighting criteria for an RFP or other call for tender.

9. Selection Process

Selection shall be made in a neutral and transparent manner and in accordance with the criteria predetermined in the initiation phase or as per the call for tenders. Cost-effectiveness and quality shall figure heavily in any weighted selection process.

The purchasing of goods or engagement for services from external sources bears inherent risks.

Any selection process shall also take due consideration to manage any pre-identified risks of the acquisition and any potential risks of the engagement itself, including vis-à-vis the selected vendor or consultant.

The selection process should correspond to the delegation of authority in the Delegation of Authority and internal FRC/CS procedures.

Unsuccessful bids or offers should be notified to the applicant as soon as possible, while taking care to maintain confidentiality vis-à-vis other applicants, including the successful applicant.

10. Contract Principles, Review and Management

Per Section 4. Delegation of Authority above, all FRC contracts (including related to a procurement process) are subject to execution in accordance with Delegation of Authority and internal FRC procedures. This also includes contract review by Legal Services, in accordance with its quality management practices.

 

Relevant business units must involve Legal Services as soon as possible in the procurement process so as to help identify and mitigate any risks, as well as increase efficiency for contract review and negotiation. Where possible, FRC’s terms and conditions should be used, particularly for Framework

Agreements and subsequent Project Agreements. Variation from FRC terms and conditions should be kept to a minimum.

This Policy may be referred to in contract review and negotiation,

All contracts, including amendments, purchase orders, and other contractual documentation should be properly kept by the relevant business unit, in accordance with internal FRC practices on archiving and record-keeping.

Any relevant feedback regarding performance, including possible breaches or failures to perform, should be timely notified to the relevant line manager and/or Legal Services, as appropriate.