Procurement and purchasing
Purchasing within the ALRC is guided by its Procurement and Purchasing Policy, which is consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) and the PGPA Act. As an agency expending public money, the ALRC must be accountable for its resources and expenditure.
The ALRC Procurement and Purchasing Policy sets ‘value for money’ as the core principle in procurement decisions and also ensures that ALRC procurement encourages competition and the proper use of resources, accountability and transparency. ‘Value for money’ in a procurement process requires a comparative analysis of all relevant costs and benefits of each proposal throughout the whole procurement cycle (whole-of-life costing) and making decisions in an accountable and transparent manner. ‘Value for money’ also involves adopting processes that reflect the scale and risk profile of a particular procurement and that simple procurements should be undertaken using simple processes.
Risk management is built into ALRC procurement processes and the extent of risk management required will vary from following routine procurement processes, to a significant undertaking involving the highest level of planning, analysis and documentation.
Where the Government has established a coordinated Whole-of-Government procurement contract for a particular property or service, the ALRC will use the Government contract established for that property or service, unless an exemption has been provided. The ALRC currently uses a coordinated procurement contract for travel, purchasing major office machines, desktop computers, Microsoft software and office supplies.
The ALRC publishes an Annual Procurement Plan on the AusTender website. The ALRC has previously reported Contract Notices for:
- Secure Internet Gateway—CN 3096982
- Subscriptions to online legal services—CN 3084922
- ICT support—CN 3081972
- Rent—CN 3081902
- Office supplies and stationary—CN 1014931 and CN 1014921
- Photocopiers—CN 824411.
- During 2016–17, no new contracts were entered into by the ALRC.
Procurement initiatives to support small business
The ALRC supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website.
Due to the nature of the operations of the ALRC and its small size, the ALRC’s procurement is small in scale and under the $200,000 threshold. Much of the ALRC’s procurement is either through Whole-of-Government panels or from SMEs. The ALRC’s Procurement and Purchasing Policy facilitates the involvement of SMEs in procurement by:
- adopting a risk assessment framework for procurement that is commensurate with the scale and scope of the procurement;
- communicating in clear simple language and presenting information in an accessible format; and
- utilising electronic systems to facilitate on-time payments where possible.
During 2016–17, the ALRC contracted with one Indigenous SME to provide services as follows:
Gilimbaa—production of artwork for the Inquiry into the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
The ALRC also purchased office supplies sourced from Muru Group.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.
From time to time, the ALRC may engage consultants. Prior to engaging consultants, the ALRC takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise.
During 2016–17, one new consultancy contract was entered into involving total actual expenditure of $0.010m, to update the ALRC Fraud Control Plan. There were no ongoing consultancy contracts active during the reporting period.
Advertising and market research
As required under s 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the ALRC reports that, during 2016–17, it did not undertake any advertising campaigns nor conduct any market research with advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, direct mail organisations, or media advertising organisations.
The ALRC is committed to the inclusion of people with disability in its inquiry work. The ALRC encourages consultation with people with disability by presenting our publications in a range of different formats and, at the end of our inquiries, providing community information sheets that outline the key recommendations made in its reports that may impact on people with disability, where relevant.
Information on How to Make a Submission and on the Law Reform Process is available on the ALRC website in Easy English. Easy English combines text and images to convey information simply and directly and is designed specifically for people with low English literacy.
Disability reporting is published in the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at apsc.gov.au.
The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the Strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. These reports can be found at dss.gov.au.
Freedom of information
Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an Annual Report. The ALRC Information Publication Plan is updated annually and contains details about the information held within the ALRC, and how it handles this information. The Plan is published on the ALRC website at www.alrc.gov.au/ips-agency-plan.
During 2016–17, the ALRC received no FOI requests.
Legal services expenditure
As per the Legal Services Directions 2005, the ALRC reports that during 2016–17 the ALRC was compliant with these Directions. The ALRC spent $7,557.50 on legal expenditure for 2016–17.
Work health and safety
The ALRC is committed to providing and maintaining the highest degree of work health and safety for all employees and other persons who engage with the ALRC’s work by aiming to prevent all injury and illness potentially caused by working conditions. The ALRC recognises its responsibility to provide a healthy and safe workplace for employees and to provide them with easily accessible information on work health and safety matters.
The ALRC Health and Safety Management Arrangements and Work Health and Safety Policy (WH&S Policy) provide the framework for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all its employees. The ALRC has a commitment to consult with employees and their representatives on health and safety issues and to work together to ensure a safe work environment. As part of this, the ALRC shares relevant information about health, safety and welfare with employees and ensures that they are given the opportunity to express their views and to contribute in a timely fashion to the resolution of work health, safety and welfare issues.
The ALRC supports the use of a risk management approach to work health and safety. The ALRC identifies any potential risks to the health and safety of ALRC employees and puts in place strategies to minimise any potential hazards or risks. WH&S policies are accessible to employees on the ALRC file server and new employees are provided with information on work health and safety as part of the induction process.
The ALRC has a Work Health and Safety Committee that meets at least once per year, or as needed. ALRC employees have a responsibility to report to the Committee any situation that could constitute a hazard to the health, safety or welfare of any ALRC employee. There were no accidents or any dangerous occurrences during 2016–17 that required giving of notice under the WH&S Act.
All employees undertake emergency procedures training at least once per year. Fire Warden training is also undertaken on a regular basis as part of our tenancy requirements.
As a workplace health initiative under its Enterprise Agreement, the ALRC provides free and voluntary influenza vaccinations to staff each year. In 2016–17, ten employees took advantage of a free vaccination.
The ALRC also offers a reimbursement of up to $150 per annum for activities that contribute to employees’ health and well-being. In addition, all employees have access to a free and confidential counselling service that provides up to three free sessions of counselling per year.
The ALRC maintains efficient and effective environmental office practices that comply with relevant government policy and environmental legislation. The ALRC Environmental Management Policy is available on the ALRC website and, in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), it commits the ALRC to minimise the ecological footprint of its activities by:
- incorporating environmental management considerations into core business and management practices including the organisation of the ALRC core program—conducting inquiries;
- considering environmental impacts of all purchases made and ensuring that, wherever possible, options chosen include recyclable products, minimum packaging and minimum toxic chemicals;
- creating a culture where sustainable environmental management is considered an integral element of all ALRC activities and providing information to staff as to the recycling system and to maximising energy efficiency;
- setting measurable environmental targets as part of a continual improvement process;
- regularly monitoring environmental performance and providing reports to Government, as required; and
- reviewing this Policy at least every two years to ensure it is relevant and delivering desired outcomes.
In line with the principles of ecologically sustainable development, and in line with s 516A of the EPBC Act, the ALRC makes the following report for 2016–17:
The ALRC is located in the MLC Centre at Level 40, 19 Martin Place, Sydney. The MLC building has achieved 4.5 stars under the NABERS Energy rating system which is current until January 2018. NABERS is a performance-based rating system which measures the overall environmental performance of a building during its hours of operation.
Automated lighting controls are used in the ALRC office that switch off office lighting when people are out of the office, and non-essential lighting outside of work hours. Employees are requested to turn off computers, printers and photocopiers over weekends to minimise energy use.
Waste and recycling
The ALRC supports recycling programs including for paper, co-mingled material and electronic equipment as part of our office tenancy. ALRC employees are encouraged to sort waste appropriately in order to maximise recycling and minimise the ALRC disposal of waste to landfill.
The ALRC office is located at the MLC Centre and it is not possible to rate the ALRC water usage separately. NABERS Water measures the water consumption of an office building on a scale of one to five stars, reflecting the performance of the building relative to the market, from least efficient (one star) to best practice (five stars). Two and a half stars is the current market average. The MLC building received a rating of 2.5 stars under the NABERS Water rating system, which is valid until January 2018.
ALRC employees are encouraged to undertake air travel only where there is a demonstrated business need and other communication methods, such as teleconferencing, are not available or not appropriate in the circumstances. The ALRC’s air travel is most commonly to undertake consultations for inquiry purposes and to ensure that people from around Australia are able to meet with the ALRC about the areas of law that are under review.
The ALRC does not have a vehicle fleet. When ALRC Executives are provided with vehicles as part of their remuneration package they must conform to the ALRC Executive Vehicle Policy in which they are asked to treat fuel efficiency and carbon emissions as significant factors when choosing a vehicle. ALRC employees use public transport and share vehicles as far as possible.
The ALRC has committed to reducing the amount of print copies of documents produced. Consultation papers are now only published online, unless there are special circumstances that require a hard copy to be produced.
All employees are encouraged to consider ways to minimise printing and encouraged to print double-sided for documents that are for internal purposes. The general-use office copy paper is 100% recycled, carbon neutral and Forest Stewardship Council rated.
As part of the government’s digital transition policy, the ALRC has moved away from the creation and storage of paper records and in turn has reduced both the usage of paper and the amount of printing done by the organisation.