Contract disclosure – goods and services procurement guide

Find out when and how to disclose contract information.

Contracts subject to disclosure

The Contract management and contracts disclosure policy requires disclosure of:

  • key contract details for all contracts with a value at or above $100,000 (including GST)
  • the full contract for contracts with a value at or above $10 million (including GST)
  • true, meaningful, and accurate data.

All contract information must be published on Buying for Victoria – Tenders within 60 days of the award of a contract.

Contracts over $10 million (including GST) must be disclosed in Agency annual reports, as set out under Financial Reporting Direction 12 (Disclosure of major contracts).

Responsibility to disclose

Contract disclosure, including disclosure of variations, ensures high standards of probity and transparency in government procurement and engenders public trust. Disclosing contracts allows suppliers and the Victorian community to access clear and accurate information relating to government contracts and understand how Agencies perform their functions.

Agencies must assess compliance with the contract disclosure requirements and address any non-compliance under the Financial Management Act 1994's Standing Directions 2018.

In addition to disclosing on Buying for Victoria – Tenders goods and services mandated agencies are required to disclose contracts over $10 million (including GST) in annual reports Financial Reporting Direction 12 (Disclosure of major contracts).

Where contract disclosure is not required

There are limited reasons for not disclosing contract information. The reasons for not disclosing details of a contract, or any part of it, must be documented in accordance with the Agency's procedures and a register or equivalent must be maintained.

Contract disclosure is not required under the policy when:

  • buying from an internal shared service provider, as this transaction is not covered by the goods and services supply policies
  • making individual purchases under a state purchase contract head agreement.
    • This is because for head agreements, the Lead Agency will publish the state purchase contract details and disclose the total contract value at the head agreement. Individual purchases made under goods and services registers are required to be disclosed as these are open arrangements and are not disclosed at the head agreement.

Redacting information from contracts

It is still possible for an Agency to disclose a contract by redacting information (like trade secrets) before publishing it.

Redacting information can be done in several ways, for example:

  • redacting certain information line by line, or
  • redacting whole sections of a contract where most of the information is confidential.

Redacting contract information is acceptable when there are clear and valid reasons why contract information is being withheld. Examples may include:

  • where confidentiality arises as a contractual obligation, including to protect a trade secret or genuinely commercial information
  • under legislation such as privacy legislation and the Freedom of Information Act 1982, which needs to be considered whenever making disclosures to (or not) publish contract information
  • where disclosure is likely to cause significant public harm, such as an Agency or a Minister being prevented from obtaining similar information in the future, or adversely affecting Victoria's economy
  • where the Agency does not have permission from the owner of the Intellectual Property to publish all or part of a contract despite a reasonable effort to overcome such obstacles.

Trade secrets

A trade secret or genuinely confidential business information is information that:

  • gives the owner of the information a competitive advantage over its competitors
  • would cause their business real commercial harm if disclosed.

Factors that can help determine whether information is a trade secret include:

  • the extent to which the information is in the public domain
  • steps taken by the owner of the information to safeguard the secrecy of the information
  • the investment made by the owner to develop the information
  • disclosure could harm the commercial position of the owner of the information.

How to disclose different types of contracts

Use of the list below will help to understand when and how to disclose contract information in different situations.

Individual contracts with a total estimated value equal to or exceeding $100,000 (including GST)

How to disclose:

  • individual contracts with an estimated value exceeding $10 million (including GST)
    • publish the full contract
    • trade secrets or genuinely confidential business information may be redacted
    • personal details including names and phone numbers should be redacted.

The contract contains intellectual property owned by a third-party and has a value exceeding $10M

How to disclose:

  • An Agency must make a reasonable attempt to gain the rights to publish contract information that is owned by a third-party.
  • Where the Agency has attempted to gain permission to publish such information and it has been denied:
    • referring to Agency protocols and procedures detailing such exceptions from disclosure, redact the intellectual property owned by a third-party
    • publish the contract.

Contract variations / material variation

How to disclose:

  • If a material variation has occurred, update the published contract or key contract details to reflect that there has been a variation.
    • A material variation can include variations to the contract price, contract term, the scope of work, contract terms and conditions, etc
    • Where one party to the contract changes (for example, the contract is transferred to another supplier/Agency through a novation, or another supplier is added to a state purchase contract), update the contract information accordingly.
    • State purchase contract Lead Agencies will periodically update the total spend figure under the head agreement and disclose the final value at the end of the contractual term.

Contracts with optional extensions

How to disclose:

  • Publish the total contract value for the initial contract term, noting in the description the contract has options to extend.
  • Where a contract extension option is exercised update both the contract period and the contract value.

Multi-stage procurements

How to disclose:

  • Publish the estimated total value noting in the description that it is a multi-stage procurement.
  • Disclose all individual purchases made under one head agreement if the head agreement is expected to be valued at or above $100,000 (including GST).
  • As each stage is agreed or commences, update the published head-agreement total value.
  • Where there is no committed contract value, but expenditure is expected to be greater than disclosure thresholds should the contract be exercised, publish the contract with a $0 value. Update the contract value as and when expended.

Goods and services registers

Browse goods and services registers

How to disclose:

  • Publish the individual purchase contract or contract details if the value of the individual purchase through a register is expected to be valued at or above $100,000 (including GST).

Contingency allowances

How to disclose:

  • Publish the contract value only. Contingency does not need to be disclosed.
  • Once the use of contingency amounts to a material variation, update the contract description, contract period, and contract value accordingly.

Options for additional goods or services

How to disclose:

  • Publish the initial contract value, without the cost of the options for additional goods or services.
  • Once an option is exercised,  treat the additional goods or services as a material variation and update the total contract value.

Contracts with a schedule of rates (panel or standalone) or price per unit

How to disclose:

  • Publish the estimated total contract value, noting in the description that the contract is a schedule of rates / unit price contract.
  • Disclose the initial scope and initial estimated contract value where this was revealed  during the procurement process.
  • If there is no information available to enable the Agency to estimate the contract value (for example, historical spend from previous arrangements of similar nature) or the estimated value is unknown at the contract start date, publish the contract details with a value of $0.
  • Advise that periodic updates to the disclosure will be made. Describe the frequency when updates to the disclosure will be made.
  • Do not disclose rates or the individual unit price separately.
  • Redact the rate or unit price for each item if publishing the entire contract. Do not include business operation and pricing structure information, for example, the price per unit or rate cost.
  • The Agency must follow its contract disclosure procedures to document the reason why the total estimated value of contract has not been provided and how the Agency intends to update the published information to complete the disclosure.

Panel arrangements (other than a state purchase contract), such as sole entity purchase contracts

How to disclose:

  • Publish the total estimated value at the head agreement level.
  • Refer to the guidance provided for contracts with schedules of rates (panel or standalone) or price per unit if the sole entity purchase contract is a contract with a schedule of rates or price per unit.
  • Publish any material variations.

Emergency procurement contract disclosure

How to disclose:

Disclose accurate data

When disclosing contract information, contract records must have true, meaningful and accurate data.

Agencies need to validate their data to ensure that the contract information disclosed:

  • provides all information required in the system fields
  • represents an accurate and complete public record of the awarded contract
  • provides sufficient information to suppliers and the Victorian community for future decision-making
  • does not breach legislative or other requirements
  • is entered accurately and consistently, meaning that all data is entered in the system the same way each time
  • is captured in one record, and that the same entry is not published more than once
  • does not mislead, for example, by selecting an unsuitable United Nations Standard Products and Services Code when categorising the contract type.

Know the contract start date

It is important to know when the contract will take effect and to disclose the correct start date. The contract will typically specify the date on which the contract begins, for example, it could be the date on which the award is made or when both parties sign the contract. When certain conditions must be met for a contract to be binding, the contract begins only after those conditions are met.

Total contract value

The initial contract value is the total contract value inclusive of GST, any premiums, fees, commissions, or any other amounts that are payable to the supplier under the contract.

Develop Agency procedures for contract disclosure

An Agency procedures should include:

  • guidance on how to identify contracts for disclosure, including how contract variations will be reflected in the published information
  • guidance on how to validate the information in the contract is true, meaningful, and accurate
  • an outline of the reasons for not disclosing a contract, or any part of it, including guidance on how to document non-disclosure of any contract, as a result of exemption or not.

Using this guide

This guide accompanies the goods and services supply policies. There are 5 supplies policies:

  • Governance policy
  • Complexity and capability assessment policy
  • Market analysis and review policy
  • Market approach policy
  • Contract management and contract disclosure policy

This guide supports the Contract management and contract disclosure - goods and services policy.

Tools and support

Access a document version of this guide in the Toolkit and library.

Contract management tools and templates are available in the goods and services toolkit to support this guide. They should only be used if relevant and should be modified to suit Agency needs.