The process of engaging with suppliers to obtain an offer will depend on the complexity of the procurement being undertaken and the nature of the marketplace. A suite of tools has been developed with the objective of providing simple, consistent and scalable templates for low to medium complexity procurement. For more complex procurement buyers should engage with their internal procurement unit.
It is based on the premise that an invitation to the market can have characteristics that are applicable across government, to an organisation and specific to a procurement project.
These templates are to be used as a base only and should be used in conjunction with the VGPB guidance material.
Organisations and procurement practitioners should ensure they have the capability to develop documents to undertake a market approach or seek further assistance from procurement experts and legal advisers.
Policies and guides that support the market approach templates
The following policies and guides support the market approach templates:
Templates support the market approach templates
The following templates are used with the market approach templates:
Related information that support the market approach templates
Access information that supports use of the market approach templates:
How to use the market approach templates
Use of these market approach templates is not mandatory. These templates have been designed to reduce the burden often felt by Small to Medium Enterprises in responding to quote or a tender and to simplify the procurement process. Suppliers have been consulted in compiling these templates. The templates have been developed as a base for buyers to build on as the complexity of the procurement increases.
Differences between the Expression of Interest template and the Invitation to supply template are:
- The Expression of Interest template is an invitation to suppliers to demonstrate their interest in a proposed procurement and/or for buyers to gain a better understanding of the market place. The Expression of Interest template clearly states that it is part of a multi stage process. It also clearly states that there is no intent to engage a supplier as a direct outcome. The Expression of Interest template should be used as part of a multi stage procurement process.
- The Invitation to supply template invites offers from suppliers and provides intent to engage as an outcome of the process subject to the objectives of the procurement being met by an Offer.
Local Jobs First clause
In the past the templates included the Local Jobs First (Victorian Industry Participation Policy) clauses. To ensure that these clauses are the most current and accurate, the template invitation documents and contracts refer to the .
An Expression of Interest and Invitation to supply have a legal status and the conditions of participation may constitute a process contract that is binding on both the organisation releasing the invitation and the supplier.
In the Hughes aircraft case in 1997, a landmark legal judgement was made. The Federal Court of Australia found that the Civil Aviation Authority had failed to adhere to the evaluation criteria described in their request for tender for a new air traffic control system. The Court found that the Civil Aviation Authority had changed the selection criteria after tenders had been submitted, giving more weight to particular criterion than the request for tender had stipulated. This was done without telling the tenderers and without asking them to re-tender on the basis of the revised criteria.
By departing from the terms of its own request for tender, the Civil Aviation Authority breached the ‘process contract’ it had implicitly entered into with the tenderers. This case highlighted that issuing terms and conditions within an RFT has the potential to be interpreted by the courts as a ‘process contract’ between the organisation inviting offers and the tenderers.
As such if the organisation wishes to change something in their invitation documents they should do so in a clear and transparent way. If the change is made prior to offers being lodged, suppliers should be given sufficient time to address the change. If the change is made after offers are lodged, suppliers must be given fair opportunity to resubmit the section of the offer affect by the change.
Reviewed 14 September 2023