Principles underpin procurement

Understand how procurement principles can help guide decisions.

Procurement principles

Procurement principles underpin the procurement policy frameworks and apply to all government agencies. The principles set out the overarching values that apply when spending public money.

Use the principles together with procurement policies to guide procurement decisions.

Purpose of the procurement rules

The purpose of the procurement rules is to support delivery of goods, works and services that are:

  • efficient
  • effective
  • economical

For public construction, this is set out at Purpose of these Directions (Construction Direction 1.1).

Guiding principles for procurement

Agencies must act in a manner consistent with the following procurement principles:

(a) value for money, taking into account:

  • the total benefits and costs over the life of the goods, services or works procured
  • environmental, social and economic factors
  • any risk related to the procurement

(b) accountability for procurement commensurate with appropriate levels of authority and responsibility

(c) probity in the conduct of procurement processes through the application of:

  • integrity
  • ethical behaviour
  • fairness
  • transparency

(d) scalability so that rules and processes are appropriate and efficient, taking into account the:

  • capability of available resources
  • complexity of the procurement undertaken

For goods and services, there are four principles which underpin VGPB policies:

  • value for money
  • accountability
  • probity
  • scalability

Further details on achieving value for money when procuring goods and services can be found in the Value for money - goods and services guide.

For Construction, there are ten construction procurement principles, which are set out Guiding principles (Construction Direction 1.2).

Probity principles

Probity principles are set out in:

Following probity principles helps Agency people meet the requirements of the Public Administration Act (Section 7), that they:

  • act impartially
  • act with integrity, and
  • avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest.

The Code of Conduct for the Victorian Public Sector reinforces these requirements.

Responsibility for probity

Probity is the responsibility of all Agency people involved in:

  • procurement
  • tendering
  • contract management

This can include anyone from a junior staff member to the Agency head. It also includes external specialists. It is everyone’s duty to ensure that the procurement process is open and fair.

An Agency cannot transfer responsibility for probity to an outside probity practitioner. An Agency can take advice and receive support from a probity practitioner during or after a tender process, but Agency people and any external specialists retain primary accountability for meeting high probity standards.

More principles may apply under International Agreements

The list of Agencies subject to International Agreements is at:

When International Agreements apply, Agencies must treat international suppliers in the same way as local suppliers.

For requirements of International Agreements, see: