Weigh your options

The type of goods, works or services you plan to buy will help determine how you can approach the market.

There are several options to approach the market and find a supplier. Each time you start the buying process, your options will be different.

You must be fair and follow probity standards when dealing with suppliers.

Buying process options

Buying processes include:

  • selecting from a state purchase contract
  • selecting from an established panel
  • selecting from your organisation's contract with a sole supplier
  • selecting from a register of pre-qualified suppliers
  • open competitive process
  • getting quotes direct from suppliers

You are encouraged to buy from established panels and registers. Organisations may need to use certain panels or registers, so check with your procurement governance unit.

Finding a supplier from a panel or register

Panels and registers reduce the time and effort it takes you to buy goods, works or services. Suppliers listed on the panels or registers have been assessed on their ability to provide goods, works or services. Find out more.

If you’re buying works or construction services, you may select your supplier from a prequalified register.

If you are buying goods or services, you may need to buy from a whole-of-Victorian-Government contract, also known as a state purchase contract (SPC).

You can browse government contracts here.

Please remember to check with your procurement governance unit as there might be an existing contract in place.

Buying for construction

When buying for works or construction services the buying process depends on the expected cost.

Follow the guidance under Direction and Instruction 3.2.

Buying for goods or services

When buying goods or services, your organisation will have processes that will take into account:

  • how complex it is to buy this good, work or service
  • how many potential suppliers are in the market
  • whether you need to select a supplier in 1 stage or several stages
  • how suppliers can meet standards for social procurement
  • the value and length of the proposed contract

Goods and services mandated agencies must do complexity and capability assessments. Those organisations need to use a tool to assess how complex their procurement requirements are.

All other organisations are encouraged to do a complexity assessment, but aren’t required to do so.


Detailed complexity assessment tool - goods and services
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If your procurement is complex, please contact your procurement governance unit for help.

Open competitive process

An open competitive process can be done in one or more stages. If there is more than one stage, you could start by learning more from potential suppliers.

You can learn from suppliers about options through:

  • Market sounding
  • Expressions of Interest

Market sounding is when you ask suppliers in the market for information and guidance about solutions you could buy.

An Expression of Interest is when you have a better idea of what you need to buy.

You then find out how many suppliers are willing and able to provide what you need.

Using either of these options can streamline your buying process.

Get quotes from suppliers

You may be able to make direct contact with one or more suppliers for a quote.

You can ask for a direct quote when the purchase is low value.

When buying goods or services, check with your procurement governance unit about the values.

When buying construction works or services, Instruction 3.2 defines the values of when you can get a direct quote from a supplier.

Mandatory guide for buying uniforms and personal protective equipment

If there are local manufacturers for uniforms or personal protective equipment (PPE), you must buy from them. This guide applies regardless of the value of the goods.

There is a register of suppliers for uniforms and protective equipment.

If you can prove goods can’t be or aren’t manufactured locally, you can consider imported goods.

The Victorian Government recommends you buy paper from one of two whole-of-Victorian-Government contracts.

You should buy copy paper from the Stationery and Workplace Consumables contract. This is paper used for everyday office purposes.

You should buy quality paper needed for marketing and presentation purposes from the Print Management and Associated Services contract.

Buying during emergencies

Your organisation will have processes for buying goods and services in emergency events. These processes help you to streamline your buying approach.

Emergencies can be defined as events: