Procurement basics

An introduction for new suppliers to how and where NSW Government buys goods and services.
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Four ways NSW Government buys

1. Contracts

A contract is an arrangement with one or more suppliers to provide specific goods or services to agency buyers for a fixed period of time.

There are 2 types of contracts:

  • Agency-specific
    Contracts set up by an agency for their own use, but can be available to other agencies.
  • Whole of government
    Contracts created to be used by all eligible buyers. The products and some services on these contracts are available to buy through eCatalogues.

Generally the owner of the contract will advertise a tender on eTendering for eligible suppliers to join a contract. T

A list of whole of government contracts is available on ProcurePoint. This list does not include all agency-specific contracts.

2. Schemes

A scheme is a list of pre-approved suppliers, framed with guidelines and rules on how agency buyers can do business with them.

Schemes are usually open ended and relate to a type of product or service, such as ICT or legal services. If suppliers want to join a scheme, they need to apply for prequalification.

The prequalification criteria is different for each scheme. Businesses usually need to show:

  • credit ratings and finances
  • technical capabilities or experience
  • any other condition set by the scheme.

There are 2 steps to join a scheme:

  1. register on eTendering
  2. apply to join a scheme.

3. Published tenders

A tender is a new business opportunity. Agencies publish their tenders on eTendering and interested suppliers can respond.

There are 4 main types of tenders:

  1. Expression of interest (EOI) 
    Government buyers use an EOI to test the market. It helps them find out if the goods or services are available and which suppliers can provide them. Suppliers who respond to the EOI, and are suitable, may be invited to tender later.
  2. Request for tender (RFT)
    Government buyers use an RFT to advertise an opportunity openly to all suppliers. All RFTs are published on eTendering for a period of between two to six weeks.
  3. Request for proposal (RFP)
    When the product or service is known and suppliers have some scope to propose innovative solutions, buyers use and RFP. Buyers sometimes use RFPs to shortlist suppliers and then invite them to tender.
  4. Request for quotation (RFQ)
    Government buyers use an RFQ to seek quotes from prequalified suppliers, generally through eQuote. They often use RFQs when the goods or services have standard terms and conditions.

4. Direct negotiation

Government buyers can negotiate directly with suppliers if no other government arrangements are available.

Government buyers may also make use of policy options that allow for direct negotiation. For example, initiatives that support Indigenous businesses.

Key procurement websites

As a supplier, these are the most important websites for you to know and use.

  • eTendering is where NSW Government agencies advertise tenders. Suppliers can register for tender notifications, apply for prequalification schemes and respond to tenders.
  • eQuote is where NSW Government agencies get quotes from suppliers who are on prequalification schemes.
  • eCatalogues is an online marketplace for goods available through contracts or supply arrangements.
  • buy.nsw/cloud is a marketplace for suppliers offering cloud software, hosting and infrastructure products.