Multi-agency contracts

You must make sure every agency-specific contract contains multi-agency access provisions.
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What you need to know
  1. Multi-agency access arrangements allow for ‘piggybacking’ off another agency’s contract or scheme.
  2. Where you set up a new arrangement you should always make sure you include multi-agency access provisions.
  3. Using a multi-agency access arrangement can be a good option when it’s not appropriate to use a whole-of-government contract.
  4. You must accept the same terms and conditions as the existing arrangement.
  5. Multi-agency access arrangements can help provide volume discounts and make a contract easier to manage.

What is a multi-agency access arrangement

Multi-agency access arrangements are contracts or schemes one agency establishes but which other agencies can access to buy goods or services. This practice is also known as ‘piggybacking’.

Piggybacking can deliver substantial value by reducing the number of approaches to market and creating volume discounts.

Piggybacking is different from whole-of-government or cluster contracting, in which you pool your requirements with other agencies before approaching the market. Instead, in piggybacking, one agency establishes an arrangement independently and then makes it available to others.

Create a multi-agency access arrangement

You should make sure every new scheme, contract or other arrangement you develop has multi-agency provisions. Ideally, you should consider how you will allow multi-agency access at the start of a procurement so it will form part of the resulting contract.

You should consider who’ll administer the arrangement including who is responsible for ongoing tasks. Usually, this will be you. That’s especially true if you’re responsible for the arrangement based on your accreditation level or under a category management plan.

You should also consider:

  • who’s responsible for practicalities such as resourcing, managing change, placing orders and paying suppliers
  • how you’ll communicate any changes to the arrangement to other agencies
  • how you’ll pass on other agencies’ feedback to suppliers
  • how you’ll document arrangements between agencies, such as buying volumes
  • any mechanisms for reporting, including to the Procurement Board.

Using a multi-agency access arrangement

You are authorised to buy from multi-agency access arrangements provided the establishing agency (the contract owner) agrees. You must accept the terms and conditions of the existing contract.

You should consider the size and nature of your procurement before deciding to piggyback off a multi-access arrangement. For example, if your procurement will significantly increase the volume or value of the contract, you should consider if a new approach to market will deliver better value for money.

Before you use a multi-agency access arrangement, you should always consider whether:

  • the arrangement’s terms allow you to piggyback off it
  • it really does meet your needs
  • it will help you achieve value for money
  • the market has changed substantially since the arrangement was made.

Sample clauses to include

Below are some sample multi-agency access provisions you can include in new arrangements.

Head agreement: to other NSW agencies to piggyback

“If any government agency* requires the supplier to supply the goods and services to the agency, then the supplier agrees that it will enter into a separate customer contract with that government agency or public body on terms provided in this deed as though the Principal entered into this deed on behalf of that government agency or public body, having regard only to necessary changes to reflect that the goods and services are to be supplied to the government agency or public body. “

Where known, agencies should identify which agencies are likely to piggyback on the arrangement, such as other agencies, or those that have expressed an interest in joining. They can also include a general provision to enable other (unnamed) agencies to join.

* As defined in the Public Works and Procurement Act 1912 or a public body as defined in Clause 6 of the Public Works and Procurement Regulation 2019.”

Clause for dealing with sharing of confidential information

“Agencies should ensure that terms and conditions of the contract do not include a confidentiality requirement that prevents the contract, including pricing, being provided to other agencies. This is consistent with ensuring value for money.”