How to buy

Updated: 15 Sep 2020

Selecting a supplier requires an assessment of risk, contract value and number of suppliers to engage, as outlined in your agency's procurement guidelines.

View the process overview flowchart  PDF, 106.02 KB.

After reviewing the process, the next step is to define your requirement and determine whether the scheme is right for you.

The scheme guidelines for customers PDF, 738.93 KB has information and tools to help you get the best value from the scheme through consistent application of simple methodologies.

When you are ready to engage scheme suppliers, you will need to decide suppliers to contact. You can then contact suppliers directly or invite suppliers to a request for quotation (RFQ). The scheme manager can also assist you with the RFQ process.

Requirements for buyers

Define need

As part of initiating any project, you need to follow your agency’s internal processes. These will inform your sourcing requirements and help you to establish a budget. As part of this, you can contact the scheme manager for assistance in determining whether your requirement can be fulfilled through the ITS 2573 scheme.

The scheme manager may also help you connect with other agencies that:

  • may be engaging suppliers for similar programs of work
  • may have the internal capability to fulfill your requirements
  • may have recently undertaken similar procurement activities and can share the lessons they learned along the way.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is the first step of the process to select a set of suppliers to engage.  The risk assessment guide PDF, 429.8 KB can help you determine the risk level of your sourcing activity. Prequalified suppliers should be engaged for high-risk sourcing activities, while the contract value should be examined for low-risk sourcing activities.

Please note that the risk assessment guide is a guide only. It does not replace existing agency-specific or NSW Government policies, procedures or guidelines relating to identification, mitigation or management of project risks.

process chart PDF, 94.72 KB can guide you on how to select the right set of suppliers to engage with.

After assessing your risk levels, please assess the value of your contract and choose the right kind of supplier.

To engage the scheme manager, please complete the needs assessment survey. If you need help, the scheme manager will contact you to discuss your requirements.

Contract value

Contract value means:

  • the total price including of GST
  • this cannot be split into lower-price components
  • the estimated total price over the proposed term of the contract (whole-of-life) and not a price per annum.

Some other considerations:

  • A contract with a supplier may result in the need for related “follow-on” contracts. These could be with the same supplier or an alternative supplier. The cumulative price of the first contract and any potential “follow-on” contracts can be more than $150,000 as they are separate engagements.
  • If there is the potential for the agreed scope of works to change during the term of the customer contract, resulting in the contract price being greater than $150,000, you should take this into account when choosing which set of suppliers you approach.

The approved supplier list XLSX, 62.77 KB lists both registered and prequalified suppliers.

  • Registered suppliers should only be engaged when the proposed activity is assessed as low risk and there is no potential for the total contract value to exceed $150,000. You can also consider prequalified suppliers from the same supplier list for these kinds of projects.
  • Prequalified suppliers must always be engaged if the contract value exceeds $150,000, or if the activity is assessed as high risk.

Number of suppliers to quote

Once you have determined whether to engage suppliers from the lists of prequalified or registered suppliers, you should use your agency’s procurement guidelines to determine the number of suppliers to invite for a request for quotation (RFQ).  Blanket RFQs can also be issued for high volume low value sourcing of certain equipment, infrastructure or services in line with your agency’s procurement guidelines.

The eQuote tool should be used to issue RFQs for most sourcing activities, including blanket RFQs. You can also engage suppliers directly for procuring equipment, infrastructure or services already sourced through a blanket RFQ and where your agency guidelines specify that only one supplier needs to be engaged.

You can use your own discretion to decide which suppliers to invite to submit proposals or tenders – you are not obliged to seek quotations from every supplier within a category or sub-category. To help you to identify suitable suppliers to invite for RFQs, you need to follow your agency’s procurement guidelines.  As a part of the due diligence process, the following preliminary investigations are suggested:

  • review the supplier’s profile on eQuote (including performance scores from agencies)
  • check their company website
  • contact referees for supporting information about that supplier’s performance
  • contact the supplier for an informal discussion about the requirement.

After determining the number of suppliers to approach you need to get quotes.

Getting quotes

An RFQ should be issued to suppliers in the ITS 2573 scheme through eQuote.  An eQuote guide PDF, 588.13 KB can help you to create RFQs for the ITS 2573 scheme.

After getting the quotes, please engage the supplier by completing the appropriate ITS 2573 order form.

Engaging a supplier

Once you have selected an appropriate supplier, you need to execute the right ITS2573 Master Supply Agreement (MSA) to engage them.

To do this, you have to:

  1. issue a purchase order with a special condition that states “under the terms and conditions of the ITS2573 agreement”
  2. complete the appropriate ITS 2573 order form:

Completing these steps ensures that the MSA with the supplier is executed, enabling your agency to obtain the relevant warranties and protection against liabilities.

After the supplier has delivered, we need to measure their performance.

Pricing

Pricing information is available on Supplier Price Guide. If you have access you can log in at catalogues.buy.nsw.

To view pricing information,you will need login access. Eligible buyers can request access via the NSW Procurement Service Centre on nswbuy@treasury.nsw.gov.au.

Measuring performance

To ensure that NSW Government agencies get the maximum value out of the scheme, simple tools help you manage contracts under this panel. The tools ensure that all suppliers on the scheme provide the level of service that you need, plus they give you the opportunity to rate the service from different suppliers.

Through the supplier performance survey, you can promote suppliers that provide a high level of service and goods or identify performance issues you may have encountered.

To provide the best information for all users of the scheme, it is recommended that you complete a supplier performance survey for each engaged supplier at the completion of an engagement.

Or you can choose to provide a consolidated performance survey for a supplier periodically through the year, when the scheme manager will issue reminders with links to the survey for completion.

To gather the best possible data on supplier performance, you will be asked to complete performance surveys on a quarterly basis for engaged suppliers where:

  • the total contract value of supply is more than $150,000 (including GST)
  • the sourcing activity was evaluated to be high risk
  • the engaged supplier’s performance could be improved.

In addition, the scheme manager may send out ad hoc requests for performance surveys to be completed.

The scheme manager can also provide you with a list of ITS 2573 suppliers that have been engaged by your organisation.

Results from performance surveys are consolidated quarterly and used to rate suppliers in eQuote. In addition, the scheme manager will provide consolidated feedback to suppliers during performance review sessions that will be held at least annually.

The results of feedback collected through this process may be used to assess the ongoing suitability of different suppliers for the ITS 2573 scheme.

As part of the process, the scheme manager might contact you for clarification on feedback you have provided.

FAQ for buyers

What is the ITS 2573 Scheme?

The scheme is part of the procurement reform to simplify contracts and tenders for industry to do business with NSW Government. The scheme provides:

  • radio communications and link equipment used for the provision of voice and data services
  • infrastructure and equipment required to support radio communications and linking network equipment
  • all services required to develop, plan, design, install, manage and maintain network equipment and infrastructure.

What is the duration of the ITS 2573 Scheme?

The current scheme runs from 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2027, at which point the Telco Authority will assess the scheme and determine whether to continue or amend the scheme to reflect any changing user needs.

What is the difference between registered and prequalified suppliers?

The ITS 2573 Scheme has an approved supplier list XLSX, 62.77 KB which lists both registered and prequalified suppliers.

  • Registered suppliers are approved to supply low risk contracts valued up to $150,000 each (inclusive GST)
  • Prequalified suppliers are approved to supply high risk contracts or contracts valued above $150,000 each (inclusive GST)

Registered suppliers should only be engaged with if the proposed activity is assessed as low risk and there is no potential for the total contract value to exceed $150,000. You may also consider prequalified suppliers for these contracts, they are found within the same list. Where there is potential for the contract value to exceed $150,000, or if the activity is assessed as high risk you should always engage prequalified suppliers.

What does ITS 2573 contract value mean?

The total contract value is the cost over the proposed term (whole-of-life) of the contract and not the price per annum. The contract cannot be split into lower-price components. If there is potential for the agreed scope of work to exceed $150,000, this should be taken into account when choosing which set of suppliers to approach. However if there is the need for a related 'follow-on' contract, the same or an alternative supplier could be used. Due to this 'follow-on' contract being classified as a separate engagement and can be up to or greater than $150,000.

What happens if there is a dispute?

If a dispute occurs between customer and supplier, they must attempt to resolve the situation. If a resolution cannot be reached, the scheme manager, the NSW Telco Authority, may facilitate an outcome or either party may request the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre to nominate an independent expert.

How will supplier performance be managed under the scheme?

Performance management will be based on key performance indicators (KPIs), which are outlined in the scheme rules for suppliers  PDF, 313.07 KB. There is a significant focus on the delivery of reporting requirements and client satisfaction. Suppliers may be suspended or removed from the scheme if they do not meet their KPI requirements.

What if the supplier I want to use is not on the scheme?

To ensure eligible buyers can continue to comply with Procurement Board Direction 2019-04, they should encourage their preferred suppliers to submit their applications for the ITS 2573 Scheme. Suppliers will need to complete the online application.

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

If you have any queries regarding the eQuote and eTendering websites, please contact nswbuy@treasury.nsw.gov.au

For all other enquiries, please email ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au with your contact details and your query. All queries will be responded to within 2 business days.

Who manages the equipment sub-panels?

The NSW Telco Authority administers the terminal equipment sub-panel on behalf of the NSW Government. The scheme manager can be contacted at ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au

Who developed the equipment sub-panels?

Developing the equipment sub-panels has been a whole of government project, including representatives from NSW Telco Authority, Ambulance Service of NSW, NSW Police Force and State Emergency Services NSW.

Why have the panels been developed?

The panels have been developed to help eligible buyers buy operational telecommunications equipment to meet their needs. Products can often be difficult to compare to one another and establish both value and equivalent functionality. The premise of the panels is to group equipment into ‘functional classes’. This grouping compares equipment with equivalent functionality to one another, allowing users to accurately establish both value and the level of functionality they require across various vendors.

Do I need to conduct a tender to buy from these panels?

No. The Authority has already conducted an extensive tender process so that users can simply select the equipment they require and buy in accordance with the pre-agreed pricing. Remember these prices are ‘ceiling’ prices and vendors may charge less in some circumstances. Please contact the Authority at ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au should you have any questions.

What is the duration of the equipment sub-panels?

The term of the terminal equipment sub-panel is from 9 June 2014 to 31 March 2019.

The term of the huts and outdoor sub-panel is from 31 March 2016 to 31 December 2018.

The term of towers sub-panel is from 31 March 2016 to 31 March 2019.

The term of DC power sub-panel is from 31 March 2016 to 28 February 2020.

The term of point to point microwave equipment sub-panel is from 1 July 2016 to 20 June 2019.

The term of passive equipment sub-panel is from 1 July 2016 to 20 April 2019.

The term of P25 equipment sub-panel is from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2021.

The term of radio rebroadcast equipment sub-panel is from 1 September 2015 to 20 April 2019.

The term of spectrum engineering services sub-panel is from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2018.

The term of MPLS backhaul equipment sub-panel is from 1 July 2016 to 2 November 2018.

Do management fees apply to any of the equipment sub-panel?

No. There are no management fee provisions under the terminal equipment sub-panel.

How will supplier performance be managed under the equipment sub-panels?

Performance management will be based on a list of key performance indicators (KPIs). There is a significant focus on the delivery of reporting requirements and client satisfaction and a supplier may be removed from the equipment sub-panel if they have not satisfactorily met their KPIs.

Can a supplier be suspended or removed from the equipment sub-panels?

A supplier can be suspended and/or removed from the scheme if they have not complied with the scheme rules and conditions PDF, 313.07 KB. This includes unsatisfactory performance, providing misleading information and breaching the scheme's conditions.

What happens if there is a dispute?

In the first instance, the customer and supplier must attempt to resolve any disputes. In the case that a resolution cannot be reached, the Scheme Manager (the NSW Telco Authority) can facilitate an outcome. This may include arranging a meeting between the two parties, determining the dispute in consultation or forwarding the dispute to a committee-based review process (the committee will be composed of independent NSW Public Service officer(s)).

Where the supplier and customer still cannot reach a resolution, either party may request the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre to nominate an independent expert.

What if the supplier I want to use is not on any of the equipment sub-panels?

To ensure customers can continue to comply with Procurement Board Direction 2019-04, they should contact the scheme manager at ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au who will provide guidance on their purchase.

What categories are covered by the terminal equipment sub-panel?

View information about the terminal types and descriptions covered by the scheme. Please contact the Authority on ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au if you require any further information.

How should I select a terminal product for purchase?

The Telco Authority has developed a buying guide which enables users to select the functional class of the product that best suits them. Buyers should remember that terminal products come with many features, often users only require a very small subset of these features. Buyers should take some time to understand their users' needs prior to purchasing. The Authority can help facilitate this process with you, please contact ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au

View or download the P25 UHF radio terminal selection guide PDF, 253.91 KB and VHF radio terminal selection guide PDF, 237.07 KB.

More information?

Please email ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au with your contact details. All queries will be responded to within 2 business days.

Who manages the spectrum engineering services sub-panel?

The NSW Telco Authority administers the spectrum engineering services sub-panel on behalf of the NSW Government. The scheme manager can be contacted at ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au

Who developed the spectrum engineering services sub-panel?

It has been a whole of government project, including representatives from NSW Telco Authority.

Why has the panel been developed?

To assist eligible buyers purchase spectrum engineering services to meet their needs. The panel has appropriately trained and accredited persons to undertake licensing and spectrum engineering activities. They also provide ad-hoc consultative services relating to compliance with relevant assignment rules, legislation and compliance activities where applicable.

Do I need to conduct a tender to buy from this panel?

No. The Authority has already conducted an extensive panel process so that users can simply select the supplier they require and buy in accordance with the pre-agreed pricing. Remember these prices are ‘ceiling’ prices and vendors may charge less in some circumstances. Please contact the Authority at ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au should you have any questions.

What is the duration of the spectrum engineering services sub-panel?

The term of the spectrum engineering services sub-panel is from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2018.

Do management fees apply to the spectrum engineering services sub-panel?

No. There are no management fee provisions under the spectrum engineering services sub-panel.

How will supplier performance be managed under the spectrum engineering services sub-panel?

Performance management will be based on a list of key performance indicators (KPIs). There is a significant focus on the delivery of reporting requirements and client satisfaction and a supplier may be removed from the terminal equipment sub-panel if they have not satisfactorily met their KPIs.

Can a supplier be suspended or removed from the spectrum engineering services sub-panel?

A supplier can be suspended and/or removed from the scheme if they have not complied with the ITS 2573 Scheme rules and conditions PDF, 313.07 KB. This includes unsatisfactory performance, providing misleading information and breaching the scheme's conditions.

What happens if there is a dispute?

In the first instance, the customer and supplier must attempt to resolve any disputes. If the case is not resolved, the scheme manager (the NSW Telco Authority) can facilitate an outcome. This may include arranging a meeting between the two parties, determining the dispute in consultation or forwarding the dispute to a committee-based review process (the committee will be composed of independent NSW Public Service officer(s)).

Where the supplier and customer still cannot reach a resolution, either party may request the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre to nominate an independent expert.

What if the supplier I want to use is not on the spectrum engineering services sub-panel?

To ensure customers can continue to comply with the NSW Government Procurement Board Direction 2019-04, they should contact the scheme manager at ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au who will provide guidance on their purchase.

More information?

Please email ITS2573@finance.nsw.gov.au with your contact details. All queries will be responded to within 2 business days.