During 2016–17, 184 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $4.6 million (inclusive of Goods and Services Tax (GST)). In addition, 150 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $2.8 million (inclusive of GST).
ARC expenditure on consultancy contracts (excluding GST) in the past three years was:
- in 2014–15: $2.7 million
- in 2015–16: $3.3 million
- in 2016–17: $2.8 million.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.
Policy on selection and engagement
The ARC’s policy on selecting and engaging consultants is set out in the ARC Accountable Authority Instructions and in related procurement instructions and guidance material.
The ARC engages consultants primarily where there is a need for independent research or assessment or where a specialist skill or expertise is required. Consultants are engaged through a merit selection or procurement process. The majority of ARC consultancy expenditure is for the engagement of independent members of the ARC’s selection and evaluation committees.
Consultancy services are distinguished from other contracts for services by the nature of the work performed, which typically involves the development of an intellectual output that assists with agency decision-making and reflects the independent views of the service provider. By contrast, other (non-consultancy) contracts for services are typically far more restrictive in the degree of latitude afforded to the contractor.