Trying to understand how to successfully become a supplier for a local government organisation can be daunting and confusing for suppliers. There are a lot of rules and regulations. Understanding why and how decisions are made is important.
This guide is designed to help all businesses large and small, participate in the open procurement process for suppliers to Yarra Ranges Council.
Procurement is simply the process of purchasing products, services and works. Yarra Ranges Council strives to achieve the best value outcome for the local residents and its ratepayers when spending public money, in a manner that is fair and transparent.
Yarra Ranges Council complies with Section 186 of the Local Government Procurement Act and our own Yarra Ranges Council Procurement Policy.
Read our Procurement Policy
Yarra Ranges Council spends money on a wide range of goods and services including roads, footpaths, recreational and community facilities, parks and tree maintenance; vehicles, equipment, professional services, utilities and much more.
When trying to decide how to achieve best value outcomes, Yarra Ranges Council takes into account a range of factors including:
- Quality, performance and OH&S
- Pricing and social sustainability
- Community expectations and values
- Opportunities for local employment growth
- Environmental sustainability.
Victorian councils operate under the Local Government Act 1989 (the Act). Among other things, this legislation states the way councils should purchase goods and services depending on the level of expenditure.
Section 186 of the Local Government Act 1989 states:
‘purchases of goods and services above $150,000 (or works above $200,000) must be publicly tendered unless contract is entered into in accordance with approved alternative arrangements.’
Under certain conditions, councils can be exempted from the procurement provisions of the Act:
- In emergency situations, such as a bushfire or other natural disaster, the council may make immediate purchase decisions regardless of value.
- Councils can outsource to third party organisations who can run the tender on their behalf; where the Minister for Local Government has provided permission.
Yarra Ranges Council also adheres to Federal and State regulations governing their entire range of operations, including Occupational Health & Safety law, the Trade Practices Act, Goods Act, Freedom of Information Act, Environmental Protection Act, taxation law, applicable Australian Standards and more.
Council takes any suggestion of anti-competitive, collusive, dishonest or unethical behaviour very seriously.
Council requires all members participating in the evaluation of a tender to sign declaration forms prior to the evaluation process regarding the specific tender submissions received and under evaluation.
Yarra Ranges Council will often seek quotes from suppliers. Council will typically get at least three quotes for purchases between $10,000 and $150,000.
Quotes are generally not publicly advertised. Council officers will usually contact suppliers directly to seek a quote when the need arises.
Suppliers are able to contact Council officers directly to discuss a quote. This is different to a tender which has strict rules regarding communication.
A public tender can be simply described as a formal quotation process. There are rules to ensure good governance. Tenders are generally publicly advertised, usually in the Saturday edition of The Age. Essentially, Council invites interested suppliers to put a bid in to supply the goods, services or works required.
The rules of engagement are clearly stated in the tender documents prepared by Council. A tender document will also clearly set out what Council requires, and on what criteria Council will be comparing and basing their decision. To be successful, you must carefully address each criteria set out in the tender documents.
Yarra Ranges Council conducts all tenders through an electronic tendering portal.
Visit our tender portal
Potential suppliers can register their details on the portal to receive notifications when new tenders are released, and view results on previously awarded tenders. This is a free service.
Request for information (RFI) / Expression of interest (EOI)
Often referred to as an RFI or EOI, these are used by Yarra Ranges Council to explore new opportunities and/or developing needs.
This process may lead to a tender and allows Council to pre-qualify suppliers who are capable of fulfilling the requirements through a formal tender.
Yarra Ranges Council may choose to go to market together with other councils. Having one tender for a number of councils can provide savings in administration, time and money for everyone involved.
Third party organisations may also be used to conduct aggregated tenders on behalf of Yarra Ranges Council.
Becoming a preferred supplier
Council may nominate a ‘preferred supplier’ or ‘panel of suppliers’ from participants in a tender or quotation process which have been thoroughly market tested and are compliant with all requirements. This tender will occur through the same processes as other non-panel tenders.
Council often maintains a ‘panel’ of suppliers for in-demand products and services.
Being appointed to a panel does not guarantee any work, only that the supplier is an available option for Council staff to use under an agreed set of terms and conditions.
Some of the information Yarra Ranges Council requests from suppliers is not negotiable (pre-requisites) and must be in place to gain work with the Council.
Pre-requisites depend on the products and services required (including works and construction) and may include Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management systems, appropriate level of training, relevant accreditation or licenses and up-to-date insurance cover.
If pre-requisites are requested, you must answer the question and include supporting documentation. If you don’t provide the pre-requisite information your tender submission will not be considered.
Yarra Ranges Council considers the health and safety of all people in a workplace and members of the community of the highest importance. Suppliers and contractors must ensure their OH&S meets requirements. If suppliers are asked to prove how they manage OH&S, the standard required will depend on the type of work being undertaken and the risks involved.
Expectations may range from a fully certified OH&S management system to a more simplified management system depending on the style of contract. Specific requirements will be detailed in the tender documents.
Read the tender documents carefully and include all the required information in your tender submission. If you don’t include the required information (e.g. OH&S policies and management systems if requested) your tender submission will not be considered.
Council has the right and ability to audit suppliers’ OH&S policies and procedures at any time over the life of a contract, and in some instances will also inspect worksites.
Suppliers are required by Council contracts to maintain the relevant and appropriate insurance cover. Yarra Ranges Council usually requires proof of public liability coverage in the form of a copy of the certificate of currency issued by your insurer. Other insurance policies may also be required and may include Work Cover policies, professional indemnity and products liability.
It is a requirement that insurance coverage is maintained throughout the duration of a contract or engagement. Documentation including renewals must be made available to Council at all times.
Read the tender documents carefully and include all the required information in your tender submission. If you don’t include the required information (e.g. current policies to the required level) your tender submission will not be considered.
In some tenders such as building contracts, the tenderer may have to be a registered Commercial Builder with the Building Practitioners Board. A copy of a Certificate of Registration for Commercial Building must be provided with your submission if required.
Read the tender documents carefully and include all the required information in your tender submission. If you don’t include the required information (e.g. proof of registration) your tender submission will not be considered.
Yarra Ranges Council does not base the choice of supplier on pricing alone. The most important factor is the ability of the supplier to provide the product, service or work to the standard expected, as outlined in the tender or quote specifications.
Other factors may include timeframes, quality systems, local business and sustainability, environmental sustainability and social responsibility. These factors all contribute to ensuring the best value outcome for Council. All these factors if included carry a weighted scoring and go towards the evaluation of a tender; every point counts.
Ensure you have met the pre-requisites of the tender submission and provided clear and concise responses to the criteria required for evaluation purposes.
A summary of typical criteria follows.
Quality Assurance (QA)
Suppliers to Council should have quality assurance processes and procedures in place.
If you have a quality system accreditation or are on a pathway to achieving accreditation, ensure you clearly outline this in your submission and attach supporting documentation or current accreditation certificates.
If you do not have an accredited system, outline in detail how your business intends to maintain the quality of the required goods, works or services requested in the tender and attach supporting evidence.
The level of QA expected will depend on what is being delivered. Suppliers must ensure they are delivering what was asked for in the quote or tender specification, matching or exceeding Council requirements.
Local Business and Sustainability
To help support local businesses and the local economy, Yarra Ranges Council prefers to engage local business. The relative importance given to local business and local employment will be outlined in the tender.
Ensure you offer appropriate information that supports your submission such as the number of staff employed within or from the Yarra Ranges, local sub-contractors used or goods purchased from within the municipality. Be specific and provide clear responses to any questions related to local sustainability.
Positive environmental outcomes are important to Yarra Ranges Council. Submissions should outline any environmentally friendly practices or accreditations. Make reference to any green products used by your organisation, responsible waste disposal, recycling or sustainable methods of production.
Yarra Ranges Council understands that not all suppliers have formal environmental accreditation, especially smaller organisations. However demonstrating a legitimate commitment to sustainability is an important part of becoming a successful tenderer.
Social sustainability is about building and maintaining strong communities by generating local employment (particularly amongst disadvantaged residents), promoting social inclusion and strengthening the local economy.
Yarra Ranges Council is committed to generating positive social outcomes for our community as part of achieving best value outcomes.
Ensure your submission clearly outlines how your business may contribute to the improvement of the social quality of local communities within the Yarra Ranges e.g:
- support for social enterprise (direct employment, use of services/products etc)
- donations, grants and sponsorship to local groups
- details of initiatives that pursue excellence in protecting/enhancing local amenity
- showing a commitment to corporate social responsibility
- cultural and heritage values and/or
- any other community service performed in local community.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out about tender opportunities?
There are a variety of ways to find out about upcoming tenders. If you are interested in doing business with Yarra Ranges Council, visit our website to view open tenders.
Yarra Ranges Council conducts all tenders through an electronic tendering portal.
View our tender portal
Potential suppliers can register their details with the tendering portal to receive notifications when new tenders are released, and view results on previously awarded tenders. This is a free service.
Council publishes all public tenders in the Saturday edition of The Age.
What happens if my tender submission is late?
Submission deadlines for tenders are strict. If a tender is submitted late, it will not be considered.
Allow for any errors that may occur, human or technological, and allow plenty of time to upload large documents. Depending on the size of files and the speed of your computer it can take several minutes or more. Allow as much time as you can. If your submission is halfway through downloading and the deadline lapses it will not be considered.
I have a small business – it looks difficult reaching some of these benchmarks
Yarra Ranges Council does not expect all suppliers will have International Standard or best practice systems in place, especially small local businesses. Think about even the smallest things your business is doing to meet the weighted criteria.
Can I submit a non-compliant alternative and/or innovative tender?
Yes, Council may accept a tender submission that does not entirely conform to the specification providing the proposed alternative achieves Council’s desired outcome and demonstrates a superior result.
Alternative and/or innovative tender submissions must be sufficiently detailed to allow Council to determine their merits and permit evaluation with conforming tenders. If you are still unsure, post a question on the electronic tendering portal and Council will respond.
Who else can find out about my offer?
Submissions are treated as confidential and any information submitted in a tender will generally not be distributed to external parties unless you are the successful submission.
The winning price and the successful supplier are normally made publicly available via our Yarra Ranges Council website. Submissions will only be viewed by the Council evaluation panel responsible for evaluating and making decisions regarding the tender.
Why does Yarra Ranges Council want me as a supplier?
Yarra Ranges Council wants you as a supplier because competition provides better outcomes. Council is always looking for new and innovative suppliers who can assist in delivering the needs of our local community and economy.
If my submission is unsuccessful, can I find out the tender results or obtain feedback on my submission?
Yes, you can contact Yarra Ranges Council’s Procurement Services for feedback regarding your submission on 1300 368 333 or email us at email@example.com
Handy hints for tender responses
- Submit tenders at least 24 hours before the deadline in the correct format. It is also important to be aware of any time differences and daylight savings so you do not miss the deadline.
- When responding to a tender, make sure you clearly answer all requirements to the best of your ability e.g. dot points, separate answers.
- Always check your response document prior to submitting and make sure you have signed all relevant sections (see attached checklist).
- Provide your supporting documentation (including accreditations, insurance certificates, etc). Take the time to locate and attach the documents.
- Consider and explain what value you offer the local community.
- If you have one, offer a different and/or innovative solution as an alternative. Council is interested in innovative ways to best serve our community. Maybe it hasn’t been considered. Ask us - we might be able to use your suggestion.
- Don’t leave your submission until the last minute. If you have started uploading your document and the time lapses it won’t be accepted. Your tender needs to be completely uploaded by the closing time.
- Don’t assume that if your ‘price is right, it doesn’t matter about the rest of the stuff’. Yarra Ranges Council is seeking the best value outcome. Price is not the only factor in the evaluation process.
- Don’t assume that you can provide requested insurances and supporting documents later on ‘if you win’. If you don’t provide the information, your submission may be deemed non-conforming and may not be considered.
- Don’t submit a tender in a format in an alternate format. If the tender document has provided a format and response schedules, please use them.
Submitting a tender using the e-portal
How to register and download documents
- If you already have an account, go to https://etendering.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/website/LogIn.aspx
- If you need to create a new account, go to https://etendering.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/website/SupplierRegistration.aspx
- After creating your account, an activation link will be sent to your email address. Click on the link to activate your account
- A supplier login screen will appear. Enter your email address and password and then click Log In.
- To download tender documents select the tender you are interested in from the list of current tenders on the left side menu
- You will then be directed to a new page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Register Interest.
Your company details will then appear. Check that your details are up to date. You can also enter the email addresses of up to two colleagues who may be working on the tender response with you. You also have the option to receive email updates regarding updates for this tender and to receive email notifications when a similar tender has been published.
Click on the Submit button. Scroll down toward the bottom of the page until you can see the Files section. Select the Download button and follow prompts to open or save to your local drive.
How to update account details and receive notifications
Once logged in you can update your details such as your telephone number, address, password etc.
Click on Update Account located on the left hand side of your screen and modify required fields.
How to set up and receive automatic email notifications of tenders
If you would like to receive notifications of new tenders
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Manage Tender Notification Subscriptions button.
- An extra screen will pop up. Check the categories you are interested in. If you are not sure which category to select, tick all categories.
- Scroll down to the Receive Tender Notification from Organisations. When you have chosen the categories and organizations you want, click Submit.
When a tender is released, the notifications will be sent at midnight.
How to submit a tender
- Go to https://etendering.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/website/LogIn.aspx and log in to your account
- Click on the Current Tenders link within the left side menu
- Click on the tender you would like to submit an application for
- In the new window, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Tender a response link.
- You will be directed to a new window where you can upload your files. Click the Browse button and locate your file. If you are uploading multiple files it will be easier if you compress them into a single zip folder. Select your file or zip folder and then click Accept.
- Wait until the file is fully uploaded. After it finishes uploading you should be able to see your document’s name in the browser.
- Add any further comments to your response
- Double check all your files are attached and the information in your account is updated. (if you notice an error after you have uploaded or have forgotten something in your documents you will need to upload an updated version)
- Click the Submit link. You will receive a notification email from the etenderbox stating that your response has been accepted and will be reviewed and evaluated soon.
Tenders will not be accepted after the closing time.
If you require any further assistance using the e-portal please contact the Open Windows support line at 1300 73 90 73 or email Open Windows tender support on firstname.lastname@example.org
Tender Response Check List
Items that may be required in your tender response
Completed and signed ‘Form of Tender’ or ‘Tender Form’
Yes / No
Completed and signed ‘Pricing Schedule’
Yes / No
Completed ‘Schedule of Information’
Yes / No
ALL criteria addressed, both pre-requisite and evaluation
Yes / No
Completed tender timeline / construction program (if required)
Yes / No
Copies of accreditations of OH&S, Quality or Environmental systems
Yes / No
If you do not have an accredited OH&S management system have you attached your organisation’s OH&S policies and system in full?
Yes / No
Copies of licenses (if required)
Yes / No
Copies of certificates of currency for insurance
Yes / No
Receipt of addenda/updates (if required)
Yes / No
Completed, signed (and witnessed) ‘Collusive Tendering Declaration’ form
Yes / No