Disability Management Service Request for Tender Question and Answers

This document contains a list of questions received and answers provided in relation to the DES-DMS 2015.

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Chapter 1 Overview

1.1 Why is the Disability Employment Services–Disability Management Service(DES–DMS) business currently held by CRS Australia (a division of the Australian Government Department of Human Services) being put to tender?

A. The market response to previous tenders for DES has been strong, demonstrating interested and viable private sector and not-for-profit providers who are capable of delivering these services.

1.2 What percentage of CRS Australia’s DES-DMS business is being tendered?

A. All of the business currently contracted to CRS Australia is being put to tender. This amounts to 47 percent of the total DES-DMS business available.

1.3 Will business be available in all Employment Service Areas that make up Australia?

A. DES –DMS business will, through this tender process, be available in 97 of the 110 Employment Service Areas (ESAs) that make up Australia.

1.4 Will contracts be extended once the current DES-DMS Deeds expire on 30 June 2015?

A. The Government intends to offer Non-government Providers an extension to 4 March 2018 to align with the existing DES- Employment Support Service (DES-ESS) contracts.

1.5 Is DES-DMS the only business available in the current tender process?

A. Yes, only the DES-DMS business currently provided by CRS Australia is available for tender in this process.

1.6 What type of services are DES-DMS providers required to provide?

A. Please refer to the DES-DMS Request for Tender (RFT) for information on Disability Employment Services programmes and requirements for providers.

1.7 What information will the Department of Social Services (DSS) take into account when assessing tender responses and allocating DES-DMS business?

A. The Department of Social Services (DSS) will take into account several factors to identify the best Providers to deliver DES–DMS. This includes whether a Tenderer’s Bid represents value for money and the best service for job seekers, taking into account the characteristics of the Employment Service Area (ESA) and Tenderers’ preferred Bid Ranges, conditionality, coverage, the needs of specific client groups and job seekers in general, and any risks to the Commonwealth.

DSS will allocate DES–DMS business based on its assessment of which tenders best represent value for money. Value for money will be based on DSS' evaluation of Tenderers’ responses to Selection Criteria and other factors considered by DSS to be relevant, such as the need to maximise geographical coverage of DES and the number of Providers required in an ESA.

1.8 If successful, when will providers be able to commence business?

A. Successful tenderers will be offered business for a three year period from 2 March 2015 to 4 March 2018, as outlined in section 1.2.3 of the DES-DMS RFT.

1.9 How will provider performance be assessed if they successfully win DES-DMS business as part of this tender process?

A. DES has an existing performance management framework, Service Guarantee and Code of Practice to drive performance and continuous improvement in the delivery of quality services. DSS also has a Charter of Contract Management which reflects what DES providers can expect of the Department. More information on the DES Performance Framework is available at section 1.3 of the DES-DMS RFT.

1.10 How will Star Ratings be calculated for tenderers that receive business in new ESAs?

A. Star Ratings for tenderers receiving business in new ESAs will be based on performance from 2 March 2015 (as there is no prior performance information available) and will not be calculated until after nine months of operation. The first Star Ratings calculated are likely to be for December 2015. More information on the DES Star Rating Methodology is available at section 1.3 of the DES-DMS RFT.

1.11 How will Star Ratings be calculated for DES-DMS providers who receive additional business in an ESA in which they already provide DES-DMS services?

A. Tenderers receiving business in an ESA in which they are already providing DES-DMS services will have all available past performance data within the three year rolling period included in their Star Rating calculations beyond 2 March 2015. More information on the DES Star Rating Methodology is available at section 1.3 of the DES-DMS RFT.

1.12 When will the face to face session and webinars be held?

A. The information session will be held in Sydney on Wednesday 9 July 2014 commencing at 2:00 pm.

The webinars will be held:

  • 14 July 10:00 am-12:00 pm
  • 16 July 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
  • 18 July 2:00 pm-4:00 pm; and
  • 23 July 2:00 pm-4:00 pm (Canberra time).

Should you wish to attend a session, please advise the Employment Services Purchasing Hotline (the Hotline) of which session you would like to register for. The Hotline will then send you venue details of the face to face session or an invitation to register for a webinar session. The Hotline can be contacted on 1300 733 514 Monday to Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm Canberra time, excluding ACT and national public holidays) or via email at espurchasing@employment.gov.au.

1.13 Is it possible to get the CRS Business available currently provided by ESA, at a site level?

A. The Department has published historical DMS caseload and commencement data broken down by location including Employment Services Area and Labour market Region, and participant demographics including primary disability. The data is available via the Labour Market Information Portal. The RFT contains Information about CRS Australia’s business share, which is being put to tender.

Chapter 2 Statement of Requirements: Disability Employment Services - Disability Management Service

2.1 Is all DES-DMS business being put to tender?

A. No. Only DES-DMS business currently provided by CRS Australia is available under this RFT.

2.2Are there a fixed number of places or a cap on the number of people who can access DES-DMS services?

A. No. DES-DMS is demand driven, which means there is not a fixed number of places or a cap on the number of people who can access the Service.

2.3 What is the difference between a Generalist Provider and a Specialist Service Provider?

A. DES-DMS Generalist Providers must accept and help all eligible job seekers referred to them. Specialist Service Providers, nominate to work with a specific specialist client group when they tender for services. Specialist Service Providers are only able to deliver services to job seekers from the specialist client group and only job seekers within the specified client group will be referred to them. More information on Generalist and Specialist Service Providers can be found in section 2 of the DES-DMS RFT.

2.4 Is the DES-DMS payment model subject to price competition?

A. No. The payment model for DES-DMS includes a variety of fixed fees and payments which are not subject to price competition. These fees and payments are further outlined in section 2.7 of the DES-DMS RFT.

2.5 When will CRS Australia Participants be transferred to their new provider?

A. DSS intends to transfer all CRS Australia Participants to another provider on the transition weekend of 28 February – 1 March 2015. Further details regarding transition arrangements are set out in section 2.9 of the DES-DMS RFT.

2.6 In section 2.4 of Tender Response Form Part C, information is requested concerning dependencies that my organisation may have for each Site location based on the level of ESA Business Share that may be awarded. It also states that if there are no dependencies, the first row should still be completed.

The first field in the dependency row asks for “ESA Business share %”. If it is required that I complete this row I would expect to be able to indicate the preferred business share level as a percentage range to be consistent with section 2.2 of the form. This field permits only 5 characters which does not allow for an expression of range if the maximum % is 100. For example 50-100 is 6 characters.

A. If there are no site dependencies, Tenderers are not required to complete ‘ESA Business Share %’ of section 2.4. This field is only required (along with ‘Reason for business Share dependency’) where the tenderer wishes to include tiered bidding (described in Section ‘4.1.4 Bid Ranges’ of the RFT) in their tender submission.

All Tenderers are required to complete the below columns in the sub table located at 2.4 of Tender Response Form Part C.

  • Frequency of service
  • Hours of service
  • Site type

All Tenderers should indicate their preferred bid range at Section 2.2 in the ‘Preferred Minimum %’ and ‘Preferred Maximum %’.

2.7 It is my understanding that the March 2014 Star Rating will be released on 1 August 2014.  Will CEOs receive the Star Ratings earlier under embargo?

A. DES Provider CEOs will receive for their own organisation June 2014 Star Ratings 48 hours prior to being published, as per standard practice.

2.8 Can you please clarify whether providers delivering specialist services will receive a transition caseload or flow only? In the past, some specialist providers did not receive a transition caseload.

A. The Department does not guarantee that all successful Tenderers will receive a transition caseload on the weekend of 28 February to 1 March 2015. This includes DES-DMS Specialist Providers, who can deliver services to their relevant specialist client group. The allocation of existing Participants to successful Tenderers will take into consideration factors including the Participants’ characteristics, address of Participant and Providers’ specialisation area.

2.9 How do DES Providers create awareness of potential employees from the DES Programme with the larger employers?

A. This is a matter for each DES Provider. For example, often large employers will have their own recruitment strategies and processes in place to fill their staffing requirements. One of those strategies could involve the use of recruitment agencies to find suitable employees. It may, therefore, be beneficial for DES Providers to form linkages with recruitment agencies in order to access job vacancies with these large employers.

Linkages between recruitment agencies and DES Providers could potentially improve the likelihood of matching DES participants to jobs that best suit their skills. This is particularly the case for those DES participants that may have higher level qualifications and/or professional skills required by Employers. However, this is only one example and it is a matter for DES Providers to determine and implement strategies as to how they achieve this.

Where Tenderers have strong linkages with recruitment agencies or other organisations, including employers, or have other relevant strategies, they should consider outlining this within their Tender.

2.10 How will case load transition be managed for incoming specialist providers based on the existing CRS generalist caseload? Will there be a transition caseload or will there only be new participants?

A. The Department does not guarantee that all successful Tenderers will receive a transition caseload on the weekend of 28 February to 1 March 2015. This includes DES-DMS Specialist Providers, who can deliver services to their relevant specialist client group. The allocation of existing Participants to successful Tenderers will take into consideration factors including the Participants’ characteristics, address of Participant and Providers’ specialisation area.

2.11 Will DSS be providing advance payments for new providers? If so can you provide more information?

A. The only DES fees paid in advance are Service Fees which cover the Services delivered in Employment Assistance, as set out in Section 2.5 of the Request for Tender. Service Fees are paid in advance for each 13 weeks of Employment Assistance for each Participant on the Provider’s caseload. When Providers commence a participant in DES-DMS, a Service Fee becomes available for Providers to claim on the Employment IT System.

2.12 Does Flexible Ongoing Support refer only to the support available after the 26-week outcome if the client is not exited, or does it also include ongoing support provided up until this 26-week outcome?

A.Yes, Flexible Ongoing Support refers to the DES support provided after achievement of a 26 Week Employment Outcome.

2.13 How is the star rating calculated?

A. The Disability Employment Services Star Ratings system measures the relative success of providers in achieving employment outcomes and education outcomes for participants. Refer to the DES Star Ratings Methodology Advice document in DES Guidelines for Providers section of the DSS website for further information about how Star Ratings are calculated.

Chapter 3 Tendering arrangements

3.1 Where am I able to get a copy of the DES-DMS RFT?

A. You are able to download DES-DMS RFT from AusTender, the online procurement information system for Commonwealth departments and agencies. You can register with AusTender. Tenderers will also be required to upload their tender submission through AusTender.

3.2 How will I know if any changes are made to the DES-DMS RFT?

A. If there is any variation to the terms, structure, requirements or processes of this RFT prior to the Tender Closing Time, DSS will issue a formal addendum via AusTender. AusTender will automatically issue an electronic advice to those organisations registered with AusTender for this RFT.

3.3 I am having difficulties registering with AusTender. Who can help me?

A. All queries and requests for technical or operational support must be directed to the AusTender Help Desk on 1300 651 698 or via email at tenders@finance.gov.au.

3.4. Can I change my tender application once it is submitted with AusTender?

A. Once submitted via AusTender, your tender cannot be changed or withdrawn. If you wish to change any information in a lodged tender response prior to the Tender Closing Time, you will need to submit a new response through the correct ATM on AusTender before the Closing Time.

When a new response is lodged, the Tenderer should notify DSS, via the Hotline email, of the legal name and the ABN of the Tenderer, the time and date on the AusTender tender response receipt of the new and any previous tenders, as well as the reason for submitting a new tender. Please refer to section 3.5.3 of the RFT for further information.

3.5 What is the minimum number of legal entities that can constitute a consortium?

A. A consortium comprises of two or more independent legal entities.

3.6 Is there a font type and size requirement for the tender documentation to be submitted?

A. The department does not have a preference however the DSS standard is Arial size 11.

3.7 Draft Deed Chapter 3, clause 35.7 states that ‘The Provider must comply with the Department’s Security Policies and the Commonwealth’s Cybersafety Policy.

Could links to these policies, or copies of these policies, please be made available?

A. The ‘Department’s Security Policies’ refer to policies relating to the use and security of the Department’s IT Systems and Records, and includes the Department of Employment’s Security Policy for External Service Providers and Users and any other policies Notified by the Department of Social Services from time to time.

Appendix E of the Request for Tender provides information on the Security Policy for External Users of the Employment IT System.

3.8 Can I please confirm that Part 14 in the section on Financials requests any Commonwealth agencies owing money to us, that this does not mean outstanding unpaid invoices by us to the Commonwealth?

A. Part 14 of the Financial and Credentials Information form is for entities that, after have received funding from the Commonwealth, have either:

  • An overdue debt - Been advised that all or part of that funding will need to be returned to the Commonwealth by a set date and that date has passed and the amount identified has not yet been returned; or
  • An overdue acquittal - As part of an agreement or contract with the Commonwealth the entity is required to acquit the use of funds and, for all or part of the funds, the acquittal has not been made by the date set by the funding agreement, contract or other advice.

3.9 In the RFT under the Financials and Credentials Form page 6 section 11, it states that new or restructured entities must provide business plans, budgets, cash flow projections. Existing providers that are providing full year financials can skip section 11 and go to section 12. I would like to confirm that as a current provider that will submit full year financials, but will be tendering for work in more ESA, do we need to provide business plans, budgets and cash flow projections?

A. New or restructured entities refers to only entities that have been created within the current or previous financial year and have not traded for a sufficient period of time to have produced full year financial reports. If you submitting full year financials you will not be required to submit business plans, budgets and cash flow projections for the purposes of the Financial and Credentials form.

3.10 Tendering Groups as a whole need to be certified (or otherwise obtain certification with the National Standards for Disability Services within the required timeframe), with the head office and all related Sites identified on a single certificate. For further information on the National Standards for Disability Services please refer to the DSS website.

All members of our tender group have been individually certified and have certificates covering all locations. Is this sufficient or does a new certificate need to be obtained for the tendering group as a whole?

A. A group of legal entities (Tendering Group) can tender as a consortium, joint venture, partnership or some other form of alliance in order to deliver DES-DMS. If all members of the Tendering Group have already obtained individual National Standards for Disability Services certification, it is not necessary for the Tendering Group to obtain additional certification under one certificate.

If a Tendering Group is a consortium or joint venture, it must appoint a lead member entity to act as agent for the other member entities.  In Tendering Groups, the lead member is responsible for the delivery of the Service, including monitoring that all members retain their National Standards for Disability Services certification.  All Services must therefore be delivered either under the lead members certification or a Tendering Group members individual certification as applicable.

A different situation to a Tendering Group is where one or more organisations combine to form an entirely new entity and this new entity tenders for DES-DMS. Such a newly formed entity will need to obtain its own National Standards for Disability Services certification regardless of whether the organisations that have joined together were certified as previously separate organisations.

3.11 I refer to Part A “Tender Declaration”, Point 8 (a) below -

8. I acknowledge and understand that:

  • Section 19 of the Disability Services Act 1986 (Cth) requires any organisation providing DES-DMS to hold a current Certificate of Compliance with the National Standards for Disability Services at the time the Deed commences, or obtain a Certificate of Compliance, within 12 months of the Deed commencing
  • under the Deed failure to obtain a Certificate of Compliance by the relevant date, or where applicable, to maintain a current certificate, is a breach that may, among other things, result in termination of the Deed or other remedial action being taken by DSS under the Deed
  • the Tenderer must comply with the National Standards for Disability Services when delivering Services under the Deed prior to obtaining a Certificate of Compliance and at all times during the term of the Deed.

If our organisation does not hold such a certificate, how would it acquire one?

A. Successful Tenderers that are not certified as complying with the National Standards for Disability Services will have provided evidence of their intention to seek certification with the Department of Social Services as part of their tender response.  The successful Tenderer will then have 12 months to gain certification from the Deed Commencement Date.

Providers must engage an accredited certification body and undergo an independent assessment to be certified as complying with the National Standards for Disability Services.

Following certification, providers will receive a Certificate of Compliance that is recognised by the Australian Government as proof that the organisation is delivering services in line with the National Standards for Disability Services.

Information on the National Standards for Disability Services and the process for obtaining certification is available on the Department of Social Services website.

3.12 When completing the Financial and Credentials Information Form, can Option 2 be utilised if the information has been previously provided to DEEWR prior to the establishment of the Department of Employment (for example for the 2012-13 RJCP EOI process)?

A. Yes option 2 can be used. In doing so please ensure that there have been no changes to the previously provided information. If there have been any changes option B.1 and/or B.2 will need to be used.

Please note that:

  1. Previously supplied financial Information is required to have been for the last full financial year prior to the date this form is submitted. It is preferred by the Department that if you are able to supply 2014 financial statements, whether audited or unaudited, it would be preferred. It is recognised that due to the timing of the tender many organisations would not be able to supply financial statements for 2014 by the tender closing date; and
  2. All relevant persons, including the contact person, is required be the same as previously supplied.
    Additional questions and answers can be found on the DSS Disability Management Service Tender website.

3.13 The Austender Help Desk is available from 9-5 Monday - Friday. With anticipated heavy traffic on the Monday of submission, we intend to lodge on Sunday 3rd but if we have any difficulties will have to wait until Monday morning for technical assistance, when there may be heavy demand on the Helpdesk. Is there any way that support can be extended to cover the weekend of 2nd and 3rd August?

A. AusTender is the online procurement information system for Commonwealth departments and agencies. All queries and requests for technical or operational support must be directed to:

AusTender Help Desk
Telephone: 1300 651 698
Email: tenders@finance.gov.au

3.14 Addenda No. 2 states to:

  • Clause 97.9 (delete and replace)
    The Draft Deed has a para 97.4 and the next para is 98. There is no 97.9 to delete and replace.
  • Clause 98.2 (delete and replace)
    There is no 98.2 to delete and replace.

Are both 97.9 and 98.2 to be inserted without anything being deleted or replaced?
Also, is there a 97.5, 97.6, 97.7 & 97.8?

A. In Addendum No. 2 (issued 22 July 2014), Addenda Item C, references to clause numbers in Item 2 were incorrect. Refer to Addendum No.3 (issued 28 July 2014) for the correct clauses.

3.15 The pdf forms that need to be submitted for the DES DMS tender are very large. We anticipate that our zipped submission file for 45 ESAs will be over 280MB. Is there any suggestion as to how this can be made smaller?

A. The Department of Employment advises that given the anticipated size of your submission, you may wish to consider uploading it outside of the 9:00 am-5:00 pm period as a better upload speed may be achieved. However, you can upload the submission at any time that is suitable to you.

The closing time for the RFT is 2:00 pm (Canberra time) Monday 4 August 2014.

3.16 I have a question regarding the Financial Credentials Form section 16.

It calls for a list tendering group members and their % financial share in the group.

Because the group are all separate legal entities, and there is no ownership structure of the consortium, how should we answer this section?

A. Generally, as a tendering group, the entities within that group are tendering to deliver services as a whole. The percentage of the group’s resources that each member of the tendering group intends to contribute to enable the delivery of that whole would be reflected in the table in Section 16 of the Financial and Credentials Information Form.

3.17 If I have no referee or have one referee and I have worked in similar area will my tender still be accepted?

A. If Tenderers not currently providing DES–DMS, DES–ESS or JSA do not provide contact details for two referees and a short description (up to 250 characters) of their dealings with each referee, their tender will still be accepted.

3.18 Please confirm that I have updated RFT70003935 correctly.

Addenda 1 - Updated as is.

Addenda 2 - Updated, but changes from Item 2 of Addenda C have been reversed with Addenda 3.

Addenda 3 - Reinstate clause 88.5, to pre Addenda 2 updates.

  • Delete 88.5A, inserted from instruction in Addenda 2 updates – did not previously exist.
  • Delete 97.9, inserted from instruction in Addenda 2 updates – did not previously exist.
  • Reinstate clause 98.1 to pre Addenda 2 updates.
  • Delete clause 98.2, inserted from instruction in Addenda 2 updates – did not previously exist.
  • Definitions in Addenda 2 and Addenda 3 are the same.

A. Yes, the details you have provided are correct. Although, in relation to Addendum 3, additional changes need to be made as described below.

Please ensure that you disregard Item 2 in Addenda Item C, Addenda 2- all changes made in that Item should be removed as you have outlined above.

The Draft Deed (Appendix G of RFT70003935) should be amended as set out in Addendum Item B and Attachment A of Addendum 3. That is; the following changes are to be made to the Draft Deed:

  • Clause 87.5 (delete and replace with content in Attachment A);
  • Clause 87.5A (insert content in Attachment A);
  • Clause 96.9 (delete and replace with content at Attachment A);
  • Clause 97.1 (delete and replace with content at Attachment A);
  • Clause 97.2 (delete and replace with Attachment A);
  • Definitions should be inserted as listed in Attachment A.

Addendum Items C and D of Addendum 3 also amended some provisions of the RFT; and

Addendum 4 and 5 have also been posted on AusTender (on 31 July 2014 and 1 August 2014),

  • Addendum 4 amends Appendix B of the RFT (as outlined in Addendum Item A of Addendum 4); and
  • Addendum 5 replaces section 3.5.9 of the RFT (as outlined in Addendum Item A of Addendum 5).

It should also be noted that DSS reserves the right to make changes to the draft Deed in the period between the release of this RFT and the execution of final Deeds.

Chapter 4 Bidding for Business and Tender Evaluation

4.1 Where can I access data relating to the existing labour market?

A. Data relating to the existing labour market is available on the Labour Market Information Portal.

4.2 Can attachments be included in my response?

A. Yes, Tenderers may provide a maximum of three A4 pages of attachments to support their response to the Selection Criteria. The maximum of three A4 pages of attachments applies at the organisational level regardless of the number of ESA Bids that a Tenderer submits. Please refer to Section 4.5 of the RFT for further information.

4.3 What are the character limits for each criterion?

A. Refer to Section 4.6 of the RFT for further information. The Tender Response Forms will not allow Selection Criteria responses to be more than the stated character limit for each criterion. Character limits include spaces and punctuation marks.

4.4 Our organisation is wondering if the dep’t will be providing ESA level cohort data to support the DMS tender, similar to that which was provided to assist with the DES ESS tender process in 2012?

A. The Department will publish historical DMS caseload and commencements data broken down by location including Employment Services Area and Labour Market Region, and participant demographics including primary disability. Data is expected to be available via the Labour Market Information Portal by Friday 4 July 2014.

4.5 In selection criterion 2 it speaks of current star ratings being "the basis of your score" what does basis mean? Is it the only factor taken into account?

A. This relates to current providers of employment services (ie Disability Employment Services and Job Services Australia) who receive a star rating for their performance. The Department of Social Services may use any performance information it has available to assist in assessing tenders. For those tenderers who have a current DES or JSA star rating, this will form the basis of the score for selection criterion 2. In addition, these tenderers will be able to provide a written response to selection criterion 2, which will be assessed. Tenderers who do not have a current DES or JSA star rating will be required to provide a written response to selection criterion 2. Tenderers should refer to the RFT for the final requirements and arrangements for selection criterion 2.

4.6 Is there any data that the Department can release that illustrates the proportion of DMS clients that are currently eligible for compensation in regard to their injury or health condition?

A. The Department does not hold data in a format that would provide the illustration requested.

4.7 In assessing each organisation’s DES-DMS Bids, will the person who assesses selection criteria 1 (organisational-level) be the same person who also assesses selection criteria 2 and 3 (ESA-level)?

A. Each Selection Criterion is likely to be assessed individually by assessment teams and tenderers should therefore ensure each response addresses the corresponding criterion in its entirety. As Selection Criterion 1 is to be assessed once for each organisation and criteria 2 and 3 are to be assessed for each ESA bid, it is unlikely that the same assessment team will assess the entire Tender response. However, assessors may take a holistic approach and use all information presented in the response to the selection criteria and other information available to the Department in its assessment of each selection criterion and of the tender. Section 4.7 of the RFT contains more information about Tender evaluation.

4.8 When a Tenderer bids for a site in an ESA but does not yet have an office location for that site, how should the Tenderer complete the site address details in Form Part C?

A. Clause 4.1.7 of the RFT provides that Tenderers must nominate Sites from which they propose to deliver Services in an ESA. However, it is recognised that Tenderers may not have acquired a physical location and/or lease at the time of submitting their tender response. Tenderers should include as much detail of the premise(s) or site(s) in the ESA in which they are tendering for business when completing form C2.4.

4.9 In Part C of the tender response, you can select ‘psychiatric disability’ or ‘mental health’ as a specialist provider. Please provide the Department’s definition of these two specialist groups?

A. The specialisation categories listed in Part C are not defined by the Department. The listed specialisation categories are based on areas of specialisation currently used by Providers. Tenderers may either select a specialisation category from the list, or if no listed category is appropriate they should nominate a specialisation category name that best describes the specialist service they are proposing to offer. The specialisation name should be easily identifiable by both Centrelink and job seekers to assist in making an informed referral to a provider.

4.10. What is the definition of similar ESA’s? Tenderers who are not currently delivering DES–DMS, DES–ESS or JSA in the tendered ESA should:

  • outline past performance in delivering other relevant services in the tendered ESA or similar ESAs, and
  • identify this information separately in their response to Criterion 2 using the “Delivering services in this ESA or similar ESAs” heading.

A. For assessment of Criterion 2, similarity of ESA will be considered based on the type of Labour Market Region and the State or Territory that the ESA is in. Neighbouring ESAs which lie on either side of state borders may also be considered similar. If tenderers wish to bring to the Department’s attention other features which they believe make ESAs in which they have past performance similar to the tendered ESA, they may choose to provide details in the written response.

4.11 The Q&A section highlighted that the Department will publish historical DMS caseload and commencements data broken down by location including Employment Services Area and Labour Market Region, and participant demographics including primary disability. Data is expected to be available via the Labour Market Information Portal by Friday 4 July 2014.

This data is available; however is significantly different from the indicative caseloads published in the Discussion Paper. We would like to gain clarity that the information in the Labour Market Information Portal is accurate and should replace the indicative numbers in the Discussion Paper.

A. The caseload data on the LMIP and the indicative caseload included in the Industry Information Paper are different. Data on the LMIP is caseload for all of DES-DMS, whereas the data in the Industry Paper was indicative for CRS Australia only.

4.12 There is a part of criterion 1 that refers to ‘major’ programme compliance issues and our actions to address these. We would like to know how significant a ‘major’ compliance issue is. We have had a couple of minor breaches and had to pay back a small amount of money – does this represent a major issue?

A. Programme compliance issues that constitute major issues could include, but are not limited to; a breach of a contract or deed, serious governance issues identified through quality assurance or certification processes, fraud committed by employees, performance manipulation, failure to rectify identified compliance issues and/or non-acquittal of grant funding. However, as the term “major” is not defined for the purpose of SC 1, the response requires some judgement on behalf of the tenderer.

4.13 It is our understanding that the main response must be text only, and that any tables, graphs etc. would need to be an attachment. Can you confirm?

A. Yes, the tender response forms dealing specifically with Selection Criterion 1 (Part D) and Selection Criteria 2, 3 and the Specialist Services Additional Criterion (Part E) will only accept text. If a Tenderer wishes to submit a table, diagram or graph for example, this can be done as an attachment. Tenderers may provide a maximum of three A4 pages of attachments to support their response to the Selection Criteria. The maximum of three A4 pages of attachments applies at the organisational level regardless of the number of ESA Bids that a Tenderer submits. The purpose of attachments is to allow Tenderers to provide information in a format that cannot be submitted within the Selection Criteria tender response forms on AusTender. This means that attachments should only include information in formats such as images, diagrams, tables and graphs. Audio or video files, or text that could have otherwise been included in the tender response form, will not be considered. Please refer to Section 4.5 of the Request for Tender document for more details.

4.14 We are looking to tender in e.g. 5 ESA's and as we are not a current provider of DES, do we they need to supply 10 referees (2 for each ESA) or only 2 referees in total?

A. As outlined in 4.7.3 of the Request for Tender, tenderers who do not currently provide DES–DMS, DES–ESS or JSA are required to provide the names and contact details of two referees, and a short description (up to 250 characters) of their dealings with these referees, where indicated in Part B of the Tender Response Form. This is regardless of the number of ESAs in which they are bidding for business.

4.15 We would like to confirm the details in Section 4.6.3 Selection Criteria, specifically Criterion 2. Page 94 states: “Tenderers who are not currently delivering DES-DMS, that is those that are only delivering DES-ESS and/or JSA, should:

  • Outline past performance in delivering other relevant services to people who are eligible for DES-DMS, and
  • Identify this information separately in their response to Criterion 2 using a “Delivering services to people eligible for DES-DMS heading.”

We would like to confirm whether “Tenderers who are not currently delivering DES-DMS, that is those that are only delivering DES-ESS and/or JSA” refers to the organisational/provider level or whether this is referencing in the tendered ESA.

A. Tenderers who have a current Star Rating for DES-DMS outside the tendered ESA do not need to provide a written response under the heading “Delivering services to people eligible for DES-DMS”. However, they may choose to do so if they believe they are able to supply information about their past performance delivering services to this group which is additional to their DES-DMS Star Ratings or Ratings.

4.16 Selection Criterion 1 mentions “Employer servicing strategies and/or any collaborative strategies with mainstream recruitment organisations”. How should Tenderers address this element within their tender response?

A. It is a matter for each Tenderer to determine appropriate strategies, and to determine how best to describe and demonstrate these in its tender response.

For example, in relation to the element relating to collaborative strategies with mainstream recruitment organisations, the Department notes that recruitment agencies have extensive links with employers and are able to access a large number of job vacancies across a range of industries. It may, therefore, be beneficial for DES Providers to form linkages with recruitment agencies in order to maximise their access to job vacancies. As a result of links with recruitment agencies DES Providers could potentially improve their performance and achieve greater Job Placements and Employment Outcomes through access to additional job vacancies. Access to the wide variety of job vacancies available to recruitment agencies may also assist DES Providers to match participants to jobs that best suit their individual skills and interests.

Linking with recruitment agencies is, however, only one of a number of strategies Tenderers could consider and describe in addressing Selection Criterion 1. Where Tenderers have strong linkages with recruitment agencies or other relevant organisations, they should consider outlining this within their tender response. However, ultimately how a Tenderer responses to this element is a matter for Tenderers to decide.

4.17 Criterion 1 (Major dot point two) refers to ‘mainstream recruitment organisations’.

Does this refer to recruitment/labour hire companies or providers of JSA and JSA-type services or both or other organisations?

A. The mention of ‘mainstream recruitment organisations’ in Selection Criterion 1 refers to organisations that deliver general recruitment services matching employers with people looking for work. Use of the word ‘mainstream’ is not intended to imply mainstream employment services contracted by the Australian Government such as Job Services Australia (JSA). ‘Mainstream recruitment organisations’ may be any recruitment service or business that is separate to Australian Government contracted employment services, mainstream or otherwise.

4.18 Criterion 2 (Major dot point two) it states that the response should include ‘quantitative data that demonstrates your achievements….. in programmes other than DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA’. In I. Existing providers of DES-DMS, DES-ESS and JSA, Content of written responses to Selection Criterion 2, (Major dot point one) its states that ‘Existing providers of DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA should provide relevant information about past performance that is additional (italics mine) to their most relevant current Star Rating or Star Ratings.’

This appears to indicate that detailed performance data (eg quantitative data demonstrating performance for people with disability in JSA) may be provided in Criterion 2, provided star rating data is not included. Could this please be clarified?

A. Tenderers that have at least one current Star Rating for delivering employment services (particularly if the Tenderer does not have at least one current DES-DMS Star Rating) are encouraged to supply a written response with information about relevant past performance in delivering services to people eligible for DES-DMS and delivering services in the tendered ESA, where this information is not already measured by their Star Ratings.

Star Ratings include quantitative performance data for all participants the relevant provider has assisted, which means that achieving outcomes for people with disability in JSA is included in JSA Star Ratings. However, Tenderers who believe they have assisted a high proportion of people with disability through JSA may wish indicate this in their written response, and may wish to include additional information about their past performance assisting these participants that is not already measured in Star Ratings.

4.19 If using case examples in our response should we be using the Job Seekers Identifier (JSID) to assist with verification?

A. The Department can only evaluate information that is actually in the Tender response, and will not evaluate information incorporated by reference.

4.20 Form B, question 3.3 only allows our company to enter 12 consortium members. If we have more than 12 members, what should we do?

A. If your organisation is bidding as a consortium and you have more than 12 members, submit TWO Part B forms as part of your Tender submission. You should ensure only questions 1.1 and 3.3 of the additional Part B form is completed (the initial Part B should be completed in full). Submitting TWO Part B forms will allow you a maximum of 24 members to be listed for your Consortium.

4.21 Our organisation is currently filling in Part C for the RFT documents, and is looking for some clarity for Section 2.3. Our organisation would like to tender for a number of ESA, but no submission for one ESA is conditional on our organisation winning business in another ESA. In that case, should we leave section 2.3 blank?

We have also noticed that once a selection has been made in any field, it is impossible to return the field to blank. In that case, should we merely fill in section 2.3 with the ESA that the document is in regards to (e.g. Select ‘Bundaberg’ as an essential ESA in the Part C form for our Bundaberg submission)?

A. Tenderers who do not wish to specify any ‘Conditionality’ in their submission should leave Part C 2.3 blank.

If however the tenderer has inadvertently added information to Question 2.3 and wishes to not have the information included in their bid. The tenderer should insert ‘Not Applicable’ into the “If 'Other', what type of Other Spec” field.

4.22 We would like to make an inquiry if the Department have a draft template form or/and letter to advise the Department of the Consortium Agreement for the DES DMS Tender.A. A separate Consortium Agreement form is not required by the Department of Social Services. If tendering as a Group, Tenderers are required to fill in section 3 of Form B.

4.23 Section 17.1 of the Financial and Credentials form states that Financial Statements are required to include Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash flow Statement, Notes to accounts etc. A Cashflow Statement is not included in our annual audited financial statements (as it is not a requirement of our Constitution).  Is it mandatory to provide a cashflow statement in this instance? If so, what is the definition of a Cash flow Statement?

A. A cash flow statement, as per Australian Accounting Standards Board Standard 107, is a statement that sets out the inflows and outflows of cash and cash equivalents within an entity.

If your entity does not produce this document as part of its required financial reporting it will not be seen as a mandatory requirement by the Department.

4.24 The explanatory note for Criteria 2 states: Past performance for DES–DMS will be considered more relevant than equivalent past performance delivering DES–ESS, and past performance delivering DES–ESS will be considered more relevant than equivalent past performance delivering JSA. Further, past performance delivering employment services in the tendered ESA will be considered more relevant than past performance delivering employment services outside the tendered ESA.

  • If you deliver DMS in ESA A and ESS or JSA in ESA B and you are tendering in ESA B, will your Star Rating for DMS take preference above ESS and JSA even though it is for different ESA?
  • Secondly, if you are tendering in a different state from that in which you have DES-DMS business but you deliver JSA in the ESA you are tendering for, will your DES-DMS performance in a different state take preference?

A. Where the Tenderer has past performance delivering DES-DMS anywhere in Australia, it will be used as the basis for assessment of Criterion 2 in preference to past performance delivering DES-ESS or JSA. If the Tenderer does not have past performance delivering DES-DMS, past performance delivering DES-ESS will be used in preference to past performance delivering JSA. Location of service delivery will then be taken into account.

4.25 Can the department supply the last 12 quarters of data for our organisation?

A. As advised in Section 4.3.2 of the RFT, Data relating to the existing labour market is available on the Labour Market Information Portal. The Labour Market Information Portal contains information representing ESAs including:

  • Data relating to the labour market
  • Additional data considered particularly relevant to the delivery of Services available for tender.

It is strongly recommended that Tenderers refer to the information on the Labour Market Information Portal when preparing their bids, especially those intending to bid as specialist Tenderers.

No other data will be available to tenderers.

4.26 Will there be any weighting attached to the tender for Australian owned businesses tendering, as opposed to foreign owned businesses, similar to Local Government Qld where local service providers receive a percentage weighting?

A. No, the department does not have any pre-disposition about the types and sizes of providers that will be awarded contracts. Each tender will be reviewed on its merits. Where possible and feasible, a diverse mix of generalist and specialist, large, medium and small, as well as for-profit and not-for-profit organisations will be sought. DSS is committed to ensuring job seekers have access to the highest performing Providers.

4.27 Our organisation is intending to Tender for the:

  • direct delivery of services in one ESA
  • delivery of services in a second ESA - via subcontractor (1)
  • delivery of services in a third ESA – via subcontractor (2).

We seek clarification on the required documentation.

Selection Criterion 1 – does this need to be completed on behalf of our organisation only, as the lead agency. Or do we need to submit against Criterion 1 on behalf of each subcontractor agency?

Selection Criterion 2 and 3 – do we need to complete these sections for each ESA, i.e. in this case, submit three separate responses against criterion 2 and 3?

Alternatively, do we need to make a completely separate Full submission for each subcontractor? Which, in this case, would be three; one for us as the lead agency; one for subcontractor (1); and one for subcontractor (2)?

A. Where a Subcontracting arrangement is proposed, only the Tenderer, not the proposed Subcontractor(s), may submit a tender. Therefore the Tenderer should supply a response for Selection Criterion 1 once only for its own organisation.

The Tenderer should complete Selection Criteria 2 and 3 for each Employment Service Area in which they wish to tender for DES-DMS business.

If a Tenderer wishes to engage a Subcontractor to perform part of the Services, details of the Subcontractor(s) must be provided in question 8 of Form B and question 2.4 of Form C.

More information on subcontracting can be found at Section 3.4.4 of the RFT.

4.28 In Part B, Question 1.6 it is asked ‘Does the Tenderer conform to the National Standards for Disability Services?’  Is this asking if we currently hold certification against these Standards or is it asking that our organisation is already compliant in a wider sense?

A. Question 1.6 of Part B is specifically asking Tenderers whether they hold current certification against the National Standards for Disability Services.

4.29 Part C, Section 2.2 has a “drop down” box labelled Type of Coverage this box provides two options; Full and Partial. Please provide a definition of each.

Can a Tenderer state “Full”, if they are offering only one site for the ESA, but this one site, is a permanent Full-time site?

A. Type of Coverage definitions are:

Full – The selection of Full indicates the Tenderer intends to cover the ESA in its entirety.

Partial – The selection of Partial indicates the Tenderer wishes to cover part of the ESA. If indicating Partial coverage, the tenderer should describe the coverage offered. The description must be able to be understood by people not familiar with the location, and should preferably refer to identifiable geographical features that DSS can identify on a map of the area.

There is no requirement indicated in the RFT to provide additional sites to constitute Full coverage of the indicated ESA. However, Section 4.1.7 Sites of the RFT states:

“Site type and location will be taken into account during the tender assessment and business allocation phase.”

You should also refer to sections 4.1.6 and 4.1.7 of the RFT.

4.30 Is the address to be provided in the Tender Declaration to be the residential or work address of the person signing the declaration?

A. The address means the place at which, or through which, a person may be contacted,  in this instance the work address should be provided

4.31 In relation to Selection Criteria 2 we are an organisation who do  not currently provide services to eligible DES job seekers (i.e. clients are usually on work cover) though we do provide similar services as DES DMS and therefore would appreciate clarity as to which heading we use to explain our past performance, will we use:

  1. "Delivering Services to people eligible for DES-DMS" heading
    or
  2. Delivering Services in this ESA or similar ESA's headingor another heading?

A. If your organisation does not currently provide DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA (or who do not have a current Star Rating) then the ‘II. All other Tenderers’ section of Criterion 2 is applicable for your organisation. As stated in this section of the RFT you are required to respond to both the “Delivering services to people eligible for DES–DMS” and “Delivering services in this ESA or similar ESAs” headings. If you are bidding for specialist services business, then you will also need to add the ‘Specialist Performance’ heading.

4.32 Is the indicative caseload the number of jobseekers per ESA eligible to access the service on a per annum basis or is this figure based the total number of job seekers over the full three year contract?

A. The indicative caseload figures included in the Industry Information Paper are point in time figures, for the CRS Australia caseload they were assisting. More recent total caseload information (all providers in the ESA) and commencements by ESA and quarters are available on the Labour Market Information Portal.

4.33 We commenced operations in April 2013, so our first full financial year of operations has only just been completed. We have grown quickly since start up, and broke even for the first time late last calendar year and as such were able to turn a small profit at the end of the financial year given the growth in revenues and profit in the last two quarters.

Even though we have been operating more than 12 months, I don’t believe our full year financial statements will tell the financial story of our business growth. As such is it reasonable for me to include cash flows and a business plan.

If so, what level of detail is wanted in the business plan (a full blown plan or an abridged version?)

Also – in terms of cash flows, how many years of cash flows would be required? We will be tendering for numerous ESA’s with no guarantee of business in all of those we tender for, do we just pick a random number of ESA’s to include in our cash flow projections and make these the stated assumptions the cash flows are based on?

A. If your entity is providing full year financial information, as per Section 11, the entity is not required to provide a business plan (including projected cash flows).

If however the entity has only had a short trading history the entity may choose to include a business plan.

Business plans should be of a sufficient level of detail to reasonably and realistically demonstrate the planned operation of the business. It is important that the entity makes realistic assumptions about its projected cash flows. Presumptions for the business plan and the respective cash flows may be based on what the entity may see as being a realistic level of business that they may gain if successful in the tender.

As noted in the Financial Viability and Credentials Assessment Form “ The onus is on you (the tenderer) to provide sufficient information to satisfy the Department of your entity’s financial viability”

4.34 In June 2014, our company completed and sent a  Financial and Credentials Information Form for a different Government tender, to a different government department, using AusTender, with Financial Statements for years of 2011, 2012  & 2013 provided.

Our company will not have our 2014 Financial Statements audited before submitting the DES-DMS Tender. The Financial and Credentials Information Form Option 2. A. Quotes “the last full financial year prior to the date this form is submitted”.

Should our company tick Option 2.B.1 and provide unaudited Financial Statements for year end 30 June 2014?

A. Option 2.B.1 can be selected if the financial viability information was previously assessed by the Department of Employment even if this was on behalf of another department. This would normally be indicated by the form that is required to be completed as it has retained the same basic format regardless of the issuing department. If you are unsure please select option 1.

It is preferred by the Department that you supply 2014 financial statements, whether audited or unaudited. It is recognised that due to the timing of the tender many organisations would not be able to supply audited financial statements for 2014 by the tender closing date.

4.35 If we are a 4 and 5 Star provider do we have to address Criterion 2 for ESA’s that we currently do not provide services in?

The response was that we did not have to.

However in the RFT 4.6.3, Criterion 2, under the heading Content of written responses to Selection Criterion 2 it states in bullet point number 2 and 3 it talks about providers who are not currently providing DES-ESS/DES-DMS in the ESA they are tendering for should provide written responses.

I am very confused now. So in a nut shell my question is this. We provide DES-ESS to 2 ESA’s and we are going to be tendering for several. Are we required to complete Criterion 2 for the two ESA’s we do not currently provide DES-ESS for?

Please tell me yes/no and not just direct me back to 4.6.3 to read again as I keep interpreting it differently each time I read.

A. As previously stated in the webinar on Friday you do not need to provide a response if you are a current DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA provider with a Star Rating. This is regardless of whether your ESA Star Ratings are different ESAs to those for which you are bidding for business. However you may choose to provide a written response if it provides relevant additional information about your past performance.

4.36 There appears to be a bug in Tender Response form Part D. When pasting text in from a word document some sections of the text appears in another language/text. This does not happen in Tender Response form Part E.

A. We have been unable to recreate the error; however, general causes of the error occur when the resident IT platform has a Font package installed that Adobe does not recognise. We have also noted that the change only occurs when a dot point begins. We ask that you strip the formatting from your Word document before pasting into the Adobe forms.

If the problem persists after removing the formatting, we suggest you submit the completed Part D form with your final response (showing the wing ding issue) along with the rest of your tender to AusTender and include the identical response in a word document format (using a legible font) with the Employment Service Area and any Specialisation clearly identified. Once you have uploaded the documents to AusTender, email the Employment Services Purchasing Hotline identifying the receipt number of your submission and note that you have had to upload a word document due to this error.

4.37 We are a national provider and will be tendering in multiple ESA’s. We would like to discuss contingency upload arrangements with the Department as we have experienced issues in the past which we attribute to the size of our bid. Please advise if this is possible and how this can be arranged?

A. When Tenderers have completed their tender and are ready to lodge their response through AusTender they should compress the files for uploading.

WinZip is one type of compression software that organisations can use to compress or ‘zip’ their tender. This is not free software; however organisations can download a free trial of WinZip from the WinZip website.

If Tenderers expect the zip file to exceed 20 megabytes, Tenderers should call the AusTender Help Desk to seek advice on a suitable time to lodge the response to AusTender.

If the Tenderer wishes to upload their response in multiple sections, allowing smaller packets to be submitted to AusTender, the tenderer should email the Hotline, espurchasing@employment.gov.au, detailing each of the receipt numbers.

For more information on zipping and loading files to AusTender please see Appendix F Information Guide For Tenderers Submitting Their Tender, Section ‘Tender lodgement and ‘zipping’ files’.

AusTender Help Desk
All queries and requests for technical or operational support must be directed to:
Telephone: 1300 651 698
Email: tenders@finance.gov.au
The AusTender Help Desk is available 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday, Canberra time, (except for ACT and national public holidays).

For further details about tender lodgement requirements, refer to section 3.5.9 of the RFT and the information provided at Appendix F of the RFT.

Tenderers should allow sufficient time for tender lodgement, including taking into account additional time that may be required for any problem analysis and resolution prior to the Tender Closing Time.

4.38 The RFT states that the tender form can be run successfully on any of the following operating systems:
Windows 2007
I’m not familiar with “Windows 2007”. Is it the same as Windows 7?

A. Windows 2007 is the same as Windows 7.

4.39 Please advise is there a site where we can practise the upload of documents for the DES-DMS tender, if yes, would appreciate it if could email the link to me.In addition, for the actual upload of the documents to the AusTender website, are we allow to upload the documents in stages and save them in the website?

A. Instructions for uploading a test tender response for the DES-DMS tender can be found at Appendix C, ‘Practise uploading files into AusTender’.
As indicated at section 3.5.9, ‘If a tender consists of multiple uploads, due to the number of files or file size, it is the Tenderer’s responsibility to ensure that all files are uploaded before the Tender Closing Time’.

4.40 In Part C, 2.2, our bid range is 25% - 100%. We may open a site two days a week if we receive 25% of business, but if we receive 50% of business we would open that same site full time. Is it OK to complete the 2.4 “dependencies” rows as follows?

ESA Business Share Type

Frequency of Service

Reason for Business Share Dependency

Hours of Service

25%

Part Time

Two days per week

(left empty)

9.00am to 5.00pm

50%

Full Time

Monday to Friday

(left empty)

9.00am to 5.00pm

Also, is it OK that the “50%” that we refer to in the 2.4 dependencies, is not the same as the “100%” which we refer to as the maximum bid in 2.2?

A. You have correctly understood the intent behind Question 2.4. In the above example, the Tenderer would offer a Part Time site if the department was to offer a business range between 25% and 49%. If the department was to offer a business range greater than 50% the Tenderer would offer the site as Full Time.

The site dependency operates complimentary to the preferred minimum and preferred maximum. The business share identified at 2.4 is what the Tenderer would consider as minimum for the site to operate. Using the example above, the Tenderer is indicating the site would operate at a Full Time capacity if the offered business is greater than the 50% as indicated.

4.41 I just wanted to get some clarification on the relationship between Criterion 1 and Criterion 3, specifically with one section.

Criterion 1 has a question :

  • Your organisation’s strategies to deliver integrated Disability Employment Services to Participants and Employers. Your strategies should demonstrate your understanding of the challenges that people with disability, injury or health condition face in seeking employment and also how your organisation will achieve, with available resources:
    • sustainable Employment Outcomes
    • effective interventions
    • training and skills development
    • mentoring, and
    • Flexible Ongoing Support

Criterion 3 has two questions:

  • Provide pre-employment services, training, mentoring, Flexible Ongoing Support where required, and other services to assist Participants get ready for work, find quality jobs and maintain sustainable open employment
  • Work with Employers in the ESA to meet their labour needs and support individual Employers to maintain quality, sustainable open employment outcomes for people with disability, injury or health condition

All of these questions seem to relate to our service delivery models for participants and employers and how these deliver sustainable employment outcomes. I was therefore wanting to clarify whether there should be significant differences in your responses between criterion 1 and 3? Or should the only differences be where you have local initiatives that are different across your network?

If you are repeating your process in criterion 3 from criterion 1, is it acceptable to state that you run a program and refer to criterion 1 for further details on the program? Or should you repeat the details of the program in criterion 3? Will the person evaluating criterion 3 also have read criterion 1?

A. Selection Criterion 1 focuses on the Tenderer’s response at the organisation level, whereas Selection Criterion 3 requires the Tenderer to respond at a local level for the relevant Employment Service Area. Tenderers should respond to each Selection Criteria on its own merit. It is a matter for each Tenderer to decide whether some information may need to be repeated between more than one Selection Criteria, and also to consider how to maximise their use of character limits for a response.

4.42 If two organisations are putting in a bid as Tendering Group – do you have to complete Criteria 2 if the organisations have current business in the ESAs.

A. Refer to question 5.22.

4.43 Tender Response Form Part C – Dependencies

Hypothetical Example:

  • We want to tender for anywhere between 15% and 80% of available business in X ESA.
  • We are a current JSA provider with 3 full time sites in X ESA which we will be utilising space in to provide the DMS service if business is won in this ESA
  •  Even if we are only awarded our minimum bid range of 15% of available business in X ESA – we still have these 3 sites available for use and would be willing to operate DMS business out of all 3 sites in the ESA

Question: How do we state this utilising the table in Tender Response Form Part C – 2.4 in the section shown below for each of the 3 sites that we are nominating in our tender bid to provide services from – Specifically the ESA Business Share% column and the Reason for Business Share dependency Column for each site:

A. If there are no site dependencies, Tenderers are not required to complete ‘ESA Business Share %’ of section 2.4. This field is only required (along with ‘Reason for business Share dependency’) where the tenderer wishes to include Tiered Bidding (described in Section ‘4.1.4 Bid Ranges’ of the RFT) in their tender submission.

All Tenderers are required to complete the below columns in the sub table located at 2.4 of Tender Response Form Part C ie ‘Frequency of service’, ‘Hours of service’ and ‘Site type’. All Tenderers should indicate their preferred bid range at Section 2.2 in the ‘Preferred Minimum %’ and ‘Preferred Maximum %’.

4.44 We have noticed that on all our Tender Response Forms Part C the footer area contains an autocompleted section with a different ESA, see below. We downloaded the latest replacement form (attached) and it still auto generates with ACT/Queanbeyan NSW

Could you please advise?

A. The footer is an auto complete field that derives its information from the Tenderers response at question ‘2.1 List the ESA for which you are bidding to provide DES –DMS.’ As the Tenderer changes their selection at 2.1 the auto text should reflect the changes.

If the Tenderers auto text is not updating with the selection, the Tenderer should satisfy themselves that the correct ESA has been selected at 2.1; as this field drives the information the department will use to label the Tenderers submission. The Tenderer should also ensure, as per the naming convention in the RFT, that the file name clearly indicates the ESA the tenderer is wishing to bid for.

4.45 After reading your response to my question TCM2259 (published at 4.31) we are still unclear on how to use the headings. After discussing it with the Purchasing line I have elaborated on the question and seek urgent clarity please

We do not understand the headings we are being instructed to use in Selection Criterion 2. We:

  • Do not currently provide DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA.
  • Are bidding as a Generalist, not a Specialist.
  • Will be responding to all of the elements of Selection Criterion 2 as instructed.
  • Are an existing provider of similar services (occupational rehabilitation services) with experience in providing these similar services to individuals in this ESA.

Our confusion relates to the following wording in the tender:

  • In addressing Criterion 2, Tenderers, should:
    • outline their past performance in delivering individualised employment services and any other relevant services for job seekers eligible for DES–DMS and identify this information separately in their response using the “Delivering services to people eligible for DES–DMS” heading, and
    • outline their past performance in delivering relevant services in the tendered ESA or similar ESAs and identify this information separately in their response using a “Delivering services in this ESA or similar ESAs” heading.

Both bullet points include 'outline their past performance in delivering.....'. Is it that the first heading "Delivering services to people eligible for DES–DMS” is where we describe our broader experience and "“Delivering services in this ESA or similar ESAs” is where we describe our experience specifically in relation to this (or similar) ESA?

A. If your organisation does not currently provide DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA at all (or does not have a current Star Rating) then the ‘II. All other Tenderers’ section of Criterion 2 is applicable for your organisation. As stated in this section of the RFT you should respond to both the “Delivering services to people eligible for DES–DMS” and “Delivering services in this ESA or similar ESAs” headings. You should use the “Delivering services to people eligible for DES–DMS” to demonstrate past performance delivering relevant services to people who are eligible for DES-DMS, i.e. what relevant services you have delivered to whom. You should use the “Delivering services in this ESA or similar ESAs” to demonstrate past performance delivering relevant services in the tendered ESA or similar ESAs, i.e. where you have delivered relevant services. Similarity of ESA will be considered based on the type of Labour Market Region and the State or Territory that the ESA is in. Neighbouring ESAs which lie on either side of State borders may also be considered similar. If you wish to bring to the Department’s attention other features which you believe make ESAs in which you have past performance similar to the tendered ESA, please do so under the “Delivering services in this ESA or similar ESAs” heading. You should include quantitative data to demonstrate your past performance.

4.46 Our organisation is currently filling in the Part C forms. We are looking for some clarification for Section 2.4 which contains details of sites.

Our organisation has previously delivered DMS services across larger ESAs by having 2-3 larger full-time offices and several “as needs require” outreach offices so that we are able to service the full ESA. Our organisation would like to continue to deliver services in a similar method and is looking for some clarification on how we should fill in the section in regards to business share site dependencies (Section 2.4, last table). For our “main” offices in each ESA, our organisation has committed to opening full-time hours as long as we achieve within the business range nominated in Section 2.2. However, we are concerned that if we put a bid range that matches Section 2.2 (e.g. 23-48%) in the dependency row in Section 2.4 for each site in the ESA, that we are at risk of having the bulk of the business that we are allocated in an ESA assigned to one of our “as needs require” outreach sites.

Is there a better way that our organisation should fill in Section 2.4 on the Part C forms?

A. If there are no site dependencies, Tenderers are not required to complete ‘ESA Business Share %’ for section 2.4. This field is only required (along with ‘Reason for business Share dependency’) where the tenderer wishes to include Tiered Bidding (described in Section ‘4.1.4 Bid Ranges’ of the RFT) in their tender submission.

All Tenderers are required to complete the columns ‘Frequency of service’, ‘Hours of service’ and ‘Site type’ in the sub table located at 2.4 of Tender Response Form Part C.

All Tenderers should indicate their preferred bid range at Section 2.2 in the ‘Preferred Minimum %’ and ‘Preferred Maximum %’.

4.47 If tendering as a new entity under a joint venture between two existing DMS providers, one of whom has novated their DMS contract to the new entity, recognising that the other partner is a current DMS Provider, which organisation’s Star Rating will you use in assessment of Criterion 2?

  • an average of the Star Ratings for the two organisations in the joint venture, or
  • the original entity's star rating in that ESA
  • the better of the Star Ratings for the two organisations

A. If a new entity is tendering in the Request for Tender, then there is no available past performance for that entity.  For a new entity the ‘All other Tenderers’ section of Selection Criterion 2 is applicable.

Refer to published Q&A’s 5.22

4.48 Our organisations are in the midst of novation of deed that was submitted this week to DSS from Organisation A for all assets to be transferred to Organisation B in the next few months. In the application to the department for DMS Tender, we are considering for Organisation B to tender as the lead organisation with Organisation A as a subcontractor until the final novation of deed is approved.

Organisation A has current business in the ESA of which we do not have any business. Do we still have to submit Criteria 2?

A. If Organisation B is an existing provider of DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA and has at least one current Star Rating, it does not have to submit a written response to Criterion 2 but may choose to do so.

If Organisation B does not have at least one current Star Rating for DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA as an entity, it is required to submit a written response to Criterion 2 regardless of whether some or all of the members of the Tendering Group have current Star Ratings.  If a Tendering Group wishes to bring past performance of its members to the Department’s attention it may do so in a written response.

If choosing to submit a tender bid as a sub-contracting arrangement, the tendering entity should carefully review the subcontracting rules, as outlined in section 3.4.4 of the RFT.

Other information that you may find helpful is contained in the published Q&A 5.22.

4.49 We are tending to be a generalist and specialist mental health DES-DMS in an ESA.

In respect to Criterion 3– Local Strategies for Employer and Participant engagement relevant to the ESA that has a 25,000 character limit per ESA - do we submit only one response to this? Or do we do this twice – a response up to 25,000 characters for the Generalist Service for the ESA and a response up to 25,000 characters for the Specialist Service for the ESA?

We understand we only submit the Additional Criterion for Criterion 3 once in our case.

A. In the above example, the Tenderer is bidding for Generalist services and Specialist services in an ESA. Using the Table at section ‘4.6.2 Selection Criteria overview’ of the RFT, the Tenderer would need to submit the following forms for the two bids.

Generalist Bid:

Tender Response From Part E

  • Completing Selection Criteria 2 and 3 only

Specialist Bid

Tender Response From Part E

  • Completing Selection Criteria 2, 3, and Specialist Services Additional Criterion

Using the submitted example, the Tenderer should complete Selection Criteria 3 twice. Once for the ESA Generalist bid and once for the ESA Specialist bid.

Example: Tenderer X is bidding to be a Generalist Service Provider in the Cairns and Toowoomba ESAs, and also as a specialist mental health and a specialist intellectual disability service provider in the Toowoomba ESA. Tenderer X should address:

  • Selection Criterion 1 once only at the organisational level
  • Selection Criteria 2 and 3 once for the Cairns ESA (i.e. as a Generalist Service Provider)
  • Selection Criteria 2 and 3 three times for the Toowoomba ESA (i.e. once as a Generalist Service Provider, once in the context of Services specialising in people who have mental health issues and once in the context of Services specialising in people with intellectual disability), and
  • the Specialist Services Additional Criterion twice (once in relation to Services specialising in people with mental health issues in the Toowoomba ESA and once in relation to Services specialising in people with intellectual disability in the Toowoomba ESA).

4.50 Please refer to Tender Response Form Part C. Can you please clarify how the percentage of available business share applies to a specialist service? For example, we are looking at providing one service in the Melbourne LMR in the Peninsula ESA. From Appendix B there is 34% of DES-DMS business available in this location. Page 85 of the RFT refers to the fact that “If there is 60 per cent of business available in ESA A and a Tenderer wishes to bid for half of that business (i.e. effectively 30 per cent of business available in ESA A) the Tenderer should write their Bid as 50 per cent”. In respect of a specialist application, how should we provide our percentages?

A. Tenderers should specify their bid range for specialist tenders in the same way they would for generalist services. That is, the Tenderer’s bid should be expressed as a percentage of the business available in the relevant Employment Service Area.

4.51 In Part B Tender Information, Q1.6 asks if the Tenderer conforms to the National Standards for Disability Services. We are certified to the previous standards – the Commonwealth Disability Service Standards (our last audit was Nov 2013), with our next audit in Nov 2014 to be against the NSDS. Given this, at Q1.6 do we indicate that we conform to the NSDS (as it has replaced the Disability Service Standards) or not?

A. Yes, an organisation currently certified against the Disability Services Standards may indicate that it conforms to the National Standards for Disability Services in relation to Question 1.6 of Tender Response Form Part B.

As background for potential new DES providers, the National Standards for Disability Services replaced the previous Disability Services Standards on 1 January 2014 following a review process. The Department of Social Services is allowing a 12-month transition period from 1 January 2014, in which existing DES providers should move to certification under the new Standards during their scheduled audits.

4.52 We are looking at providing a specialist Youth Service. Does the Department have a view on the definition of age for ‘Youth’? i.e. should this be the standard 14-24 year old or would be able to define youth as anyone under age 30?

A. No, the Department does not define the areas of specialisation, however tenderers would need to ensure that the name of the proposed specialist area is recognisable within the community.

4.53 Having written to the designated character counts for each of our responses we have pasted these from Word into the PDF forms provided we have found however that the forms:

  • Tender Response Part D will only accept a maximum of 29,882 characters (to obtain this figure we have pasted text into the PDF, then pasted the text the form has accepted back out to Microsoft Word to perform a count)
  • Tender Response Part E - Selection Criterion 3 Response will only accept a maximum of 24,940 characters (to obtain this figure we have pasted text into the PDF, then pasted the text the form has accepted back out to Microsoft Word to perform a count)

A. Word processing software may be used in drafting your responses to the Selection Criteria. You may then copy and paste your final response into the PDF form provided.

The PDF form has been designed to accept the character limit as counted by the Adobe software. You may also use the character count functionality (if available) of word processing software. However, there may be inconsistencies with the character counts of the word processing software and the PDF form, due to small differences in the way different software counts characters. If so, the character count in the PDF form will prevail.

The character count of each individual Selection Criteria cannot be exceeded. All characters over and above the character count will not be able to be pasted into the form.

It is important to note that if tables and graphs are included in your response to selection criteria, they may not appear in the same format when copied and pasted from word processing software to PDF.

4.54. Our organisation has not previously provided a completed Financial and Credentials Information Form to the Department, so Option 2 on page 2 of this form does not apply to us.

On page 10 of this form at 17.1 it says –

“Please attach your latest annual financial statements as well as statements for the previous two years. Financial statements must be the most recent … statements are required to include Balance sheet, Income statement, Cash flow statement, Notes to the accounts and if applicable Directors and Auditors reports.”

Our most recent financial statements for 2013/14 are not yet audited so we are not sure whether these may be submitted. Please would you confirm whether we may include them or whether we must submit only audited statements, which means the most recent set will be for 2012/13?

A. It is preferred by the Department that if you are able to supply audited 2013/14 financial statements however it is recognised that, due to the timing of the tender, many organisations would not be able to supply these by the tender closing date. In that event unaudited 2013/14 financial statements will be accepted.

4.55 In the past when submitting the DES-ESS tender we were required to download software onto our system, complete the information on the software, save this as an AEM file then upload this file along with attachments for the submission.

Is this the same for the DES-DMS as I can’t see where to download the software from or is it just a case of completing the Tender Response Forms A-E as well as the Financial and Credentials Information Form and any certifications and upload those documents to the 5 Response Files and click Lodge Response repeating for each ESA?

A. APET is no longer used by the Department. Therefore, there is no longer a requirement for AEM files. The forms for the DES-DMS tender are available in the download pack from AusTender.

Appendix F of the DES-DMS RFT is an information guide for Tenderers submitting their tender. Appendix F includes information on how to lodge Tenders on AusTender, how to compress files, a Tender Checklist and a list of permitted file types and supported operating systems. It also provides guidance relating to the use of the Tender Response forms.

4.56 Could you please advise whether the tender assessors will read attachments in black and white, or in colour?

A. Tender responses could be read in either black and white or colour.

4.57 In reference to the Department’s response to Q 4.44 of the Q&As.

In this response, you refer to the “naming convention in the RFT that the file name clearly indicates the ESA the tenderer is wishing to bid for”.

I can’t find any reference in the RFT to the file name needing to indicate the ESA the tenderer is bidding for – can you please specify where this information can be found?

A. File naming conventions can be found in Appendix F – ‘When uploading a tender into AusTender, the file name must not exceed 100 characters or contain special characters such as \/:*?”<>’.

In addition we recommend that Tenderers name their files as below:

  • Part A - Your Tenderer Name (in pdf format)
  • Part B - Your Tenderer Name (in pdf format)
  • Part C – [ESA name] (in pdf format)
  • Part D - [ESA name]  SC 1 (in pdf format)
  • Part E - [ESA name]  SC 2, 3 or Specialist (in pdf format)
  • Financial and Credentials Information Form - Your Tenderer Name (in Excel format)
  • Subcontractor Credentials Information Form - Your Tenderer Name (if applicable) (in Excel format)

These files must be saved in the original file format only.

Important: DO NOT submit scanned or hard copy versions of any of the forms. The original file format is required to automatically extract information from these forms.

4.58 When filling out the financial and credentials information form it is noted on page 2 that option two is available for organisations that have previously submitted tenders to the Department. Within option two it states at point B1 that the financial report for the last full financial year is to be attached.

As we are still within the month of July our organisations financial reporting to the 2013-14 financial year is not yet finalised. We do have a finalised financial report for the financial year 2012-13.

Are we able to use this report in place of 2013-14 figures which are not yet available in any form?

A. When completing the Financial and Credentials Information Form, can Option 2 be utilised if the information has been previously provided to DEEWR prior to the establishment of the Department of Employment (for example for the 2012-13 RJCP EOI process)

Yes option 2 can be used. In doing so please ensure that there have been no changes to the previously provided information. If there have been any changes option B.1 and/or B.2 will need to be used.

Please note that:

  1. Previously supplied financial Information is required to have been for the last full financial year prior to the date this form is submitted. It is preferred by the Department that if you are able to supply 2014 financial statements, whether audited or unaudited, it would be preferred. It is recognised that due to the timing of the tender many organisations would not be able to supply financial statements for 2014 by the tender closing date; and
  2. All relevant persons, including the contact person, is required be the same as previously supplied.

4.59 In Monash VIC there are 48% disability services for offer and I am going to tender for Cranbourne and Pakenham area. What percentage of 48% of business is allocated to the two areas (Cranbourne and Pakenham) and will it be financially viable for a small business provider as ours?

A. DES-DMS business is allocated across an Employment Service Area (ESA) - it is not allocated to specific areas within the ESA. Tenderers should bid for their preferred business level as a percentage range of the business available for tender in the ESA. Tenderers should not bid for business at a site level, i.e. in relation to specific locations or areas with in an ESA.

Financial viability checks conducted by the Department of Social Services during the tender are used to minimise risk to the Commonwealth. The process is not used to measure the profitability of an organisation or its potential for success in the DES market. It is up to the Tenderer to determine the viability of bidding for business in a particular area. Section 3.8.1 of the Request for Tender provides more information on financial viability.

4.60 Can I tender for two different labour market regions?

A. A Tenderer can tender for business in more than one Labour Market Region; however, tenders must be submitted at the ESA level.

4.61 In the RFT under the Financials Viability Section, does the department use specific ratio analysis and if so, what benchmarks are used?

A. The Department utilises Australian accounting industry standard ratio analysis and benchmarks as part of the Financial Viability Assessment process.

4.62 In section 2.2, under preferred Minimum %. Is 0.5% the minimum that can be requested?

A. There is no minimum percentage of business that Tenderers may bid for in an ESA. However Tenderers should be aware that preference may be given to tenders that geographically cover all of an ESA.

4.63 Do we need to provide site locations and hours of operation in Criterion 3 for each of the maximum and minimum bids?

A. Tenderers should provide as much information as possible about the location of the site in Form C Section 2.4 for each ESA the Tenderer is bidding to deliver business from. Question 4.8 provides further information on what site information is required when providing a response. That is, if a Tenderer does not have a secured site at the time of tendering process for the location tendered, they should provide as a minimum the ‘suburb’, ‘state’ and the ‘postcode’ for the site that is proposed.

4.64 In 4.1.4, “Example of Bidding” there is reference to making a bid against the available business in the ESA.

However, in Appendix B Labour Market Regions and Employment Services on page 4, the tenderer’s range bids and business offered are directly related to the entire business in the ESA.

Why in Form C 2.2 then do you have to relate the bid range to only the business available in the ESA. That does not make sense if you refer to the example on page 4.

A. Thank you for your question. The Department has posted Addendum No: 4 to clarify the example given in the Table on page 4.Tenderers should bid for their preferred business level as a percentage range of the business available for tender in the Employment Service Area (ESA). Question 2.2 in Tender Response Form C is consistent with this approach and the description given in 4.1.4.

Questions raised at Information Session and Webinars

5.1 Selection Criteria 2- Past Performance, what is a similar ESA?

A: For assessment of Criterion 2, similarity of ESA will be considered based on the type of Labour Market Region and the State or Territory that the ESA is in. Neighbouring ESAs which lie on either side of State borders may also be considered similar. If Tenderers wish to bring to the Department’s attention other features which they believe make ESAs in which they have past performance similar to the tendered ESA, they may choose to provide details in the written response.

5.2 Where are the existing CRS sites located? Will it be possible to take over CRS Australia leases?

A. CRS site locations can be found on Jobsearch.gov.au. However existing location doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best location. It is up to each Tenderer to nominate which sites they propose to operate out of, based on the needs of each local labour market. The availability, or otherwise, of leases on CRS Australia premises is a matter for the Department of Human Services.

Tenderers are reminded that in preparing their tenders, Tenderers must not use information or assistance obtained from a current or former officer or employee of the Government in circumstances that are contrary to the Communication Protocol in Appendix C of the RFT. In particular, Tenderers must not seek assistance from current employees of the Department of Human Services (including CRS Australia) to obtain information relating to the procurement process that is not publicly available.

5.3 Can Jobseeker ID’s be used in case studies in response to selection criteria?

A. The Department can only evaluate information that is actually in the tender response, and will not evaluate information incorporated by reference.

5.4 When assessing Selection Criteria 2 will the Department consider all relevant performance information or just the most relevant information?

A. Criterion 2 will be assessed based on the most relevant June Star Rating or Ratings. Most relevant means:

  • If you have a Star Rating for DES-DMS in the tendered ESA, that will be used.
  • Otherwise DES-DMS Star Ratings in similar ESAs will be used where available.
  • If no Star Rating in a similar or nearby ESA is available, DMS Star Rating or Ratings in other ESAs will be used.
  • If you do not have a DMS Star Rating, ESS Star Ratings will be used (in the same ESA, in similar or nearby ESAs or in other ESAs as relevant)
  • If you do not have a DMS or an ESS Star Rating, JSA Star Ratings will be used (in the same ESA, in similar or nearby ESAs or in other ESAs as relevant).

In addition, Tenderers will be able to provide a written response to Selection Criterion 2, which will be assessed.

5.5 Can stars be released earlier than August?

A. DES Provider CEOs will receive the organisation’s June 2014 Star Ratings 48 hours prior to being published, as per standard practice.

5.6 At what point will the hierarchy of relevance for past performance be applied – at the beginning of the assessment process, or only when you have two Tenderers who have the same past performance score?

A. The hierarchy of relevance will be applied at the beginning of the assessment process for Selection Criterion 2.

5.7 With relation to Criterion 2, if we have a sub-contractor in two separate ESAs can we ask you to look at the higher performing one?

A. Assessment of Selection Criterion 2 will be based on the past performance of the lead organisation. If Tenderers wish to bring past performance of specific subcontractors to the Department’s attention, they may do so by supplying a written response to Selection Criterion 2.

5.8 Is the Draft Deed the final Deed?

A. The Draft Deed is essentially the final deed. It is draft only to take into account the possibility of Government changes that may impact DES. For further information about the Draft Deed, see clause 3.9.1 of the RFT.

5.9 Will Participants on the CRS Australia caseload be given a choice of provider and, if so, how will this affect the transition caseload that successful tenderers can expect to receive?

A. Choice of Provider is facilitated after the allocation of Participants to Providers during 28 February to 1 March 2015. Choice of Provider should not affect the allocation of Participants in the Transition. Participants may exercise their right to request a different Provider to the one that they are allocated in the Transition. Transition Participants are expected to attend the initial meeting with the Provider to which they are allocated in the Transition process. Participants and Providers must Commence them in the Employment IT System. If the Participant then considers that the Provider does not meet their needs, the Participant can exercise their choice to request a different Provider by contacting the National Customer Service Line.

5.10 Can you provide clarification on consortium tendering?

A. The RFT sets out the rules in relation to group tenders (including consortia) in sections 3.4.3 – 3.4.9.

5.11 Selection Criterion 2 -If a provider decides to add additional information, how will that be assessed?

A. Any response to Selection Criterion 2 provided in accordance with the provisions of the RFT will be read. If the written response provides relevant additional information about past performance, it will be assessed and may contribute to the score assigned for Selection Criterion 2. Please refer to Section 4.6.3 of the RFT.

5.12 Page 14 of the RFT notes that the Government may consider some of the outcomes of the 2012 performance framework review for implementation during the Deed period. Can you expand on what this means?

A. Many of the recommendations of the 2012 review of the DES performance framework have already been implemented. The purpose of the statement on page 14 of the RFT is to alert potential tenderers that the Government may consider implementing some further adjustments over the life of the Deed based on the review recommendations. Any changes to the Performance Framework during the life of the Deed would be developed and implemented in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

5.13 If we are a 4 and 5 star provider in 2 ESA's do we still need to address Criterion 2 for two new ESA's we are tendering for?

A. No, you do not need to provide a response if you are a current DES-DMS or DES-ESS provider with a star rating. However you may choose to do so. Please refer to section 4.6.3 of the RFT.

5.14 Is the limit for three A4 pages per Criterion per ESA?

A. The three A4 pages are per tender response regardless of if you are applying for one or more ESAs. The purpose is to provide information that cannot be submitted in the application form such as graphs, tables or pictures.  The attachments should not be used as an opportunity to provide additional prose that can be included in the application form.

5.15 The RFT seems to require an existing service delivery site to be identified.  Is it allowable to instead list a proposed (full-time) service delivery site?

A. Clause 4.1.7 of the RFT provides that Tenderers must nominate Sites from which they propose to deliver Services in an ESA. However, it is recognised that Tenderers may not have acquired a physical location and/or lease at the time of submitting their tender response.  Tenderers should include as much detail of the premise(s) or site(s) in the ESA in which they are tendering for business when completing form C2.4.  

5.16 Are previous providers of JSA in remote areas (now RJCP providers) still required to complete Selection Criterion 2?

A. If you are not a current provider of DES ESS, DMS or JSA then you must submit a written response to Selection Criterion 2. In other words, current providers of only RJCP services should submit a written response to Selection Criterion 2.

5.17 If selection criterion 2 is worth 40% and we are a current 5 star provider does that mean we would receive 40% for this automatically?

A. No, factors such as the type of service and area in which service is delivered are also taken into account It. Please refer to section 4.6.3 of the RFT for further information.

5.18 Can you upload the completed tender onto AusTender on a Saturday or Sunday?

A. Yes.

5.19 Where can I get the information you mentioned in the face to face session, for example selection criteria?

A. A recorded version of the face to face information session is available from the Department’s Youtube channel accessed via the DSS website.

5.20 If we provide DES-DMS in one and only one ESA, are we required to submit a written response to Criterion 2 for all new ESAs which we are bidding for?

A. Tenderers who have at least one current Star Rating for DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA in any ESA do not have to submit a written response to Criterion 2 but may choose to do so. Please refer to section 4.6.3 of the RFT.

5.21 If you are an existing JSA, DES- DMS or DES-ESS provider in various ESAs but not a provider in a particular ESA that you are tendering for, are you required to write a response to Criterion 2?

A. Tenderers who have at least one current Star Rating for DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA in any ESA do not have to submit a written response to Criterion 2 but may choose to do so. Please refer to section 4.6.3 of the RFT.

5.22 If you are tendering as a consortium, do you answer Criterion 2 as if you are a new legal entity?

A. Tenders may be submitted by a Tendering Group (e.g. a consortium, joint venture, partnership or some other form of alliance).

If the Tendering Group as an entity is an existing provider of DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA and has at least one current Star Rating, it does not have to submit a written response to Criterion 2 but may choose to do so.

If the Tendering Group does not have at least one current Star Rating for DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA as an entity, it is required to submit a written response to Criterion 2 regardless of whether some or all members of the Tendering Group have current Star Ratings. If a Tendering Group wishes to bring past performance of its members to the Department’s attention it may do so in a written response.

5.23 Are you definitely required to give a written response to Criterion 2 if you are tendering for a specialist service?

A. Tenderers who have at least one current Star Rating for DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA do not have to submit a written response to Criterion 2 but may choose to do so. Tenderers bidding for specialist business that do not have a current Star Rating for the tendered specialist service in DES-DMS should provide evidence of past performance for the relevant specialist cohort in a written response. It is recommended that Tenderers identify this evidence separately in their response to Criterion 2 by adding a "Specialist Performance" heading. Please refer to Section 4.6.3 of the RFT. (See also Question 5.25)

5.24 If you are tendering as a new Tendering Group - it looks like that Group would have to submit a Criterion 2 response. What star rating do you use? The Star Rating of the existing Individual contractor delivering the services or an average of the companies in the Tendering Group?

A. Tenders may be submitted by a Tendering Group (e.g. a consortium, joint venture, partnership or some other form of alliance).

If the Tendering Group as an entity is an existing provider of DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA and has at least one current Star Rating, it does not have to submit a written response to Criterion 2 but may choose to do so. If the Tendering Group does not have at least one current Star Rating for DES-DMS, DES-ESS or JSA as an entity, it is required to submit a written response to Criterion 2 regardless of whether some or all members of the Tendering Group have current Star Ratings. If a Tendering Group wishes to bring past performance of its members to the Department’s attention it may do so in a written response.

5.25 If you are bidding as a Specialist do you have to respond to Criterion 2? This is not mentioned in RFT.

A. The RFT states “Tenderers who do not currently have a Star Rating for the tendered specialist services in DES-DMS should provide evidence of past performance for this specialist cohort in accordance with the requirement of this Selection Criterion. It is recommended that you identify this evidence separately in your response to Selection Criterion 2 by adding a ‘Specialist Performance’ heading.” (Section 4.6.3 page 94). (See also Question 5.23)

5.26 How would the scoring weight performance for comparison in the following scenario: three competing bids, all with past experience in the same ESA. Bid one DMS contract with +15 percentile. Bid two ESS provider with +19 percentile. Bid three JSA with +25 percentile?

A. The Department is not able to provide assessments of hypothetical tender responses.

5.27 Much of the information sought in Criteria 1 and Criteria 3 is similar. Therefore, there is likely to be a lot of information repeated.  Have I interpreted the questions correctly? 

A. Selection Criterion 1 focuses on the Tenderer’s response at the organisation level, whereas Selection Criterion 3 requires the Tenderer to respond at a local level for the relevant Employment Service Area.

Tenderers should respond to each Selection Criteria on its own merit. It is a matter for each Tenderer to decide whether some information may need to be repeated between more than one Selection Criteria, and also to consider how to maximise their use of character limits for a response.

5.28 With an application from an Alliance (e.g. a Consortium) does the Department require the partners to have some sort of document setting out the terms of their alliance (e.g. MOU, legally-binding agreement, etc). Is there a preference either way?

A. Tendering Groups must complete Section 3 of Tender Response Form - Part B. The Department of Social Services does not require a Tendering Group to provide a document setting out the terms of their alliance but may seek to validate any claims made of arrangements in the tender response. Please see the Department’s DMS – RFT Question and Answers web site at Chapter 4, Question 4.22 for information on a similar question.

5.29 What would our reporting requirements be if we have a Full time or main site in an ESA and use two alternative offices of the organisation, still within the ESA? For example as either a part-time site or an outreach site? How does this affect our performance for the ESA?

A. When the Department contracts with a successful Tenderer there is a schedule in the Deed that sets out the requirements for the approved site types i.e. full time, part time or outreach. These sites are entered into the employment IT system that is used by DES providers to manage caseloads and performance reports.

Performance reports will be provided for each individual site. Star ratings are produced at site and ESA level, subject to enough performance data available to produce a robust star rating.

5.30 If successful in winning Specialist business as part of the tender, will we be given an indicative caseload as part of transition arrangements?

A. A successful Tenderer may be given a transition caseload of participants who were previously registered with CRS Australia, however, this will depend on the situation in the relevant Employment Service Area. DSS makes no guarantee as to the number of transition participants that a successful Tenderer may expect to receive upon winning DES-DMS business.

5.31 Does the three pages of attachments include any letters of support or testimonials?

A. No, the attachments should not include letters of support or testimonials. As outlined in Section 4.5 of the RFT, the purpose of allowing attachments is to allow Tenderers to provide information in a format that cannot be submitted within the constraints of the Selection Criteria tender response forms on AusTender. This means that attachments should only include information in formats such as images, diagrams, tables and graphs. If Tenderers wish to provide letters of support or testimonials they should be included within the response to the Selection Criteria, within the relevant character limits.

5.32 We are tendering for an ESA where we do not yet have a physical presence but would establish one if we were successful. How do we answer the question asking for an address in Form B 2.4?

A. A response to this question has previously been provided on the Department’s DMS – RFT Question and Answers web site at Chapter 4, Question 4.8.

Clause 4.1.7 of the RFT provides that Tenderers must nominate Sites from which they propose to deliver Services in an ESA. However, it is recognised that Tenderers may not have acquired a physical location and/or lease at the time of submitting their tender response. Tenderers should include as much detail of the premise(s) or site(s) in the ESA in which they are tendering for business when completing form C2.4.

5.33 If we were to list an outreach site in the schedule, will that outreach site will be measured on its performance separately to the full time site?

A. Yes, the Department would collect performance data for the outreach site separate to any other site in the ESA., Star Ratings are produced both at the Site (where possible) and at the ESA level taking into account all performance across the ESA.

5.34 In Form C 2.3 how do you change from an ESA to nil i.e.no ESA?

A. Tenderers who do not wish to specify any ‘Conditionality’ in their submission should leave Form 2.3 blank. If, however, the tenderer has inadvertently added information to Question 2.3 and wishes to not have the information included in their bid, the tenderer should insert ‘Not Applicable’ into the “If 'Other', what type of Other Spec” field. Note that a response to this question has previously been provided on the Department’s DMS – RFT Question and Answers web site at Chapter 4, Question 4.21.

5.35 Can a service approach CRS staff regarding future employment?

A. Tenderers should not be directly approaching CRS employees during the tender period. 

5.36 In what format does the tender application need to be ie can it be on disc?

A. Tenderers are required to electronically lodge their tender application through AusTender. This is the only format that tender applications will be accepted.

Appendix F provides detailed information on how to submit a tender response including a ‘Tender Checklist’ to ensure Tenderers have completed the necessary documents and are ready to lodge their tender.

5.37 Looking at Criterion 2, are 'program relevance' (ie JSA, DMS and ESS ) and 'existing ESA presence/neighbouring or 'like' ESA' to be given equivalent status in terms of scoring?

A. For assessment of Criterion 2, everything else being equal Tenderers will score higher the more relevant their past performance is to the DES-DMS programme, and the more relevant their past performance is to the tendered ESA. For information about how relevance of past performance will be determined, please refer to section 4.6.3 of the RFT.

5.38 Can any indication be provided regarding the scale used when assessing the equivalence of DMS/ESS/JSA performance in SC2?

A. For assessment of Criterion 2, everything else being equal Tenderers will score higher the more relevant their past performance is to the DES-DMS programme, and the more relevant their past performance is to the tendered ESA. For information about how relevance of past performance will be determined, please refer to section 4.6.3 of the RFT.

5.39 The deed requires that providers obtain insurance that includes a waiver of subrogation. Some insurance companies state that this type of insurance is not available. Can DSS please clarify its expectations in this part of the deed?

A. Successful Tenderers will be required to obtain and maintain the insurance as specified in the Deed.

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