Disability Manangement Service Tender Industry Information Paper Question and Answers

The Government is releasing a Request for Tender for the DES-DMS business previously contracted to CRS Australia. The following questions and answers are provided for information.

Q.Why is the business going to Tender?

A. The Government has made a decision to expand the number of non-government service providers delivering DES-DMS. Therefore, business previously contracted to CRS Australia is being put to tender.

Q. How much business is going tender?

A. There is approximately 47 per cent of the DES-DMS business available.

Q. Where is business available?

A. Business is available in 97 of the 110 Employment Service Areas (ESAs) across Australia.

Q. How much business is available in each ESA?

A. Business levels vary from 25 per cent to 100 per cent.

Q. Will there be an Invitation to Treat process?

A. No, all available business will be put to tender.

Q. Is CRS Australia eligible to tender?

A. No.

Q. Are there any significant changes to the DES-DMS programme?

A. No.

Q. Will there be information sessions on the RFT?

A. There will be a mix of information sessions and webinars once the RFT is released.

Q. How long will the RFT be open for?

A. The RFT will be open from 1 July to 2:00 pm 4th August 2014

Q. How will the transition of participants be conducted?

A. The department will work with CRS Australia and providers to ensure a smooth transition.

Q. Will the Government provide advice/direction on where Specialist services are required?

A. This is still under consideration but will be determined before the RFT is released.

Q. Why are 1 and 2 star providers being extended?

A. The Government has chosen to not unnecessarily disrupt the entire market, but rather it will use existing mechanisms within the DES deed to encourage high performance by providers. The department recently completed a business reallocation process as part of its ongoing programme of encouraging high performance with DES. The business of 1 and 2 star DES-DMS providers was in scope for reallocation through this process and, as a result, a number of sites and contracts ceased operating in March 2014. The department will maintain its scheduled contract management and programme assurance activities including future business reallocation.

Q. Are staff members of CRS Australia eligible to tender?

A. Please see the response provided at Question 69.

Q. When is the transition period?

A. The transition period will run from mid-November 2014 to early March 2015.

Q. Where can I get a printed copy of the RFT?

A. The department is not printing this RFT. You may download and print a copy from AusTender.

Q. Are DES-ESS providers eligible to tender?

A. Yes.

Q. Are Job Services Australia (JSA) providers eligible to tender?

A. Yes.

Q.When will the probity arrangements commence?

A. Probity arrangements have already begun.

Q. Why is there no business listed for tender in the Alice Springs, Grampians, Midlands/Wheatbelt, Mt Isa and Murray Darling Employment Services Areas?

A. There is no business for tender in those ESAs as the business that CRS held in the ESAs, which involved a very small caseload, was handed back to the Department and reallocated to existing DES-DMS Providers in those ESAs using the established business reallocation principles.

Q. Will there be more than one provider awarded business per ESA?

A. This depends on the number of bids assessed as suitable and the amount of business available in each ESA. The department prefers to have more than one provider in each ESA but only where it is warranted.

Q. Under Criterion 2, there are different requirements depending on which programs are currently delivered by the tenderer. What if providers are tendering in a consortium or some other joint arrangement, which requirement would apply

A. DSS may use any and all information available to it in assessing Tenders, including information regarding past performance of consortium members or members of other joint arrangements. Tenderers should refer to the RFT documentation for the final arrangements.

Q. Can attachments be lodged with a tenderer's RFT response?

A. The proposal outlined in the Industry Information Paper is that tenderers will not be able to submit attachments with their tender response. The character limits assigned to each selection criterion are generous and have been designed to strike a balance that allows tenderers to provide a fulsome response while allowing tender assessment to be finalised within a reasonable time period. Tenderers should refer to the RFT documentation that will be released on AusTender for the final arrangements.

Q. Do the Character limits include spaces?

A. Yes.

Q. Will the RFT Format of the document be prescribed by the department as part of the criteria for submission?

A. Yes. This will be specified in the RFT.

Q. What are the conditions for submitting a tender by organisations as a consortium? Does it need to be a prime and sub provider arrangement?

A. The arrangements for group tendering, including consortia, will be outlined in the RFT documentation. Our intention is that each tenderer will be able determine the structure of its tendering group and there will be no requirement to have a prime/sub-provider arrangement in place. However, if a tendering group is a consortium, the department's intention is that the RFT will require the consortium members to appoint a lead member to act as agent for the other consortium members. Tenderers should refer to the RFT documentation for the final arrangements.

Q. 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.

Q. Will the current DMS deed stand for 2015-18?

A. It is the Department’s intention that the deed offered to successful tenderers will be substantially in the same form as the current DMS Deed. However, the Department reserves the right to amend the deed, for example, to incorporate new initiatives or Government policy that is announced between the release of the RFT and undertaking contracting with successful tenderers.

Q. Does criterion 2 preclude organisations without DES experience from tendering?

A. No. Selection criterion 2 asks tenderers to outline their past performance in delivering the same or similar services to those being tendered. This allows for organisations who have not had experience in delivering DES to tender and demonstrate their capacity to deliver the services.

Q. Will the RFT use the APET response software?

A. APET response software will not be used for the DES-DMS Request for Tender. Prospective Tenderers will download a pack from AusTender, which will include a number of smart forms through which Tenderers will submit their responses to the Request for Tender.

Q. Are tenderers allowed to submit a conditional tender with a minimum and maximum caseload number?

A. Tenderers will be required to submit a minimum and maximum bid range for each Employment Services Area (ESA) they are tendering for. In addition, it is intended that tenderers will be able to outline certain conditions on their bids – for example, a tenderer may state that its bid for business in a particular ESA is conditional on winning business in a different ESA. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT for details on how to bid for business, including conditionality and the restrictions on making conditional bids, which will be outlined in the final RFT.

Q. Can an organisation submit more than one tender response, for example in its own right and as a member of a consortium?

A. This will be specified in the RFT.

Q. Will the June star ratings be released prior to closure of the RFT?

A. It is anticipated that the June 2014 DES Star Ratings will be published on Friday

1 August 2014.

Q. What is the classification to determine Metro, regional and remote areas?

A. There is no business in remote Australia available in this tender – employment services in designated remote areas are delivered by the Remote Jobs and Communities Programme. DES business is awarded at the Employment Service Area (ESA) level which may cover both metro and regional areas. Further information about ESAs is available at the Labour Market Information Portal.

Q. Will referee reports be allowed or required as part of the RFT?

A. No. The department intends to seek the contact details of two (2) referees from tenderers that are not current DES or JSA providers. Tenderers will not be able to submit written references. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT for details on providing referees.

Q. Is there a breakdown available at ESA level for specialist cohort of DES DMS participants? Is the statistics provided current including CRS caseload and other specific information including type of disabilities and specialist groups?

A. The department is still considering the data to be made available. More detail will be provided at the time the RFT is released.

Q. Do tenderers bid for business by ESA or site?

A. Bids for business are made at the ESA level. Tenderers will be asked to nominate site locations and hours of business within an ESA. More detail will be provided in the RFT.

Q. Can you deliver generalist and specialist business from the same site or must they be separate sites?

A. Generalist and specialist business can be delivered from the same site.

Q. Has there been any change to the department’s assessment process based on the outcomes of the ESS Tender and subsequent star rating results of new providers?

A. The department is in the process of finalising the assessment process. More detail will be provided in the RFT.

Q. Between now and tender release time does the department expect the low performing DES DMS providers' caseloads will be added to the available business share if they are sanctioned by DSS?

A. No. This RFT is for the CRS Australia business available. Business as usual practices will be applied in the event of gap filling requirements.

Q. Is the indicative caseload in the information paper the total DMS caseload overall or CRS's caseload?

A. The indicative caseload is the current CRS caseload.

Q. Does the department have a preference for 100% coverage of an ESA? Is there a sub weighting for the geographic coverage offered by each tenderer? Would you prefer a larger provider with a broader geographic coverage against a smaller provider specialising in part of a larger ESA?

A. Geographical coverage is just one of a range of factors that will be considered in assessing tenders and allocating business. In some cases it may be that tenderers bidding to deliver services to an entire ESA will be given preference over those that do not, although this will vary depending on the circumstances of each ESA. Further, in some circumstances (particularly in the case of specialists), delivering services in a more restricted geographical area may be warranted. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT for details on geographical coverage requirements, and how geographical coverage will be considered in tender assessment.

Q. When will the presentation of the Webinar PowerPoint be available?

A. The presentation is now available on the Disability Management Service Tender page.

Q. Will the webinar be captioned, or if not, is it possible to have a text copy of the presentation?

A. Unfortunately the Webinars are not able to be captioned. However, a copy of the Webinar PowerPoint is available on the Disability Management Service Tender Disability Management Service Tender page.

Q. Are current DES-DMS providers able to bid for business to expand their existing market share in ESAs in which they are already delivering DES-DMS services?

A. Current DES-DMS providers are able to tender for available business in any ESA.

Q. I was looking for “item 12 in the Industry Information paper” as detailed in this tender document which was not attached to the Addenda. Can you please provide me with the link to locate this paper?

A. The paper that the addendum is referring to is the Industry Information paper. Information on how to contact the Department can be found in item 11 and 12 of the Industry Information Paper.

Item 11 quotes ‘The Department of Employment’s Employment Services Purchasing Hotline (the Hotline) is the primary means of contact during the tender process, and can be contacted on

1300 733 514 (Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Canberra time, excluding ACT and national public holidays) or via email at espurchasing@employment.gov.au.

Q. What is the approximate dollar value of the 47 per cent of business being tendered?

A. DES DMS is an uncapped demand-driven programme which means that support will be funded for all eligible participants who choose to access the programme. Successful tenderers will be allocated business within the range available in each ESA, however there is no guarantee of business. Providers’ actual revenue will be dependent on participants choosing to use their service, and on outcomes achieved.

Q. My understanding was that all procurement contracts over a particular price must be included in AusTender. Is that the case for the CRS contract to deliver DMS? There are other CRS contracts listed but I can't find the DMS one. The contract id code might help I am trying to determine to overall contract value.

A. CRS Australia’s DES-DMS contract ID on AusTender is CN274637-A3.

DES DMS is an uncapped demand-driven programme which means that support will be funded for

all eligible participants who choose to access the programme. Successful tenderers will be allocated business within the range available in each ESA, however there is no guarantee of business. Providers’ actual revenue will be dependent on participants choosing to use their service, and on outcomes achieved.

Q. For existing providers of DES-DMS, Criteria 2 states they do not have to answer this question. Can you explain in plain English, the tendering conditions for current DMS providers?

1. in the ESA where providers have current business and 2. In the ESA where they are bidding for new business if they DO NOT have to answer this question. How is the department going to assess us if there is no response to Criteria 2?

A. The information in the Industry Information Paper is correct. Information provided in the Webinar was inaccurate. We apologise for any inconvenience. Refer to the published RFT for the requirements in addressing this Criterion.

Q. Will the performance of a DES-ESS provider be considered equal to that of existing DES-DMS ie star rating = star rating?

A. The selection criteria and assessment methodology are currently being finalised. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT documentation on AusTender once released.

Q. For organisations that are currently providing DMS services how much of the overall selection criteria weighting will be assigned to their current star rating?

A. The selection criteria and assessment methodology are currently being finalised. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT documentation on AusTender once released.

Q. Re criteria 2 for providers with a star percentage: is this star percentage the starting point or basis for the score against this criterion?

A. The selection criteria and assessment methodology are currently being finalised. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT documentation on AusTender once released.

Q. Please advise whether you are letting the contract for NPA with the DMS tender or are existing contracts being rolled over?

A. The current National Panel of Assessors (NPA) Deeds are in place until 30 June 2015. NPA will not be part of the DMS tender. No decision has been made about the purchasing or extending of the current NPA Deeds beyond 30 June 2015.

Q. One element included in Criterion 2 asks for ‘quantitative data to demonstrate your achievements and performance in delivering sustainable outcomes in programmes other than DES–DMS or DES–ESS and how this performance demonstrates your ability to deliver DES–DMS in this ESA’

As existing providers of DES-ESS DES–ESS our star percentage in the ESA will be the basis for our score against this Criterion. If we are not delivering DES–ESS in the tendered ESA then our performance in all DES–ESS contracts in the same locality type (metro, regional or remote) will be considered for the purposes of determining the basis for our evaluation score. (DMS Industry Information paper, Criterion 2, Paragraph II, Page 18).

If this is the case, are we required to submit this non-DES data asked for above? Would this be only for people not delivering ESS?

A. Past performance data (Star Ratings) for DES-DMS, DES-ESS and JSA contracts used in the assessment of Criterion 2 will be sourced from Department of Social Services and Department of Employment records.

It is currently our intention that a provider currently with no DES-DMS contracts will have to do a written response. However thank you for the feedback, the Department will consider your suggestions. Final arrangements will be outlined in the RFT published on AusTender.

Q. Ref: Demonstration of past performance using DES ESS Star ratings – Use of existing performance data –DMS/ESS.

Where there is an existing provider of DES-DMS services in a State Labour Market Region we acknowledge that past performance must reflect the star rating score of the DES-DMS contract being delivered. However in a situation where a provider does not provide DES-DMS services in an interstate metro or regional labour Market we believe in these situations an existing provider of DES-ESS services in these nominated areas should be able to put forward their star rating credentials for the purposes of demonstrating past performance in those ESA’s as opposed to deferring to DMS star rating performance scores from a different interstate location. This will more accurately reflect the ability to deliver services in the local designated labour market region with the local job seeker populations in the area. Based on past performance this could provide a more accurate reflection of the ability of a provider to service the local employers and job seekers.

A. Thank you for the feedback, the Department will consider your suggestions.

It is currently the Department's intention that past performance in DES-ESS will be considered as part of the assessment of Criterion 2 for a particular ESA, if a tenderer does not also deliver DES-DMS. A similar approach is likely to be taken for JSA providers.

Final arrangements for the assessment of past performance will be outlined in the RFT published on AusTender

Q. With regards to the DES-DMS transition, can you please confirm how transitioning jobseekers initial service fees will be calculated? Will job seekers attract a pro-rated initial service fee dependant to their period of service at time of contract transition?

A. Broad transition details, including payment of fees for transitioning clients, will be available in the upcoming Request For Tender.

Q. I would like to know if clients transferring from CRS will be eligible for commencement fees with new organisation?

A. Broad transition details, including payment of fees for transitioning clients, will be available in the upcoming Request For Tender.

Q. What specialist areas/services will there be?

A. As outlined in the draft selection criteria contained in the Industry Information Paper, it is proposed that it will be up to each tenderer to nominate the specialist type and location of the specialist business for which they are tendering. Tenderers will need to establish a case/need for each specialisation in the ESA when responding to the criteria. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT documentation that will be released on AusTender for the final arrangements and requirements in relation to specialist bids.

Q. What is the Department looking for when asking the provider to work collaboratively with employers?

A. The Department is interested to see the provider’s strategies and partnership within the community. Tenderers should refer to the RFT documentation that will be released on AusTender for the final requirements.

Q. Will direct registration be available for organisations winning business in this tender?

A. The intention is that direct registration will be available for tenderers winning business.

Q.When will the tender be released?

A. The Department's intention is to release the RFT on 1 July 2014.

Q. How far back will historical data be considered for past performance?

A. The evaluation methodology for past performance is currently being developed. Tenderers should be aware that the department may use any information it has available. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT documentation that is released on AusTender for the final arrangements.

Q. Will there be any face-to-face information sessions in locations around the country?

A. We are currently finalising the arrangements for information sessions. Once the RFT is released details of information sessions will be provided.

Q.Is it possible to get a transcript of the webinar?

A. Yes accessible versions of this presentation are available on the DSS website.

Q. Has the Department considered increasing the business share for rural areas where there is one CRS and only one other provider, rather than putting it to tender?

A. A range of options have been explored and the Government has chosen to put all the available CRS Australia business to open tender.

Q. I have just been reading your FAQ’s and see that we won’t be using the APET tool for the DES-DMS tender.

Could you please tell me if we are able to include tables , diagrams, graphs, pictures in the body of the selection criteria responses especially as there are no attachments allowed?

A. As stated in question and answer 22, the proposal outlined in the industry information paper is that Tenderers will not be able to submit attachments with their tender response. If this is the case for the final RFT, tables, diagrams, graphs, or pictures will not be able to be included in Selection Criteria responses. Tenderers should refer to the final RFT released on AusTender for the rules regarding attachments, and for the response forms Tenderers will be required to complete.

Q. “It is currently the Department's intention that past performance in DES-ESS will be considered as part of the assessment of Criterion 2 for a particular ESA, if a tenderer does not also deliver DES-DMS.” (at all or in that ESA?)

A. The relevant DES-ESS past performance will be taken into account. Final arrangements for the assessment of past performance will be outlined in the RFT published on AusTender.

Q.Are staff members of CRS allowed to tender?

A. Employees and agents of DSS, the Department of Employment and the Department of Human Services (DHS) including CRS Australia are precluded from tendering or assisting an entity with tendering. An entity that is owned in whole or in part, or controlled by such individuals, is also precluded from tendering.

Q. Coffs Harbour ESA has CRS services, can you advise why there is no business available to tender for?

A. CRS Australia does not currently have business in the Coffs Harbour ESA. The business that CRS held in the ESA, which involved a very small caseload, was handed back to the Department and reallocated to existing DES-DMS Providers in the ESA in early May 2014 using the established gap filling processes.

Q. At page 17 of the Industry Information Paper it queries at SC 1 – “Your response should outline any major program compliance issues your organisation has experienced in the delivery of Australian Government Programmes in the last 24 months and the strategies that your organisation has put in place to address those.” – “what constitutes ‘major’

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.

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