New Commonwealth Procurement Rules

John Sheridan - FAS Technology & Procurement

New Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) came into effect on 1 March 2017. The CPRs are the basic rule set for all Commonwealth procurements and govern the way in which departments and agencies undertake their own processes.

The government announced updates to the CPRs in November 2016. In addition to these, a small number of minor changes have also been made to improve clarity of language and presentation.

A table detailing all amendments has been prepared to assist departments and agencies in understanding the updates.

Guidance on the new rules in the CPRs has also been developed and is available on the Finance website here

The new CPRs apply to new procurements which approach the market on or after 1 March 2017.



Comments (2)

Regrettably, the treatment of Standards in procurement both in the CPRs and in guidance is muddled and misleading.

Furthermore, it does not comply with the obligations that Australia accepted in the FTA with the US, which provides that “… a procuring entity: shall base the technical specifications on relevant international standards, where such exist and are applicable to the procuring entity, except where the use of an international standard would fail to meet the procuring entity’s program requirements or would impose greater burdens than the use of a recognised national standard.”

The guidance reads as if the authors were ignorant of JAS-ANZ and its role in accrediting independent certification and inspection bodies. It also proposes transferring to the tax-payer the costs of independent auditing or inspections that, where justified, should properly be the responsibility of tenderers/suppliers.

Hi Mr Citizen,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback.

The updated Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) include two new clauses that highlight common best practice for applying and monitoring standards. A definition for Standards has also been added and includes an indicative list of recognised standards bodies. The new clauses focus on procurements that involve Australian standards.  However, procuring entities must continue to determine the relevant standards for a procurement in accordance with paragraph 10.9.c. of the CPRs, which states:

 In prescribing specifications for goods and services, a relevant entity must: … base technical specifications on international standards, when they exist and apply to the relevant procurement, except when the use of international standards would fail to meet the relevant entity’s requirements or would impose greater burdens than the use of recognised Australian standards.

I think this clause reflects that in the FTA faithfully. 

With respect to periodic auditing by an independent assessor, the guidance notes that this may be organised by either the supplier or the procuring entity. The guidance also reflects that procuring entities will need to consider the cost of this auditing in preparing their procurement, as it will be a cost to the entity either directly or through inclusion in the overall contract price.  

 A Parliamentary Joint Select Committee has been established to inquire into and report on the Commonwealth procurement framework and consider the new clauses in the CPRs.  You may wish to make a submission to the Committee with your views on the new clauses.  Further information on the Committee is available here:

I trust this makes the situation clearer. I'd welcome further feedback if you have it.



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Last updated: 02 March 2017