It is getting easier for government agencies and NGO providers
to document their arrangements.
As many will be aware, the Government's 3-year project
'Streamlined Contracting with NGO's' is due for
completion in 2016. The project was preceded by a successful pilot
in partnership with NGO providers in 2012.
The overall goal of this project is to implement a consistent
contracting framework for government agencies and NGO providers.
Once completed, all government agency contracts with NGO providers
should be transitioned onto the new contracting framework.
The 'streamlined' whole-of-government framework also
aims to achieve the following benefits for both government agencies
and NGO providers:
standardised terms and conditions;
a consistent and collaborative approach to procurement across
reduced legal oversight and associated cost;
reduced auditing / monitoring; and
a focus on measuring improvement in outcomes, rather than
How it works
Each government agency will agree to use the new contracting
framework by signing a Government Agency Agreement with the
Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE). MBIE is
the coordinating agency for the project and will oversee the new
Government agencies then contract with NGO providers using the
following suite of documents:
Framework Terms and Conditions;
Outcome Agreement Management Plan; and
Decision Support Tool.
Key legal documents
NGO providers should familiarise themselves with the Outcome
Agreement and the Framework Terms and Conditions. Together, these
documents contain all of the legal obligations that will exist
between a purchasing government agency and a contracted NGO
The Outcome Agreement is the only document required to be signed
by government agencies and NGO providers. It specifies what is
being purchased by the government agency, how much it will cost and
any specific reporting obligations.
The Outcome Agreement can be tailored for individual engagements
and should, where relevant, include variations to cover agreed
approaches to unique elements. Examples of these elements might
include ownership of intellectual property, sharing of confidential
information and industry-specific conditions.
The Framework Terms and Conditions are incorporated by reference
into the Outcome Agreement. They include provisions relating to
usual contractual terms such as payment, dispute resolution,
termination and indemnity. The Framework Terms and Conditions adopt
default positions in most areas, but retain flexibility where
necessary to ensure that engagement-specific details (which would
not be standard across every contract government enters into with
an NGO provider) can be included in the Outcome Agreement.
Advantages of the new contracting framework
From next year, by contracting with one government agency, NGO
providers can be confident that the process and terms should be
similar when contracting with another government agency. This
should make negotiating and working with government agencies
The new contracting framework is also good news for government
The framework is outcomes-based, allowing government agencies to
measure the effectiveness of contracted NGO providers more
accurately across the board. Agency staff should also be able to
use the new framework to more accurately assess risks, the form of
contract and the approach to on-going management of their
arrangements, while reducing duplication in contract management
activities like audit, monitoring and reporting. And, by creating a
consistent multi-agency approach to contracting, staff moving
between government agencies who are familiar with the contracting
framework should be able to apply this knowledge again,
irrespective of their role or department.
Government agencies have already begun the transition process
and they will continue to contact the relevant NGO providers to
shift contracts onto the new framework in time for the end of the
2015/16 financial year.
Ultimately, it is hoped that the new framework will assist
government agencies and NGO providers to work together in a more
efficient, collaborative, coordinated and connected way.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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