Guideline: Complaints Handling in Procurement

Complaints in relation to DFAT procurement (the conduct of a procurement process and its outcome) should be submitted in writing to the Contact Officer or Tender email address detailed in the request documentation and cc’d to financialpolicy@dfat.gov.au. Complaint handling is undertaken in line with the requirements in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) and the Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Act 2018 (GPJR Act). Please notify DFAT as soon as you become aware of the conduct that forms the basis of your complaint. In your complaint, please tell us:

  • what CPR you consider that DFAT has breached or is proposing to breach and/or provide sufficient detail in your complaint to allow DFAT to investigate and respond to it; and
  • how your interests are affected by the alleged actual or proposed breach of the CPR and/or other conduct that you are complaining about; and

provide any relevant evidence in relation to your complaint.

The CPRs outline requirements regarding complaints handling in procurement matters. They highlight the importance of applying timely, equitable and non-discriminatory complaint handling procedures.

The GPJR Act sets out requirements for handling complaints received in relation to an alleged actual or proposed breach of Relevant CPRs relating to a covered procurement. The GPJR Act also gives the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (concurrently with the Federal Court of Australia) jurisdiction to consider applications, grant injunctions and/or order payment of compensation in relation to a breach. RMG 422 contains guidance for suppliers submitting a complaint relating to a covered procurement. Figure 1 sets out DFAT’s process for handling procurement complaints where the GPJR Act applies.

Figure 1

Figure1. This process chart is for complaints about Covered Procurements where the Government Procurement Judicial Review Act applies only. Step 1, DFAT receives complaint. Step 2, Acknowledge and clarify complaint. Step 3, Suspend procurement unless Public Interest Certificate PIC in place. Step 4, If PIC is in place, procurement continues. Step 5, Investigate complaint. Step 6, Notify supplier of outcome. Step 7, If supplier is not satisfied, attempt solution with complainant. If supplier is satisfied, lift suspension if applicable and process ends. Step 8, Continue suspension if complainant not satisfied. Supplier may make an application to the Court or may choose to have their complaint heard by the Procurement Coordinator or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.


Last Updated: 22 January 2015