Purchasing methods

Key things the Ministry takes into account when deciding how to buy goods and services

How we buy goods and services

Where there is a supply arrangement in place (such as a Ministry contract, a panel arrangement, or government collaborative contract) that can provide the goods and services we need, we will use it. We will only approach the market if the existing supply agreement is unable to meet our requirements.

Our purchasing decisions are based on a number of things, including:

  • The total value of the procurement (whole of life cost)
  • What contracts and supply arrangements (e.g. panel arrangements) are already in place
  • The risk involved – to the Ministry, schools and children 
  • The nature and complexity of the goods and services

Information about different types of supply arrangements and purchasing methods follows.

Panel agreements

A provider panel or panel contract is a group of providers who have been pre-approved (through a tender process) to supply a particular good or service. The way we engage with a supplier on a provider panel will depend on the terms of the panel agreement. For example we may need to get quotes from a number of panel members, or we may be able to approach one provider directly.

Collaborative contracts

Where appropriate, we collectively buy goods or services with other government agencies. The collaborative purchasing is referred to as collaborative contracts.  There are three types of collaborative contracts that we commonly use:

  • All-of-Government (AoG) contracts - these are usually panel contracts between the government and selected providers.  Government agencies are required to use AoG contracts where they meet requirements
  • Syndicated contracts - result from a government agency (lead agency) allowing other government agencies to join a contract the lead agency has already established with a provider, or a number of providers
  • Common capability contracts - similar to All-of-Government and syndicated contracts but the lead agency may charge agencies a fee for using it and private companies may be allowed to purchase from it when acting on behalf of an agency

You can find out about collaborative contract opportunities on the government procurement website.

Open tender

Open tender processes are openly advertised to both national and international providers. Anyone who can supply the required goods and services is able to submit their tender response for consideration. We advertise all our open tenders valued at $100,000 and above on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS - www.gets.govt.nz). The tender documentation provided via GETS will include information such as:

  • A description of the goods, services, or works required including any technical specifications
  • The quantity required
  • The estimated delivery time frame
  • Any service levels
  • Any conditions (pre-conditions) that the supplier must meet
  • Evaluation criteria with an indication of their relative importance

Providers can ask questions about tenders we have issued to GETS. We post all questions with our answers to them on GETS, making sure that we do not disclose any confidential or commercially sensitive information in the process. You can register with GETS to see the latest government tenders. Once you are registered on GETS as a Supplier (a provider of goods and or services) you can view detailed information, access documents and receive notifications of opportunities.  There is no cost to register or use GETS.

Closed tender

When we need to buy goods or services which total less than $100,000 we may run a closed tender process. This is not an openly advertised tender, but where we invite a small number of providers to respond to our tender.  We may do this via GETS (but it is not openly advertised) or directly to the invited providers.