Single Assessment System tender information session

This webinar recording is for organisations interested in submitting a Request for Tender for the Single Assessment System for aged care.

Health sector
Webinar date:
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Webinar recording


[Opening visual of slide with text saying 'Australian Government with Crest (logo)', 'Department of Health and Aged Care', 'Single Assessment System for aged care', 'Industry Briefing Session', 'Eliza Hazlett, A/g Assistant Secretary, Assessment and Home Care Transition Branch', 'Nicole Merrilees, A/g Director, Aged Care Assessments Branch', 'Greg Badcock, Maddocks', with speakers connecting via videoconference and visible on the right-hand side of the screen]

[The visuals during this webinar are of speakers connecting via videoconference and visible on the right-hand side of the screen, speaking with reference to the content of a PowerPoint presentation being played onscreen]

Eliza Hartlett:

Welcome to the Department of Health and Aged Care's briefing for the Approach to Market webinar for services to support the Single Aged Care Assessment System.

My name's Eliza Hazlett and I'm the Acting Branch Head for the Assessment and Home Care Transition Branch in the Department of Health and Aged Care. Today I'm joined by Nicole Merrilees who's the Director in the Aged Care Assessment Branch and Greg Badcock from our probity advisors, Maddocks.

I wanted to start by acknowledging the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we're virtually meeting today. I'm based here in Canberra on the lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people and I acknowledge and pay respect to their continuing culture and the contribution that they make to the life of this city and this region. I also extend that acknowledgement and respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are here today with us.

The objective of today's briefing is to provide tenderers with a better understanding of the department's requirements and expectations. It will also provide information to tenderers to help them improve their overall tender submissions and ensure compliance with the government procurement requirements.

To do that this industry briefing will include a reminder of probity requirements from our probity advisor, Greg from Maddocks, background on the department and the Single Assessment System for Aged Care, an overview of the Approach to Market, an overview of the assessment services required that we need to be delivered, the evaluation criteria that the department will use in its assessment of tenders and instructions for tenderers to assist in development of their overall tender documentation.

It's important to note that this industry briefing is not intended to cover all of the detail that's outlined in the Approach to Market documentation, and prospective tenderers should review that document in thorough detail to ensure that they're well prepared in developing their tenders.

So thank you to everybody who has submitted questions when registering for this webinar. We'll answer some of those questions today at the end of the presentation. You can also ask further questions during the webinar through the Slido, and you should be able to see that on the right-hand side of your screen.

So for probity reasons we're unable to actually answer the questions that are submitted through Slido today during the webinar. But we will collect all of those questions and publish answers to the questions on AusTender as soon as possible and that way everybody gets the information at the same time. Please note there isn't actually any option for attendees to turn on their video or microphone, so Slido really is the best way for you to communicate those questions.

Today's webinar is being recorded and the video will be published on our website within two working days. And the slides for the webinar are actually available now on our website. So if you go to the Department of Health website and search for 'aged care webinars' and then navigate to the Single Assessment System tender information session. And we'll also put a link now to this page in the Slido so people can find that easily.

So this Approach to Market is being conducted under the highest standards of probity to ensure value for money is achieved for the Australian Government. So I'm now going to hand over to Greg Badcock from Maddocks, our probity advisor, who will take us through some of the probity arrangements for this RFT. Thanks very much Greg.

Greg Badcock:

Thank you. Hello everybody. As said my name's Greg Badcock. I'm a lawyer at Maddocks and Maddocks has been appointed as the probity advisor for this procurement.

The Department of Health and Aged Care is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity and as such is subject to the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act and accordingly is required to comply with the Commonwealth procurement rules.

Maddocks is appointed as the Commonwealth external probity advisor to help ensure that this process is conducted fairly, transparently and in accordance with those Commonwealth procurement rules. Any probity issues that arise during today's briefing, or really at all at any stage during the process, can be reported back to us and we can assist the department to ensure that things are dealt with properly, correctly and that the process maintains its integrity.

I'd like to again remind you, as has been said, that the purpose of this industry briefing is to provide background information only. This briefing is absolutely not a substitute for reading the RFT documents yourself, and especially reading and understanding the instructions in relation to each of the response schedules and response forms which you are required to complete and return.

You mustn't rely on this industry briefing for the purposes of preparing or amending your tender or for the purposes of negotiation or entry into any resulting contract at the end of the process. The terms of this RFT will prevail to the extent of any inconsistency between what's in them and what you hear today, and nothing that is said today can or will change the terms of the RFT. When you are preparing your tender refer closely to the RFT and any addenda that are published on AusTender as they're the terms of the RFT.

Having said that, if you do hear anything today that you think might be inconsistent with something that is published in the RFT, please send through a clarification request and we can clear things up.

The department is committed to ensuring that the procurement is undertaken in a way that will result in an outcome that represents value for money to the Commonwealth and which will meet the highest standards of probity.

I've used the word 'probity' a few times. There may be some people who aren't familiar with it or haven't come across it before. Basically probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour. It's often defined as the complete and confirmed integrity, uprightness and honesty in a particular process. Very importantly it's about making sure that the process is not only a fair one but that the department will be able to if ever called to, be able to demonstrate that the process was fair.

At this stage of a procurement, probity issues often relate to information management. And as such one of our tasks as the probity advisor is to help the department ensure that all tenderers are competing on a level playing field and each has a fair opportunity to access the same information consistently and in a similar timeframe that enables everybody to lodge a response that's competitive and based on the same information.

All of you have a role to play to help ensure that the department can achieve this and there's a few things I'd just like to mention that we would like you to keep in mind.

The department will control the release of information to you through a single point of contact which will be the contact officer. The contact officer email address is in the RFT and it's on the screen. And it's SingleAgedCareAssessmentSystem - all one word -

The asking of questions today has been mentioned. Please do it through the Slido. Health will take those questions on notice, and the ones that it chooses to respond to the responses will be published on AusTender. It's usual that all questions will be responded to. But where things double up or where the same information can be communicated in one response, that may be the way things go.

If after today you have any questions about the RFT please send them through to that contact officer. Questions that are sent to any other email address won't be responded to.

Questions are submitted on the basis that the question and the Commonwealth's response will be circulated to all tenderers, although the asker of the question won't be made public. Refer to 10.2 of the RFT for information on how to request that specified information contained in your question remains confidential if you consider that information to be confidential.

Of course to enable responses in a timely way and allow people to deal with the information that's contained in those responses there will be a cut-off date for the submission of questions. All questions must be received by the contact officer by 4 March 2024 which is 10 days before the tender closing time.

Please don't try to contact departmental personnel who you may know in order to find out information about the RFT process. The only point of contact is the contact officer email address. Information communicated by other means runs the risk of being incomplete or inaccurate. And it also potentially raises the issue of unfairness whereby some people may have access to information earlier than others or gain access to information that hasn't been more broadly shared.

To also help with probity for this process - I hope this goes without saying - please don't offer any gifts or hospitality to departmental employees at any time during the procurement process. Please don't try to obtain improper assistance from existing or former employees of the department for the purposes of preparing your responses or otherwise act in a way that is unethical or improper, or use any information unlawfully obtained in breach or otherwise with any laws regarding the offering of unlawful inducements. Tenderers must not engage in collusion or anti-competitive behaviour. And you're asked to avoid any conflicts of interest and where they cannot be avoided declare them in accordance with the terms of the RFT.

You're also asked not to record this briefing yourself as mentioned. A copy of the presentation will be made available on AusTender. So if you have been recording it up to this point please stop now.

Just very quickly before I conclude the briefing I just want to draw your attention to the requirements in the RFT under the Shadow Economy Policy and the requirement to provide a valid statement of tax record. This will be discussed later in the presentation. But as probity advisors to a number of different departments across a number of different tenders, Maddocks is consistently seeing this issue trip tenderers up.

It's a requirement about which Department of Health has no discretion. So a failure to meet the requirements will mean that your tender will be excluded and it won't be read. When this happens it's certainly very disappointing for the affected tenderers. It's also disappointing for the people running the procurement process because they are missing out on - you know a reduction of competition, less valid tenders in the mix.

As I said it is tripping people up, big tenderers and small tenderers alike. So please pay attention to it closely. Please get onto it early. Please make sure you understand what the requirements are. And if you have any doubt seek assistance either through the contact officer here or, if it relates specifically to your statement of tax record, through the ATO.

But that concludes my contribution today to today's briefing and I'll now pass you back to Eliza.

Eliza Hartlett:

Thank you very much Greg for that very important information. So we'll now move into the bulk of our webinar content today and I'm going to hand over to Nicole who'll take us through a number of slides and detail. Thank you very much Nicole.

 Nicole Merrilees:

Thanks Eliza. Good afternoon everyone. My name is Nicole Merrilees and I'm a Director in the Aged Care Assessments Branch. I'd like to start with a brief overview of the department, the Single Aged Care Assessment System and its objectives.

The department is committed to supporting the Australian Government to lead and shape Australia's health and aged care system through evidence-based policy, well-targeted programs and best-practice regulation. Our vision is to provide better health and wellbeing for all Australians now and for future generations.

In 2021 the Australian Government welcomed the Royal Commission's final report which provided 148 recommendations to significantly reform the aged care sector. In response the government is seeking to deliver a once-in-a-generation reform of aged care founded on the principles of respect, care and dignity.

In relation to aged care assessments the Royal Commission found that older Australians were being subject to inconsistent assessments, inefficient services, a complex assessment system and duplication during their assessments.

Currently there are three assessment pathways for accessing Commonwealth-subsidised aged care services. These are Regional Assessment Services, also referred to as RAS, that conduct assessments for entry-level home support, Aged Care Assessment Teams, also referred to as ACATs, that conduct assessments for services under the Aged Care Act including home care packages, residential care and flexible care services, and AN-ACC Assessment Management Organisations, also referred to as AMOs, that conduct assessments to assign clients in residential care to an AN-ACC funding classification.

The Royal Commission's final report recommended the introduction of a single aged care workforce empowered and trained to do all assessments across home and residential care, thereby providing older Australians with a more streamlined assessment experience and a better understanding of the services they may require.

So the new Single Assessment System will simplify the assessment process to better support consumers, ensure timely and appropriate assessments for access to all aged care services, reduce duplication and inefficiency, improve the management of aged care funding and introduce an independent national assessment workforce. It will also improve the consumer experience for older Australians by ensuring timely access to the right services to meet their care needs and reduce the number of times clients need to repeat their story.

We'll now go into an overview of the Approach to Market. So through this RFT the department is aiming to establish a number of contracts for the delivery of services to support the Single Aged Care System - sorry, the Single Aged Care Assessment System across Australia. This includes a provision of aged care assessment related services which includes home support assessments and comprehensive assessments. These are currently delivered by the RAS and ACAT team. The other part of the services is the residential aged care funding assessment related services for residential care funding under the AN-ACC funding model.

I should note that separate to this RFT the department is also conducting negotiations with each of the states and territories for their role in the Single Assessment System which will include conducting aged care assessments. Sorry. I'm just going to - there we go, light back on.

So objectives for this RFT. The department is seeking to achieve the following objectives through the RFT. Market diversity by entering into contracts with multiples service providers, providing coverage across all service areas. National coverage through an assessment workforce that can perform all types of aged care assessment services across major cities, rural and remote areas. Equity of service, ensuring that all eligible people are able to be assessed and that the needs of clients from diverse groups as identified in the Aged Care Diversity Framework are accounted for.

Assessment assurance, providing consistent assessment services in accordance with assessment guidance from the department and establishing governance structures to monitor and manage assessments. Contestability and diversified risk, delivery of arrangements where each of the 22 service areas can be serviced by multiple assessment organisations, where this is financially viable, to mitigate performance risks. Allowance for emergent policies and approach, delivery of an assessment workforce that is able to respond and adapt to the emergent government policy.

We have equal opportunity, ensuring that all tenderers in this procurement have an equitable opportunity. Management of conflict of interest, so accounting for the potential conflicts of interest by seeking strong business separation of assessment services from aged care service delivery. And cost effectiveness, delivering cost effectiveness for national delivery of the services, including a combination of contracts that demonstrates affordability of whole-of-life service delivery.

So that was a lot, a lot of objectives in this tender.

So the department is aware that some tenderers may propose to use multiple entities to deliver assessment services in a consortium arrangement. Where tenderers are intending to submit a consortium proposal, please note the requirements at Clause 7 of the RFT which states the department intends to contract with a single legal entity only as opposed to a group of entities or consortium.

To assist organisations that may be interested in forming a consortium as a lead tenderer or subcontractor, the department has included a mechanism in this RFT for interested parties to submit their details to the department to include in a contact list. That contact list will be then be released and updated as required as an addendum to the RFT. If any organisations would like to have their details included in the contact list they should inform the contact officer as soon as possible and by no later than the 4th of March which is 10 days before the closing time for this RFT. Tenderers should note that the department will only publish this list if there is sufficient interest in it.

So there's many key dates for the procurement which are highlighted on the slide. The RFT is open for a total of six weeks, closing on the 14th of March. Tenderers should note the closing date for any questions is Monday the 4th of March which is the same as for the contact list.

The department plans to commence evaluations from 15th of March, with negotiations commencing from 14 June. Tenderers will then be notified of the RFT outcomes from 15 August, with contract executions occurring at the beginning of September ahead of services commencing after that.

Please note that while we provided these dates they are indicative only and may be subject to change.

Next is the Approach to Market documentation suite. So this slide gives a nice overview of all the parts. So the Approach to Market documentation suite consists of the RFT terms and includes Parts 1 to 4 which provides all the terms and conditions of a tenderer's participation in the RFT process, as well as covering the evaluation criteria and the evaluation process the department will use.

Part 5 is the RFT glossary which tenderers can refer to for an explanation of all defined terms in the RFT pack. And part 6 is the Public Interest Certificate which applies to this procurement. This Public Interest Certificate confirms that it is not in the public interest that this procurement process should be suspended while applications for injunctions are being considered or complaints are being investigated due to the adverse impact that this may have on the provision of assessment services nationally.

The accompanying Schedules to the RFT, Schedules 1 to 8, form the service requirements and responses for the RFT. These include Schedule 1 and all of its attachments that set out the detailed specifications to deliver aged care and RAC funding services. Schedule 2 is the Tenderer's Deed confirming they're undertaking to agree with the terms and conditions of the RFT. Schedule 3 is the Tenderer Response Form which details questions based on evaluation criteria that tenderers must respond to as part of this RFT. This Schedule also requires information on subcontractors if any are proposed and tenderers should note the page limits for each response section.

Schedule 4 is the Statement of Non-Compliance which tenderers can populate if they would like to know any aspects of the RFT they may not comply with. Schedule 5 provides information and guidance on the pricing response, with attachment A to this Schedule being the pricing workbook that tenderers are to complete. Schedule 6 provides a template for the Indigenous Participation Plan detailing how tenderers intend to meet the requirements of this policy. Schedule 7 is the response form for addressing modern slavery requirements in the tenderer's response. And finally Schedule 8, the draft contract, sets out the proposed terms and conditions of the eventuating contract.

I'll now step through the services being sought through the RFT.

So Schedule 1 of the RFT is the Statement of Requirements. This is divided into four parts. Part A introduces the Single Aged Care Assessment System, background information and context on the services required. Parts B and C detail the requirements for providing assessment services. This is set out separately for aged care assessment and RAC funding assessment services. Part D outlines the requirements for assessment organisations when transitioning out of the Single Aged Care Assessment System to ensure that there is continuity of assessment services and an orderly transfer of contracted tasks and responsibilities to an incoming assessment organisation if required.

I would particularly like to draw your attention to Parts B and C as these sections provide important details on how aged care and RAC funding assessment related services are to be delivered according to their unique requirements.

These sections are divided into three parts, establishment services, assessment services and service management services.

So establishment services detail the requirements for preparing and ensuring organisational readiness, capability and capacity to provide assessment services from the establishment date. This includes activities such as service delivery planning, workforce engagement, mobilisation and training and transition planning to ensure a seamless client service delivery.

An important requirement in the establishment services section is the establishment plan which sets out the end-to-end capability required to deliver assessment services by the establishment date. Tenderers should note their proposed establishment date, which is when tenderers must be ready and able to provide assessment services, must be before 6th of December 2024 this year.

The next section is assessment services which details the required responsibilities for delivery under each assessment service. So for example it goes into detail about what responsibilities each workforce role is expected to undertake and how this should be carried out for each service, as well as stepping out the end-to-end requirements for each assessment process.

The third of the parts, the service management services, details the requirements for appropriately managing, monitoring and evaluating assessment services in line with the Quality Assurance Framework and other relevant manuals, policies and procedures unique to each service. This includes operations and delivery management reporting and performance management.

So here we have our service areas. So tenderers can apply to deliver either aged care or RAC funding assessment related services, or both aged care and RAC funding assessment related services across one or more of the 22 service areas which are depicted onscreen at the moment. In the tenderer responses tenderers should identify the minimum, maximum and preferred business allocation of aged care assessments and/or RAC funding assessments they are tendering for in each service area within a range of 30% to 70%.

To assist tenderers to estimate the number of aged care and RAC funding assessments per service area, historical data has been provided in Attachment A to Schedule 1. Tenderers should note that any historical data provided should not be relied upon as guaranteeing a particular volume of assessments. The actual volume of assessment services will vary during any given period due to the particular caseload and circumstances in each service area.

Next is having the right combination of business allocations nationally will ensure the department is able to service the unique assessment needs of older Australians while maintaining efficiency and quality of those assessments. At the conclusion of our evaluation the department may select one or more preferred tenderers to deliver assessment services in each service area and/or allocate appropriate business allocations to the successful assessment organisations, noting that they may not necessarily align to the preferred business allocation submitted.

During the contractual period an organisation's business allocation may be adjusted due to performance or in circumstances where the department needs to ensure that there is continuity of assessment services. An example of this is if an assessment organisation is experiencing difficulties in recruiting suitably-experienced clinical personnel the department may need to temporarily reallocate business allocations to ensure continuity of services for older Australians. Where this is the case and there is no alternative way to resolve the issue, the department will always act reasonably and work closely with relevant assessment organisations in reallocating business allocation.

So the evaluation criteria for the tender. Each tender will be evaluated against six evaluation criteria that will inform a value-for-money assessment. The evaluation criteria is listed at Clause 30 in the RFT terms.

The evaluation criteria reflect alignment with the RFT documentation we've released and the questions we've asked tenderers to respond to in the Tender Response Information Schedule at Schedule 3 to the RFT. The weighted evaluation criteria, which are criteria 1 through 3, will be used to assess each tenderer's capability and capacity to deliver the services and their demonstrated past performance and experience.

Where tenderers are submitting tenders for the delivery of both aged care assessment related services and RAC funding assessment related services, tenderers are required to submit two separate responses to address the requirements under criterions 1 to 3.

So accounting for 50% of the weighted evaluation criteria, criterion 1 is the most heavily weighted criterion and focuses on the tenderer's capability to deliver the services throughout the contract term.

It is important that tenderers clearly demonstrate their capability to deliver the required services, taking into consideration a number of key aspects such as an understanding of the needs and circumstances of the aged care population in each tendered service area, the methodology that the tenderer proposes for the establishment of services and the quality of the draft establishment plan that is provided, the methodology and procedures that the tenderer would implement to deliver and manage the services, the approach for managing the performance of a highly-qualified workforce including performance management processes and systems, and demonstrating flexibility and adaptability to accommodate changing policy and legislation, continuous improvement processes and establishing collaborative working relationships with a broad range of stakeholders.

The second weighted evaluation criterion is the tenderer's experience and includes demonstrating past experience and organisational experience in delivering services the same as or similar to the services being sought through the RFT. This criterion is weighted at 20%.

It is important that tenderers are able to demonstrate their experience and past performance within the last three years in delivering similar services, including knowledge of regional factors, regional differences and the aged care health and social services available within each tendered service area, experience in managing the scale of the services relative to the maximum business allocation for each tendered service area. To support claims of experience and past performance, tenderers are required to provide details of at least two referees.

The final weighted evaluation criteria is the tenderer's capacity weighted at 30%. Tenderers should demonstrate they have the capacity and resources, including personnel, to deliver the services. This includes sufficient executive leadership and oversight, sufficient and suitably qualified and experienced personnel, suitably qualified subcontractors and how they will be managed, and the ability to scale up or down the number of personnel as required, outlining the recruitment approach and training processes for onboarding new personnel.

Please note that as part of that criterion CVs are not required and will not be evaluated by the department if they are provided.

The remaining evaluation criteria are unweighted and look at the tenderer's capability across a number of Commonwealth policy initiatives such as Indigenous participation, contribution to the Australian economy and environmental sustainability.

I'll now step through each of those key policies.

So it is Commonwealth policy to stimulate Indigenous entrepreneurship, business and economic development through the Indigenous Procurement Policy by providing Indigenous Australians with greater opportunities to participate in the economy. Assessment organisations contracted with the department will be required to meet the mandatory minimum requirements at either the contract base level which is a 4% participation, an organisational base level which is 3% participation, or a remote contract-based participation level of 4% by the end of the initial contract term. The department is therefore seeking to understand tenderers' past performance commitment and strategies to meet this policy requirement in the tender responses.

The next one is the Commonwealth recognises the importance of considering economic benefit of procurement to the Australian economy. And as part of this procurement, economic benefit must be factored into the value-for-money evaluation. Some examples of this include making better use of Australian resources that would otherwise be under-utilised, or providing broader benefits that support the development and sustainment of industry capability.

Then there's the National Waste Policy. So as a key principle of the National Waste Policy, the Australian Government has committed to consider environmental sustainability when purchasing goods and services. Tenderers should consider environmental issues and policies and provide sustainable solutions and innovation in their tender response.

Finally modern slavery. The Commonwealth has established reporting requirements to assist the business community in Australia to take proactive and effective actions to address modern slavery. This will help mitigate the risk of modern slavery practices occurring in the supply chain of goods and services in the Australian market. Tenderers should address the risks and mitigations around their supply chains being linked to modern slavery.

Tenderers are strongly encouraged to look at the relevant websites for each of these policies to ensure you fully understand them in the context of this procurement.

The department will also consider any risks associated with the tenderers' mitigation strategies in managing conflict of interest, compliance with the Statement of Requirement, draft contract and insurance requirements, financial viability and any other risks not yet considered.

And finally is pricing. Tenderers are to demonstrate their proposed pricing achieves value for money. Tenderers should refer to Schedule 5, Attachment A for the pricing workbook that is to be completed, noting that responses are to include a unit price per assessment per service area.

While these criteria are all unweighted it does not mean that they are less important. Tenderers' responses against these criteria will be assessed on a qualitative basis, having regards to the objectives of this procurement and overall value for money to the department.

We'll now step into some instructions for tenderers.

So minimum content and format requirements. There are several minimum content and format requirements and conditions for participation requirements for tender responses. They include that responses must be written in English, responses must include a properly executed Tenderer's Deed indicating that the tenderer accepts the terms and conditions for participating in the RFT, there must be a completed pricing schedule and a completed Indigenous Participation Plan.

Within the Tenderer's Deed tenderers are also asked to provide details of any investigations, breaches and proceedings to enable the department to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment. This procurement is subject to the Shadow Economy Procurement Connected Policy aimed at increasing the integrity of government procurement.

So I think this is what Greg mentioned in his probity briefing. So this policy imposes obligations on the Department of Health to obtain from tenderers a statement from the Australian Tax Office showing that they have a satisfactory tax record, or an STR for short. This is mandatory for procurements above $4 million requiring businesses, existing or new, to provide an STR. The department will not contract with an assessment organisation that does not hold a valid STR. Tenderers are therefore encouraged to apply and should encourage their subcontractors to apply for an STR within sufficient time to meet the minimum content and format requirements of this RFT.

It is essential that tenderers comply with all of these minimum content and format requirements as tenders will be excluded from consideration if they do not comply with any of these requirements.

Lodgement of the tender response. So tender responses can be lodged in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel or PDF. Where possible it is preferred that responses be submitted in Word unless otherwise specifically stated. For example the tenderer's pricing schedule must be submitted in Microsoft Excel.

Tenderers are to ensure they adhere to any page limits. The department may not evaluate any part of a tender response that does exceed page limits. Tenderers should ensure that the file names of each document submitted include the organisation name, and where tenderer responses comprise multiple files a summary of the various parts of the tender file. And tenderers must not provide any single tender file that exceeds 15 megabytes per upload.

All responses are to be lodged electronically via AusTender before 2:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time or Canberra time on Thursday, 14 March 2024.

Please ensure that you're familiar with all these relevant requirements so you can submit your tender before the closing time as the department will not accept any tenders received after the closing time except where the delay is solely due to mishandling by the department. And if you need assistance with AusTender please contact the AusTender helpdesk.

I'll now highlight some other key pieces of information that tenderers should note.

So tenderers should pay close attention to the other conditions for participation which are listed at Clause 17 of the RFT terms, as well as the minimum content and format requirements at Clause 18 as tenderers will be excluded from further consideration if they do not comply with these. As mentioned earlier, if tenderers are responding to both assessment services, a separate response must be submitted for aged care assessments and RAC funding assessments and these responses must not cross-reference each other. On that note, tenderers' responses must be standalone which means that there should be no hyperlinks included to other websites.

Finally a reminder that financial information should not be included in any part of the tender response other than in the pricing workbook, which is in Schedule 5, Attachment A.

So addenda, questions and contact details. So all questions regarding this Approach to Market are to be directed in writing to the contact officer, this is until 4th of March 2024. Once again the email address is on the screen for that one.

The department may circulate any questions submitted by tenderers and the relevant responses to all other tenderers. However tenderers shoud identify in submitted questions what if any information may be confidential to allow us to take that into account.

Addenda may be issued to this Approach to Market. That may include variations or additional information that could arise in response to tenderers' questions. Any addenda will be posted on AusTender for this Approach to Market. If your contact details do need updating, please ensure you then download the Approach to Market documentation again after those contact details have been updated. Once registered AusTender will then notify tenderers of the issue of an addendum via email. It is then the responsibility of the tenderer to log onto AusTender and collect the addenda.

For any technical or operational support questions in relation to AusTender, the AusTender helpdesk is available between 9:00 to 5:00 ACT local time, Monday to Friday, excluding ACT and national public holidays. The helpdesk can be contacted via email or phone as displayed.

Eliza Hartlett:

Excellent. Thank you very much Nicole. We'll give you a moment to have a drink of water or recatch your breath. But thank you for providing that very comprehensive overview of the tender documentation and the requirements.

As I mentioned for people that might have dialled in a little bit late there is the Slido facility that's available on the right of your screen. So you're very welcome if you've got any questions about what Nicole's covered in that period or questions from the actual review of the tender documentation please put a question in the Slido.

For probity reasons we're not going to be able to answer any that you put in there today on the actual webinar. We want to make sure that those responses are thorough and people are able to access those all at the same time. So they will be all compiled and responded to and the answers will be available on the AusTender website. So just a reminder to keep sending in your questions and the responses will be provided on AusTender as soon as possible.

So now hopefully Nicole's had a little bit of a break. And we're going to actually throw to some of the questions that have actually already been submitted by people when they registered for the webinar. So we really want to thank people that have already taken that time and we're going to go through a number of those now.

So Nicole the first question is:

Q: We currently provide aged care services. Can we tender to provide assessment services?

Nicole Merrilees:

Yeah. So there's no restrictions on who can tender for single assessment services. However assessment organisations providing aged care services who are interested in tendering for this RFT must ensure there's clear separation between the part of the organisation that does provide the aged care services and the part that's tendering for assessment services.

So any conflicts of interest and mechanisms and processes to ensure that independence, for example this could be the establishment of a separate legal entity to deliver assessment services, these must all be clearly articulated in your tender response and they'll be assessed as part of the overall value-for-money assessment.

Tenderers should note though that the department is seeking strong business separation of the assessment services from aged care service delivery requirements.

Eliza Hartlett:

Great. Thank you.

And then the next question is:

Q: Can an organisation tender for part of a region or do they have to tender for the whole region?

Nicole Merrilees:

So organisations must tender for at least one full service area for either aged care assessments or RAC funding assessments, so those are the 22 service areas that were on the map. We know that there may be some smaller organisations who would like to get involved in this process.

So organisations who are interested in delivering services in just part of the service area may wish to partner with a lead tenderer. As mentioned earlier in the presentation the department will publish a contact list of organisations that are looking to partner with other organisations as an addendum on AusTender where there is interest. We very much welcome people to contact us and ask to be put on that contact list.

Eliza Hartlett:

Great. And you gave us a timeframe before for when you thought that would be available.

Nicole Merrilees:

So you have until the 4th of March, which is 10 days before the tender closes, to let us know about that. And us publishing the contact list is subject to interest. So once we've got a couple of responses we'll be looking to put that live on AusTender through the addendum process.

Eliza Hartlett:

Excellent. Thank you.

So the next question is:

Q: Can I partner with multiple tenderers as a subcontractor?

So a good follow-on from that question I think.

Nicole Merrilees:

Yeah. So this is entirely a commercial decision for your organisation. There's nothing in the RFT which will prohibit you from partnering with one or more lead tenderers. And for lead tenderers, if you're relying on subcontractors to deliver assessment services in a particular service area but have not provided details of that subcontractor in your tender for whatever reason, you should note that that may be considered by the department in its evaluation of the level of risk associated with the tender.

Eliza Hartlett:


So the next question is:

Q: Is it possible to get further details about the service areas?

Nicole Merrilees:

So details on the service areas are set out in Attachment A to the Statement of Requirement, which is Schedule 1 in the RFT. This includes information on which aged care planning regions are included in each of the service areas. It also includes some historical data about assessment volumes and population data in each of those service areas.

So as I said the links to the aged care planning regions - and it's worthwhile noting that there's more detailed maps of the aged care planning regions and how those regions align with SA2s, or Statistical Area Level 2s, which are available online from the Department of Health website.

Eliza Hartlett:

Excellent. Thank you. So another good source of information.

So question five is:

Q: What qualifications do assessment workers need?

Nicole Merrilees:

Yeah. So assessment organisations are responsible for ensuring that they have workforces with the appropriate training, skills and credentials to deliver assessment. The required credentials and training for aged care assessments workforce are delivered in Attachment B to Schedule 1 of the SOR. These differ from the RAC funding assessments workforce requirements and those are set out in Attachment G to Schedule 1 of the SOR.

It's probably worthwhile noting that where someone meets both requirements and the organisation is contracted, you could have the same workforce working across both RAC funding assessments and aged care assessments.

Eliza Hartlett:

Great. Thank you. So really important to go through and thoroughly review those actual requirements. So that was Attachment B to Schedule 1 of the Statement of Requirement for the aged care assessment workforce and Attachment G to Schedule 1 for the Statement of Requirement for the RAC funding assessment workforce.

Q: So how will this work for hospital inpatients is the next question Nicole?

Nicole Merrilees:

Yeah. So hospital assessments are going to be provided by state and territory health departments and so they're out of scope for this RFT. The services we're seeking are in community assessments, and for RAC funding in residential aged care funding assessment.

Eliza Hartlett:


Q: And is there any pricing limits or fixed values in the pricing schedules that tenderers need to be aware of?

Nicole Merrilees:

No. But tenderers are required to nominate their proposed pricing in the pricing schedule. So there's pricing instructions at Schedule 5, including Attachment A to Schedule 5 which is where you complete the pricing schedule.

Eliza Hartlett:

Excellent. Okay.

And then the final question that we've got here is:

Q: How many assessment organisations are you intending to contract with?

Nicole Merrilees:

Yeah. So at this stage the department isn't in a position to determine the number of assessment organisations it intends to contract. Assessment organisations will be selected based on value for money, taking in consideration such as business allocations and coverage within a service area.

So there's 22 service areas and there's aged care assessments, RAC funding assessments. So it could be that we have many different organisations across all of those service areas, or one larger organisation may work across multiple of the service areas and multiple of the assessment types. That will all come down to the evaluation of the tender responses.

Eliza Hartlett:

Excellent. Thank you.

Well that actually concludes the formal questions that we've had submitted pre-webinar and we've worked through all of those.

So we wanted to say we hope this industry briefing has been useful for you and note that we have collected all of the questions that's entered into Slido today. So there's a large number that have been coming through so thank you very much for that. We will be collecting those and answering them through an addendum as Nicole mentioned and that will be on AusTender very shortly.

I also wanted to thank Greg Badcock from Maddocks for his very informative probity briefing at the start of the webinar and also Nicole for the very detailed information she's run through for you.

Again just to reiterate, please remember this briefing's not intended to be a substitute for actually reviewing the detailed information that's in those tender documents, particularly the Approach to Market documentation. So it's really important that you review that carefully and ensure that all the necessary requirements that are outlined there and that we've touched on today are fully addressed.

And finally the department appreciates the significant investment of your time, money and resources to respond to the Request for Tender and for your attendance today to actually get a comprehensive understanding of the process.

So shortly when the webinar finishes a short survey will pop up in your browser. And it only takes around a minute to answer three questions around how you found this webinar and we'd really appreciate if you could take a moment to help us improve the webinars as we're going forward.

So I just wanted to thank everybody again and we'll look forward to posting the responses to those questions on AusTender shortly. Thank you very much.

[Closing visual of slide with text saying 'AusTender Approach to Market Reference: Health/E24-28476', 'Please read the Request for Tender documentation carefully', 'Contact Officer: Single Aged Care Assessment System RFT mailbox (', 'All questions to the Contact Officer by 4 March 2024', 'All responses to be lodged via AusTender before 2:00pm (AEST) on 14 March 2024', with speakers connecting via videoconference and visible on the right-hand side of the screen]

[End of Transcript]

Webinar slides


  • Eliza Hazlett, Acting Assistant Secretary, Assessment and Home Care Transition Branch
  • Nicole Merrilees, Acting Director, Aged Care Assessments Branch 
  • Greg Badcock, Maddocks

About the webinar

On Thursday 8 February 2024 we held an online information session for organisations interested in submitting a Request for Tender for the Single Assessment System for aged care

The session included:


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