Additional Reporting on Consultancies


1. Non-corporate Commonwealth entities are required to identify on AusTender whether contracts are for the procurement of consultancy services.

2. The reason for the consultancy must also be reported in AusTender, namely:

  • need for independent research or assessment;
  • need for specialised or professional skills; or
  • skills currently unavailable within agency.

Note: Entities can select only one reason for why a contract should be reported as a consultancy. If there are multiple reasons, the entity should select the most appropriate reason.

3. Entities do not need to separately identify minor consultancy elements in non-consultancy contracts, or particular invoices relating to consultancy work performed under an overarching contract.

4. Officials need to assess the nature of each contract involving the provision of services on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it involves a consultancy for the purposes of AusTender reporting, even if the contracted party purports to be a provider of consultancy services.


1. A flowchart of the process for identifying consultancies for AusTender reporting purposes is provided at the end of the Tips section.

2. The characteristics below may assist when distinguishing between a consultancy and a non-consultancy contract:

Contract Characteristics (only some may apply)

Consultancy Contracts Contract Characteristics (only some may apply)

Nature of Services

  • Involves specialist professional knowledge or expertise that may not be maintained in-house.
  • Involves development of an intellectual output, eg research, evaluation, advice, and recommendations, to assist with entity decision-making.
  • Involves a one-off task, a set of tasks or irregular tasks (making employment of permanent staff impractical or undesirable).

Nature of Services

  • External labour hire services to perform day-to-day duties of the entity – eg a labour hire firm providing personnel to fill a temporary vacancy for a personal assistant, or in a program area. Skills to perform services obtained via external labour hire would normally be maintained within the entity.
  • Involves professional or expert services to implement an existing proposal or strategy – eg training specialists to deliver training in line with an existing strategy.

Direction and Control

  • Performance of the services is left largely up to the discretion and professional expertise of the consultant.
  • Performance is without the entity's direct supervision.
  • The output reflects the independent views or findings of the individual or organisation.
  • The output is being produced for the entity.
  • The output may not belong to the entity.

Direction and Control

  • External labour hire services are performed under supervision of the entity. The entity specifies how the work is to be undertaken and has control over the final form of any resulting output.
  • Professional or expert services provided under non-consultancy contracts are generally delivered without a high level of supervision and direction from the entity. However, the output produced will not necessarily represent the independent views of the service provider – ie the entity controls the form of the output.
  • The output is being produced on behalf of the entity.
  • The output is generally regarded as an entity product.

Integration or Organisation Test

  • Work performed is an accessory to the entity's business.

Integration or Organisation Test

  • Work is an integral part of the entity's business.

Use of Equipment and Premises

  • The Consultant provides their own equipment.
  • The Consultant may work from their own premises for some or all of the assignment.

Use of Equipment and Premises

  • The entity provides all equipment and supplies.
  • The Contractor will usually be engaged to work in the entity's premises.


  • Consultancy payments are usually made when agreed milestones are reached or when a task or project is completed.


  • Remuneration is based on the time worked, usually calculated on an hourly rate.


  1. The examples of consulting services and general contracting services below are not prescriptive and should be considered in the context of individual entity policies.
Examples of consulting services Examples of general contracting services
Type of project Type of assignment
  • investigating an issue or problem
  • diagnosing a problem
  • undertaking defined research
  • design, analysis and reporting of formal market research studies
  • carrying out an independent review
  • business process analysis, design and other advice
  • undertaking independent evaluations
  • evaluation of program performance and recommendations regarding changes
  • providing independent advice
  • providing independent information
  • developing advertising and marketing campaigns
  • providing advice on training needs and developing training plans
  • legal services, such as: - general legal advice (not related to litigation or potential litigation or given incidentally in connection with the development of contracts or other legal documents); - advice on the application of legislation and on development of new legislation; and - legal audit, probity and process advice, in relation to contracting out or tendering
  • reviews of, and the provision of advice on, occupational health and safety matters
  • provision of internal audit services
  • probity adviser/audit services
  • undertaking risk assessments
  • analysis of technology needs and development of software and hardware specifications
  • change facilitation advice
  • undertaking business and property valuations
  • development of a framework for benchmarking
  • individuals undertaking operational work within the entity under temporary external labour hire arrangements
  • conducting a recruitment activity
  • provision of travel services, including travel booking
  • provision of communications services, eg telephones
  • provision of information technology support services
  • development of software in line with already developed specifications
  • printing and copying services
  • scribe services
  • provision of cleaning and waste removal services
  • indoor plant maintenance services
  • provision of security services
  • delivery of training
  • writing of manuals and guidance materials covering existing processes
  • legal services, such as:
    • conveyancing;
    • development of contracts or other legal documents (and any incidental advice given relating to such work);
    • litigation services (including any drafting or advice connected with litigation or potential litigation); and
    • drafting of legislation and legislative instruments
  • data processing
  • project management
  • interpreter services


  1. The process for identifying consultancies for AusTender reporting purposes is outlined below.

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