Multi-agency access contracts

Agencies may be able to procure from the arrangements organised by another agency, where it is not appropriate to establish a whole of government contract. This reduces the procurement burden on agencies and suppliers by reducing the number of approaches to market, and allows for price savings through volume discounts.

Multi-agency access contracts - or 'piggybacking' contracts - differ to whole of government contracting and also from clustering contracting, where agencies pool their requirements prior to approaching the market. In contrast, 'piggybacking' is where one agency has established an arrangement and has made the arrangement available to other agencies. Piggybacking requires agencies to accept the terms and conditions of the existing contract.  

Where an agency intends to procure a level of goods and services that will have the effect of producing a significant increase in volume or value to that originally envisaged, the agency should consider whether a new open approach to the market might deliver a better value for money outcome, and it may need to consider whether it has authority to procure based on the revised value.

Ideally 'piggybacking' should be put in place at the start of the procurement process and form part of the terms of the resulting contract. Any agency, which establishes a new arrangement should ensure that the scheme or arrangement permits other agencies to use the scheme or arrangement. Guidelines on inclusion of piggyback clauses and sample clauses to be incorporated into market documents are provided below.

Agencies are authorised to buy from existing arrangements, where agreed by the establishing agency.

Agencies seeking to piggyback on an existing arrangement should consider whether:

  • the contract or deed allows for potential access by other agencies, and it is agreed by the establishing agency
  • the agency's needs are within the scope of the existing arrangement
  • the agency will achieve value for money
  • the market has changed substantially since the existing arrangement was put in place.

Managing multi-agency access contracts

Prior to entering into new arrangements with multi-agency access provisions, it is preferable for agencies to determine roles and responsibilities for the ongoing management of the arrangement.

Generally speaking the agency establishing the multi-agency arrangement will be responsible for its administration, especially where the agency has responsibility for the arrangement pursuant to a category management plan or based on the agency’s accredited role. However, issues for consideration in determining agency roles include:

  • roles and responsibilities of agencies, especially with regard to resourcing for management of the arrangement and change management, dealing with the supplier/s, placement of orders and payment procedures
  • communication between the parties, for example, for the establishing agency to communicate any changes to the arrangement to participating agencies and provide agencies' feedback to the supplier/s on issues such as service delivery performance management and reporting
  • documenting relevant arrangements between the agencies, such as volume of purchases
  • how procurement reporting will operate, including to the Board where necessary.

Requirements for market documents

When establishing a new arrangement, agencies should consider the inclusion of arrangements to establish as a multi-agency arrangement.

Sample contract clauses are:

  • for head agreement to allow agency access
    Piggybacking by other NSW agencies
    If any government agency (as defined in the Public Works and Procurement Act 1912 (NSW) or a public body as defined in Clause 6 of the Public Works and Procurement Regulation 2019 requires the supplier to supply the goods and services to the agency then the supplier agrees that it will enter into a separate customer contract with that government agency or public body on terms provided in this deed as though the Principal entered into this deed on behalf of that government agency or public body, having regard only to necessary changes to reflect that the goods and services are to be supplied to the government agency or public body. Where known, agencies should identify which agencies are likely to piggyback on the arrangement, such as other agencies, or those that have expressed an interest in joining. They can also include a general provision to enable other (unnamed) agencies to join.
  • for dealing with the sharing of confidential information
    Agencies should also ensure that terms and conditions of the contract do not include a confidentiality requirement that prevents the contract, including pricing, being provided to other agencies. This is consistent with ensuring value for money.