What is the difference between an Alliance and Consortium?
“Consortium” refers to the tender phase and “Alliance” refers to the post-tender contract phase. A Consortium is the name given to a group of organisations who come together to submit a tender for an Alliance. All members of the Consortium are required to sign the one tender submission. If a Consortium is successful in winning the tender, then all of its members and the Authority sign the one Alliance Agreement and are known as an “Alliance”.
Do all current providers in a region need to be part of the tendering Consortium?
No. It is up to the Consortium to determine the organisations who will form the Alliance, and what Services they will provide, as long as they cover the Service Types and any Mandated Service Activities. There is no requirement for all current providers within a Region to be part of a Consortium, or a requirement to maintain the current distribution of funding between Services within the Alliance.
A mix of large and small organisations is encouraged, and Consortia with ACCOs will receive preference, but the Authority is not mandating which Services or Providers are within a Consortium bid or resulting Alliance.
Do agencies undertake and develop their own submissions and simply identify Alliance Participants?
Tender submissions are to be submitted as a consortium, identifying a lead and all Participants. The submission will require information on capability from all Participants, and it is expected that the submission will be a collaborative effort. All consortia members will need to sign the Tender response.
How is the Lead Sector Participant determined for each Alliance, and do they take the lead in writing the tender submission?
The Authority is not prescribing who is Lead Sector Participant or who takes the lead in writing the Tender. We expect preparation of the Tender submission to be a collaborative effort, consistent with the collaborative effort required in an Alliance.
What are the attributes of Consortia that the Authority is looking for?
We are seeking diversity within the Consortia. Alliances are encouraged to play to the strengths of individual Providers, regardless of size. The Authority is seeking ACCOs in each Alliance, and embedding a shared understanding of lived experience and their contribution.
The key attributes we are looking for in Consortia are:
- A shared vision
- Shared decision making at a strategic and operational level
- Recognition of the different skills, resources, value adds and knowledge of different Providers
- Modelling of Alliance behaviours and values
- Respect for differences in Providers
What is the importance of early team alignment?
It is important, early in the tender process, for Consortia to bring together Providers early and commence the application of collaborative alliancing principles. It is vital for robust and open conversations to happen upfront. The Authority expects that team development activities and conversations are being undertaken within the bid phase prior to the transition in phase with the Authority in an Alliance.
We understand that there are different sizes and capabilities in undertaking tenders. We also acknowledge that while we are inviting organisations to participate in Alliances to deliver homelessness services, some of these organisations may continue to be competitors in other sectors such as disability and aged care. There is still an expectation that the team will build and share knowledge, and consortium members will need to determine how best to manage this.
In the establishment of the Tender Team, are we expecting all parties have some level of representation on the Tender Team?
The Authority is not prescribing or mandating Tender Team composition, although the Authority would anticipate that to commence Alliance behaviours to collaborate in the formulation of the tender response, this would occur. Leveraging strengths and knowledge across consortium members is key to your Tender Team.
What happens if people are thinking about linking up with more than one consortium?
There is no restriction on sector providers being in more than one Consortium. The Authority expects that this is more likely to be in the scenario where there is a specialist provider who has capability that is needed for in multiple Alliance Regions / DFV statewide. It us up to Consortia to determine their rules of engagement, including on any information sharing. The only requirement from the Authority is that collusion does not occur.
What happens if the team has identified their Participants and then someone pulls out halfway through?
It is up to sector providers who are tendering together in a Consortium to determine the Consortium’s rules of engagement. The Authority recommends that Consortium members address this at the outset to ensure that the required level of commitment and common understanding is in place early.
Is there any expectation or direction from the Authority around who is paying for the Tender development?
As is standard with government tenders, respondents are responsible for costs associated with putting their tender together. We acknowledge that certain organisations have greater experience in preparing tenders and have greater resources to put towards this process. We recommend that Consortia give careful thought to how they allocate and share tender activities and costs and document that early.
What are the typical roles and responsibilities of an Alliance Tender team?
While it is not prescribed by the Authority, an Alliance Tender Team would generally be expected to comprise:
- Tender co-ordinator: Responsible for proposal planning and coordination leads, and is responsible for resources, planning, scheduling, development and production
- Financial co-ordinator: Responsible for coordinating funding split in alignment with Consortium’s agreed allocated responsibilities and preparation of budget schedule, although not responsible for making the final decision on funding split (which is a decision for the consortium members)
- Workstream co-ordinators: Responsible for developing or collecting content from specific areas (e.g. methodology, schedules, quality management, health and safety plans)
- Tender support: Assists with development process, plans, schedules, coordinates contributors and assist with reviews
- Proposal writers: Responsible for drafting proposal sections or to edit content generated by other contributors to ensure the proposal is cohesive, tells a consistent story, and is persuasive
- Reviewers and approvals: Responsible for reviewing and approving the tender at critical decision points
It is anticipated that some members of the Alliance Tender Team may take on multiple roles.
What are the typical responsibilities of a Tender Co-Ordinator?
It is important that the person who takes the role of Tender Co-Ordinator has capability to:
- Coordinate the Tender Start-up, interim Reviews, and Final Tender Reviews
- Review and approve the Tender Program and Tender Costs
- Manage submission content, such as the Tender submission matrix, Tender guide, content analysis and three-draft process
- Collate organisational structures and CVs
- Manage the questions process and addendum
- Coordinate final sign-off.
Will an open book financial reporting policy apply to the Tender process? And what will the responsibility of the Financial Co-ordinator around this within the Tender Team?
The consortium members will need to agree the details of their own protocols for interacting regarding finances, provided they don’t engage in collusion. It is not up to the Financial Co-ordinator to make the decision regarding distribution of finances – they will generally do a build-up of proposed cost allocation based on the allocation of service responsibility for consideration and decision by the consortium members.
The Financial Co-ordinator would also typically take the lead in building up the budget template for the Alliance as required under the tender response schedule, with the budget build up reflecting the decision of the consortium members of the funding split they are putting forward in the consortium tender response. All consortium members will need to sign the tender response, so all will need to agree their tendered funding split.
What is the expectation for a Consortium in developing and proposing their Alliance Organisation Structure?
As part of preparing Tender responses, consortia should be preparing an organisation chart showing each of their Service responsibilities and their nominees for ALT and AMT roles, as well as either a suggested AM or a method for identifying one. The organisational chart is a way of showing clearly that the consortium has thought through these arrangements and has a clear plan for how the Alliance Activities will be delivered.
What can Consortia expect to see in relation to the Services Delivery Framework within the upcoming Request for Proposal?
Essentially the Service Delivery Framework outlines the new approach to Service Delivery within the new Alliance and regional model. With the forthcoming tender we focused on client outcomes rather than prescriptive contract inputs. Rather than prescribing that the existing Services are offered within the new regions, we are asking regions to deliver a flexible range of Service Types, through the design of their preferred Service Network.
For the tender we are asking Consortia to explain how they will deliver the full range of Service Types within the region, and how that fits together as a Service Network. This may be through Services you have provided in the past, or variations on those Services, or new interventions. To help you prepare your service delivery approach we have provided information packs that include data on each region and the services currently being provided, current funding allocations as well as a proforma to describe your Alliance’s proposed Service Network.
Further information can be found through monthly data reports for specialist homelessness services on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website.
What can Consortia expect the Key Commercial Terms to look like?
The Key Commercial Terms (KCTs) have been released as part of the Tender and cover the topics addressed in the Sector Briefings, particularly Sector Briefing 2. The KCTs cover the principle areas of the Alliance Agreement that will be entered into by the successful tendering Consortium for an Alliance. The KCTs are designed to be readily understood by tendering Consortia and to explain the commercial elements of the Alliance.
What can Consortia expect to see in relation to the Transition-In of services within the upcoming Tender Submission Invitation?
The key components of the Transition-In Plan include:
- Scope and objectives – to ensure a smooth transition to a new contractual arrangement and ensure service continuity during the transition process. The critical element is to ensure there are no service gaps during this phase.
- Transition Plan and Transition Procedure – including a consideration of associated activities relating to tasks and assigned responsibilities. People and Culture Development Phases – team on-boarding and training, including any requirements for upskilling or change management processes.
- Implementation and integration and transfer of Systems, Policies, Processes – taking into consideration governance frameworks and policies associated with delivery of the services.
- Support required from Authority during Transition – identifying in the Plan when and where the Authority’s support is required to collaboratively achieve a transition activity.
- Transition-In Coordinator – may be required to coordinate transition activities.
- Transition-In Team – made up of Alliance Participant representatives including the Authority will need to be nominated to ensure the project is carried out smoothly.
- Transition Plan organisation chart – may be required, depending on the complexity of the plan
- Detailed transition schedule and key milestones – depending on complexity of transition
Any risks Authority should be aware of – including a risk register to catalogue, workshop, manage and mitigate risks identified with the Authority.