What is the importance around undertaking a competitive tendering process for the Reform?

The Authority, as a Government Agency, has a responsibility to ensure responsible and equitable expenditure of public funds and adhering to the State Procurement Act 2004 and its procedures and policies. This means a procurement process must be undertaken to align with those responsibilities and obligations, requiring it to be a fair, transparent, auditable and competitive process to ensure the best outcomes are obtained through the process and that value for money is demonstrated.

What is the timeframe for the Tender?

The tender was released on Monday 16 November 2020 and will remain open until 2:00pm (ACDT) Thursday 25 February 2021. It seeks the submission of tenders from Consortia to form Alliances for the provision of homelessness and domestic and family violence services from 1 July 2021.

A substantial alliance-readiness process is underway, including Sector Briefings to assist the sector to understand the Alliance model and prepare for the tendering process.

Will the existing contracts be extended to allow additional time for the tender process?

The current contracts for in-scope Services expire on 30 June 2021 and the Authority does not intend to extend these contracts. The timeframe enables the Alliance contracts to align to the final years of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.
In response to feedback from the sector, the tender response period for the South Australian Homelessness Alliances Invitation to Supply (ITS) has been extended by six weeks commencing on 16 November 2020 and ending at 2:00pm (ACDT) on 25 February 2021.

Closure of the Tender on this date will support the Authority to finalise the new Alliance Contracts prior to the expiration of the current in-scope contracts of 30 June 2021.

Where is the Tender advertised?

The Tender is an Open Call via the Tenders SA website. The Tender is available nationally to anybody who is interested in viewing it.

Will the Authority be available over the Christmas and New Year period to provide support for Consortia?

There will be Authority staff available over the Christmas and New Year period (excluding public holidays) to receive and answer questions. In line with the tender rules, for probity reasons Authority staff cannot provide direct responses to Consortia. Please direct all enquiries to the Authority’s named contact person for the Tender (kat.moo3@sa.gov.au).

Queries and answers (if appropriate) will be uploaded as an Addendum via SA Tenders and Contracts website. Notifications will be issued to all who downloaded the tender documents. It is also advisable to check the website regularly, to ensure no Addendums are missed.

Why are some services out of scope for the current tender?

While most current contracts with homelessness and domestic and family violence services are due to expire 30 June 2021, a small number of Services have not been included in the Alliance Tender process. Some of these services have been excluded as they have been subject to accelerated reform and currently have contracts beyond 30 June 2021.

In addition, several Services have been ruled out of scope for a range of reasons, including: a broadly based geographic focus, either statewide or across metropolitan Adelaide; proprietary service models linked to, and supported by, purpose-built properties, or are linked to other government agencies.

While they will be included in some of the service planning and coordination activities of the alliances, they are excluded from the alliance based tender process. Over the initial two-year Alliance term, work will be undertaken to identify strategies for aligning these services, wherever possible, with the new alliance structures prior to undertaking future funding rounds. A full list of out of scope services is available on the SA Housing Authority website.

How much funding will be provided to ‘in scope’ Services? Does that include Authority costs, or is all of it available for the sector?

In 2021-22, $50.4m will be applied through the Alliances, matching the current spending on the in-scope Services. Similar funding levels are available in 2022-23. The Authority’s general costs are funded separately, all in-scope funding is available to the sector.

What relationship and responsibility do out of scope Services have in participating in the Alliances?

Services that are out of scope will not be directly included in the Alliances. Organisations managing out of scope services may also be in Alliances for a portion of their in-scope Services, and will have the opportunity to create links between the Alliances and out of scope Services. Where the Service Provider is not in an Alliance, the Alliances are encouraged to make connections with that Service Provider to ensure the most effective service delivery to clients.

How do Alliances approach consolidation of administration costs, particularly how does this affect the Lead Sector Participant? Will there be additional funding for the Alliance Manager?

Alliances can choose their operational and administrative arrangements, including exploring opportunities to consolidate administration costs within an Alliance. The salary and on-costs of the Alliance Manager is paid for by the Lead Sector Participant as part of the Alliance’s administrative costs, and so the Alliance will need to ensure the Lead Sector Participant receives the relevant portion of the total Alliance funding to meet this obligation. As with current contracts, administration costs will continue to be met from allocated funding. Administration costs will continue to be limited to 18% metro, 21% for regional, totalling approximately $10M per annum of maximum administrative allowance across all Alliances.  The key additional roles of the Lead Sector Participant will be to distribute the funding for the Alliance in accordance with the contracted allocation, and employ the Alliance Manager.

When will the sector find out about the allocation of money for each alliance?

The breakdown of funding allocation between Alliances has been released as part of the Tender. The funding allocated to each Alliance is based on cumulative funding of the in-scope programs currently operating within each region. Overall current funding levels for in-scope services are being maintained.

How will funding be distributed within an Alliance? How does funding get distributed between service types?

Alliances will need to determine the distribution of the total funding within their Alliance. It is expected that Services will be allocated funding within each Alliance in accordance with the Service Types they are delivering and the level of client need for those Service Types. The Authority has provided information on current funding allocations and service usage to inform these decisions.  The Alliance will need to also determine the allocation of the administrative costs component of the funding in line with the responsibilities taken (for example, the Lead Sector Participant’s role in employing the Alliance Manager).

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Does each Alliance need to distribute the funding in accordance with the currently funded Services in each Region?

Each Region (including the state-wide DFV) has the opportunity to distribute the funding between Services in line with the funding split put forward by the successful consortia as part of their tender response, taking account of need across the region and coverage of Service Types and any Mandated Service Activities. The Consortia are not bound to submit tender responses in line with the funding distribution between current Services in their Region, and should determine the optimal funding split by reference to their proposal for the new Alliance model.

Can I get a full list of suburb names for my region?

The Alliance regions are available on the Authority website and as part of the tender documents. These regions are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Statistical Areas Level 3. The ABS website has interactive maps with suburb information.

What happens to the funding of a current Service Provider if they are unsuccessful within a consortium bid?

While we expect that most of the existing agencies will continue to operate in the new alliance model, current Service Providers that are not part of successful Alliance proposals will not have contracts extended beyond 30 June 2021. They will be provided with reasonable notice and will be supported to transition out of their current role. From 1 July 2021, all in-scope funding will be distributed through the Alliances.

What will be the term of the new contracts and transition approach from individual programs to the Alliance model?

The Alliance contracts will be for up to 6 years, with an initial term of two years, from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023 to match current funding availability. SA Housing Authority will work with the other Alliance participants over the course of the initial term to secure extensions beyond the initial term (2 + 2 years).

The extensions are subject to:

  • funding availability (including Commonwealth), such as NHHA or its successor. Levels of funding are dependent on these future funding arrangements
  • participants acting in accordance with Alliance model
  • demonstrated material progress towards Alliance Outcomes
  • demonstrated high level of performance.

The Authority sits within each Alliance and so shares the goal and work in achieving term extensions.

Maintaining business as usual and service continuity for clients will be vital through the shift from individual programs to the Alliances, and the SA Housing Authority will support services to ensure this occurs.

There will be a period of transition and mobilisation from April 2021 to December 2021, to ensure services are well supported in moving to the Alliances and service continuity for clients.

What are the key contractual components?

The Key Commercial Terms (KCT) document has been released as part of the Tender. KCTs allow respondents to focus on the key issues that will be in the Alliance Agreement and their compliance with them. A full Alliance Agreement is provided to the preferred respondent for each Alliance region (including statewide DFV).

The Alliance is made up of the Authority and Sector Participants. It is expected that each Alliance will have large, small and specialist providers as Participants. All Participants in an Alliance sign the one Alliance Agreement and have equal standing within the Alliance. The Alliance is not a sub-contracting model.

Why are the specific nominations of ALT and AMT members required at Tender phase? What happens if the Alliance Manager is unable to be confirmed at the Tender Response submission stage?

The Tender sets out the requirements for the Alliance model from 1 July 2021, including the governance structure. In order to enable the governance structure to be set up early, Consortia will need to nominate their members for the various Governance structures as part of the Tender process. If a nomination is not made at the time of Tender, the Consortium will need to provide an outline of the process and criteria for that nomination.

Are non-Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) providers eligible to tender? Is the Lead Sector Participant required to be a SHS?

The SA Homelessness Alliance’s tender is an open process and therefore there is no requirement for the Lead Sector Participant or Other Sector Participants to be SHS providers SHS providers. The only prohibition is that State Government agencies cannot be part of a tendering Consortium.

How will organisations know who is available to collaborate with? What will the Authority do, if anything, to assist?

A list of current Service providers and key contacts is available on the SA Housing Authority website. For the purposes of probity all Services have access to the complete contact list. The SA Housing Authority will not be mandating particular alliance arrangements, but will be providing information to the sector to enable organisations to form Alliances.

Can an organisation be a part of several Consortia bidding within the same Region?

Yes, a provider can bid within more than one Consortium within the same Region. Providers need to be careful to not overbid or underbid between Consortia, and to not behave in a collusive manner, and it is up to consortia to manage these issues.

Can Consortia include sub-contracted organisations?

Consortia are able to sub-contract external services. However, sub-contractors will not form part of the Consortia directly. Sub-contracting arrangements are expected to work in the same way as they have previously for individual organisations.

As a specialist or small provider, if another organisation with aligned goals cannot be found can we Tender individually?

No, the Tender requires Consortia bids. Consortia will need to include in their Tender response the proposed allocation of responsibility for Service Types between the Alliance members, including the Service Types integrated within each Service, and the split of funding between Services.

As with any funding application or tender process, it is incumbent on all interested parties to work out how best to participate. The Alliances regions and statewide DFV are structured in such a way that the Authority is expecting successful consortia will comprise a mix of larger, smaller and specialist organisations.

What does the Transition-In plan need to contain?

Transition Plans cover two aspects of transition – one where a service is ending (a more detailed plan), and one where a service is transitioning to sit with another organisation. Typically, a Transition Plan would include details on how the provider intends to manage the transition and would involve the proposed practice for:

  • clients (including movement of client files)
  • staff
  • service delivery (including continuity of service)
  • service handover.

How will Consortia be aware of current Services and Service Providers in order to factor them into Transition planning?

The Authority has provided information on the current Services within each Region, as well as the out of scope Services on the Authority website.

To what extent are we anticipating Service Providers to restructure their individual organisation? If I’m a specialist organisation that only provides SHS services, what does this mean for my role and business structure?

In that scenario, providing the funded services is the organisation’s core business and so there needs to be a corresponding level of effort and focus from that organisation in performing well under the Alliance Agreement. That does not require a restructure of an organisation’s business, however organisations may choose to alter their structures to achieve efficiencies between Alliance Participants, and this is no different than performing efficiently under any under major contract.

How many people will be employed in managing the contracts and what seniority level will Authority members of the Alliance be at?

The Authority is finalising the nominations and seniority of Authority representatives in the governance structure, and. these details will be communicated to the successful Consortia.

Will the Alliance Lead Sector Participant be the sole contact for contract management matters?

No. The ALT is collective responsible to the Authority for all contract management matters. In practice, the Alliance Manager attends to this at an operational level under the leadership and guidance of the ALT.

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