Purchase from a CUA or my Agency’s Panel Arrangements Guideline

This Procurement Guideline assists State to purchase from a CUA or an Agency’s Panel Arrangements for goods, services, Community Services and works

For the complete list of guides see the Procurement Guidelines.

Common Use Arrangements

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A Common Use Arrangement (CUA) is a whole-of-government standing offer arrangement, awarded to a single supplier or a panel of suppliers for the provision of specific products or services commonly used within government. CUAs are aggregated supply arrangements that enable State agencies and other specified parties to source products and/or services.

See the Common Use Arrangement page for a complete list of CUAs.

A CUA is an efficient buying tool that streamlines the purchasing process between State agencies and suppliers. When orders are placed using a CUA, the standing offer is accepted and a binding contract commences for that particular quantity of products or services.

The majority of CUAs are mandatory when purchasing for the metropolitan region.  Where purchasing for the metropolitan region, all State agencies must use mandatory CUAs as their exclusive source of supply for the products and/or services covered by the CUA.

Buying rules are developed for each CUA and all purchases made against a CUA must be made in accordance with these rules. The rules will also specify whether a CUA is mandatory.

Using CUAs in the Regions

The majority of CUAs are only mandatory when the point of delivery is in the metropolitan area. There are some exceptions to this, such as software licences, fuel, and electricity retail which are mandatory state-wide.

The Buy Local Policy 2020 states that if buying for regional Western Australia, State agencies should:

Maximise the use of a contractor’s regional distributor or dealer network when buying from a CUA;

  • Use a regional supplier if that supplier is on the CUA;
  • Where appropriate, when obtaining quotations from suppliers on a CUA, apply the regional price preferences;
  • Purchase outside of a CUA that is non-mandatory in the regions, when there are no regionally based suppliers on the CUA and there is capacity within the region; and
  • Avoid creating a mandatory panel from a non-mandatory CUA.

Approvals to Purchase from a Supplier not on a Mandatory Common Use Arrangement

If a State agency wishes to buy outside of a mandatory CUA, or does not wish to buy in accordance with the Buying Rules of a CUA, then approval must be sought from Finance unless the State agency wishes to procure from a registered Aboriginal business or an ADE. State agencies are able to directly engage registered Aboriginal businesses or ADEs, notwithstanding the existence of a mandatory CUA and without obtaining approval from Finance.

Approvals given by Finance to purchase outside of a mandatory CUA must be recorded on a State agency’s exemption approval register. Requests will be seen by Finance as exceptions to the rule and will not be approved lightly.

Finance will consider requests not to purchase from a CUA using these principles:

  • The approval will potentially weaken the effectiveness of a CUA and make it more difficult to achieve optimal outcomes with a new arrangement when an existing CUA expires;
  • Requests will be considered by Finance on a case-by-case basis. A State agency must be able to demonstrate that a business need cannot be adequately met by the relevant CUA. Being able to purchase an item cheaper from a non-contracted supplier would in itself not normally be considered a valid reason for an approval to be granted; and
  • Some requests have been granted on the basis of compatibility issues, such as in the case of equipment purchases (e.g. specialist printers or scanners available through the CUA not being compatible with an agencies existing hardware or software) or unique operational factors.

Requests must be in writing and provide sufficient explanation and background to enable the request to be considered. The Requests should be addressed to the relevant Assistant Director responsible for the management of the particular CUA.

The requesting officer should be the Accountable Authority or delegate of the State agency.

In order to assist Finance to facilitate the consideration of the request in a timely manner, State agencies are encouraged to provide the information in accordance with the headings outlined below:

  • Background to the request;
  • State agency's preferred purchasing option;
  • Rationale for the request;
  • Purchase value;
  • Potential impact on the State agency of not proceeding with the non-CUA purchase;
  • Alternative options / strategies considered by the State agency; and
  • Proposed procurement methodology for the non-CUA purchase.

Please note, if an exemption from a CUA is granted, the State agency must then follow a procurement process in line with the value of the requirement.

Who else can buy from a CUA?

State agencies must buy from mandatory CUAs, but the following groups may also choose to purchase from a CUA:

  • Approved Government entities not subject to the Procurement Act 2020;
  • Approved Public Benevolent Institutions (PBIs); and
  • Other bodies approved by Finance such as Local Governments and Universities.

Agency Specific Panels

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An Agency Specific Panel, (referred to in Rule C2.2 as ‘State Agency led Standing Offers’) is a standing offer arrangement that is only accessible to a single agency, awarded to a panel of suppliers for the provision of specific products or services required by the agency.

State agencies will have determined whether the Agency Specific Panel will be mandatory at the planning phase of the procurement, with the resulting Agency Specific Panel’s buying rules reflecting this once awarded. This will change from panel to panel based on the State agency’s requirements, the scope of the panel, and other factors. Where an Agency Specific Panel is mandatory it must be used for all purchases within that State agency.

Approvals to Purchase from a Supplier not on a Mandatory Agency Specific Panel

If a State agency wishes to buy outside of a mandatory Agency Specific Panel, or does not wish to buy in accordance with the buying rules of the panel, then approval must be sought from the Authorised Officer from that appropriate State agency representative. Buying rules for Agency Specific Panel’s should identify who the appropriate State agency representative is to provide this approval the Authorised Officer for the purpose of approving alternative buying arrangements.

Page reviewed 11 June 2021