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

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 2022 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 for alternative purchasing arrangements to a Mandatory Common Use Arrangement

As per the Western Australian Procurement Rules C2.2, if a State agency’s purchasing requirements fall within the scope of a mandatory Common Use Arrangement (CUA) but they wish to apply alternative purchasing arrangements, i.e.:

  • Purchase from a supplier that is not a contractor on the relevant CUA; or
  • Purchase other than in accordance with the CUA Buying Rules.

Approval must be sought from the Assistant Director, Procurement Frameworks as the Authorised Officer from the Department of Finance.

The above requirement does not apply when:

  • A State agency’s Authorised Officer approves a non-CUA purchase to respond to an Emergency Situation; or
  • Purchasing from a Registered Aboriginal Business or an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE). State agencies may directly engage Registered Aboriginal Businesses or ADEs without obtaining approval from Finance, notwithstanding the existence of a mandatory CUA.

Requests for exemptions from CUAs must:

  • Be in writing (email or letter)
  • Be sent by the Accountable Authority or delegate of the agency
  • Be forwarded to the CUA Contract Manager in the first instance; and
  • Provide sufficient explanation and background to enable the request to be considered, including information such as:
    • The value and term of the proposed purchase
    • A brief description of the proposed purchase
    • An outline of the State agency's preferred alternative arrangement; and
    • The rationale for not purchasing from the CUA and/or in accordance with the CUA Buying Rules.

Requests for exemption will be considered by Finance on a case-by-case basis and will not be approved lightly. When considering a request for exemption, Finance will take into account whether:

  • Approving the exemption could weaken the effectiveness of a CUA and make it more difficult to achieve optimal outcomes with a new arrangement when the existing CUA expires
  • The State agency is able to demonstrate that a business need cannot be adequately met by the relevant CUA. The following are not considered valid reasons for an approval to be granted:
    • Being able to purchase cheaper from a non-contracted supplier
    • Vendor lock-in
    • Poor planning; or
    • Timing pressures.
  • There is evidence of a Bona Fide Sole Source of Supply; and
  • There is a unique operational factors or a need to integrate with an existing contract, project or standard operating environment and an alternative is not suitable.

Where Finance has granted an exemption from a mandatory CUA:

  • The approval must be recorded on a State agency’s exemption approval register; and
  • All other applicable rules and processes that correspond with the value of the Procurement must still be followed by the State agency.

These guidelines apply to exemption requests for mandatory CUAs only.

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

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.

Last updated: