The Unsolicited Proposals process is designed to encourage non-government sector participants to approach government with innovative infrastructure or service delivery solutions, where the government has not requested a proposal and the proponent is uniquely placed to provide a value-for-money solution.
The Assessment Process: An Overview
A four-stage assessment process has been developed to guide the evaluation of proposals. This is described in detail in section 5 of the Guide (PDF, 16MB).
The process involves:
Pre-submission Concept Review Stage
An optional initial, pre-lodgement meeting between the proponent and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to formally explore whether the proposal is likely to meet the Stage 1 assessment criteria, in particular the uniqueness criteria, and to guide proponents in their decision regarding whether to lodge their proposal. This is not a compulsory stage, but proponents planning to formally submit an unsolicited proposal are strongly advised to arrange such a meeting with DPC, prior to committing substantial resources for the development of the proposal.
Stage 1(a) Preliminary Assessment
DPC will undertake a Preliminary Assessment of the proposal in conjunction with the relevant agencies to determine if the submission constitutes an unsolicited proposal and if it contains sufficient potential grounds to justify direct dealing and therefore undertake a Stage 1 assessment. The Unsolicited Proposals Steering Committee approves progression, or otherwise, to Stage 1(b).
Stage 1(b) Strategic Assessment of Initial Submission
Includes a comprehensive initial assessment of the proposal to identify the potential benefit to government of further consideration and development with the proponent. The outcome is advice to the proponent of progression to Stage 2, or that the government does not wish to proceed.
Stage 2 Detailed Proposal
A proposal that progresses to Stage 2 means that, in concept form, it is deemed of sufficient interest to government to warrant further development and progression to a more defined project.
Stage 2 requires the proponent and government to work cooperatively in the development and assessment of a Detailed Proposal.
The outcome is advice to the proponent of progression to Stage 3, or that the government does not wish to proceed.
Stage 3 Negotiation of Final Binding Offer
Involves the finalisation of all outstanding issues with a view to entering into a binding agreement, should the government accept the final offer.
The Assessment Criteria
Section 3 of the Guide (Guiding Principles PDF, 16MB) provides extensive guidance on the assessment criteria and advice on the types of proposals that are NOT considered unique and/or proposals that are unlikely to be progressed.
A number of submissions have been received that do not meet the criteria set out in the Guide that would justify a direct commercial relationship with a proponent (instead of a competitive tender). Supplementary Information (PDF, 129kb) has been developed to help those considering making a submission to confirm compatibility with the requirements of the process.
Submissions will need to demonstrate unique benefits of the proposal and the unique ability of the proponent to deliver the proposal. In particular, the proposal should demonstrate the following:
- Can the proposal be readily delivered by competitors? If the answer is yes, then what, if any justification would the government have to the public for not seeking the best value through a competitive tender process? What benefit(s) should the government gain?
- Does the proponent own something that would limit the government from contracting with other parties if the government went to tender? This would include intellectual property, real property or other unique assets.
- Are there other attributes which may not necessarily stand alone as unique but, when combined, create a 'unique' proposal? This may include genuinely innovative ideas, including financial arrangements or a unique ability to deliver a strategic outcome. It is possible that the government might agree to initiate market testing of a new proposal that has merit, but is not unique.
Value for Money
Does the proposal deliver value for money to the NSW Government? What are the net economic benefits of the proposal? Is the proposal seeking to purchase a government asset at less than its value in exchange for other services?
Consideration will be given to factors such as:
- Whole-of-life costs and revenues
- Risks borne by government
- Benefits gained
- Qualitative outcomes
- Whole-of-Government outcomes (e.g. timely achievement of objectives)
Whole of Government Impact
What is the opportunity cost for government if it were to proceed with the proposal? Is the proposal consistent with the government's plans and priorities? Does the proposal meet a project or service need? What is the overall strategic merit of the proposal? Consideration will be given to whether the proposal would require government to re-prioritise and re-allocate funding.
Return on Investment
Is the proposed return on investment to the proponent proportionate to the proponent's risks and industry standards?
Capability and Capacity
Does the proponent have the experience, capability and capacity to carry out the proposal? What reliance is there on third parties?
Does the proposal require government funding, or for the government to purchase proposed services? Does the government have these funds available or budgeted and if not what source would be proposed?
What risks are to be borne by the proponent and by the government? Where risks can be quantified and valued they may also be considered under the value for money criteria.
1. An unsuccessful unsolicited proposal
The proponent currently holds a five-year contract to provide maintenance services for government-owned buildings, and has a demonstrated record of delivering quality services to government and other clients. The proponent's contract is due to expire in 12 months and the government is planning to commence the usual open tender process. The proponent submits an unsolicited proposal to the government to extend the existing contract for a further five years without going to tender. The key unique quality claimed by the proponent is demonstrated experience in delivering maintenance services and a good relationship with the relevant government agency.
This unsolicited proposal would be unlikely to progress to Stage 2 because there is an established market to provide the required service, and the proposal has not demonstrated any genuinely unique characteristics. The government would likely proceed with an open tender process to procure the services.
2. An unsolicited proposal that could be considered unique
The proponent owns a private hospital providing a range of healthcare services and it has identified that there is a shortage of cancer facilities in the region. The proponent wants to expand the existing hospital site to accommodate a new cancer care facility and has the necessary capital and capability to deliver. The facility would also include space for innovative public/private delivery of health services. A new larger operation will deliver economies of scale, reducing service delivery costs (including for proposed publicly funded health services). The hospital site is physically constrained by roads and privately owned dwellings. A government agency owns a commuter car park on land that is adjacent to the hospital site. The proponent submits an unsolicited proposal to acquire the government-owned land to enable the expansion of the hospital, and to provide replacement parking spaces under the new health facility.
This unsolicited proposal has the potential to progress to Stage 2 given the proponent's unique ability to utilise an existing government asset to enhance healthcare services delivered to the community. It could represent good value for money, minimal risk, and the same set of outcomes may not be realised through an open tender process.
The First Step in the Process: Pre-Lodgement Meeting
An optional initial, pre-lodgement meeting between the proponent and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) is recommended to formally explore whether the proposal is likely to meet the Stage 1 assessment criteria, in particular the uniqueness criteria, and to guide proponents in their decision regarding whether to lodge their proposal.
In order for this meeting to be helpful, the proposal needs to be developed to a stage where the key inputs and outcomes have been identified, key assumptions and requirements of government are clear, and other key elements have been identified. In particular, the unique ability of the proponent to deliver the proposal should be demonstrated and documented. The initial Schedule of Requirements (DOCX, 21kb) at section 8 of the Guide should be completed, as well as the Pre-Lodgement Meeting Checklist (PDF, 337kb) at section 9. Irrespective of the outcomes of this meeting, proponents may lodge their proposal formally.
Where the government is of the view that there is little prospect of the uniqueness criteria being met, it will communicate this to the proponent. In such circumstances, the government reserves the right not to advance the assessment of the proposal to Stage 1.
Arrange a Pre-Lodgement Meeting
The pre-lodgement meeting is not a compulsory stage, but proponents planning to formally submit an unsolicited proposal are strongly advised to arrange such a meeting with DPC, prior to committing substantial resources for the development of the proposal.
In order to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, please contact Con Kargas on (02) 9228 5407 or email us.
Proposals under assessment - stages 2 and 3
|Macquarie Group Limited – Sydney Metro City & Southwest, Martin Place Station||3||
Proposal to deliver a single fully integrated station/over station development solution for the new Sydney Metro Martin Place Station
|AMP Capital and Macquarie University - "Macquarie Square"||New transport interchange and town centre at Macquarie Park (Herring Rd). The proposal did not proceed past Stage 2 of the process.|
|IFM Investors Pty Ltd and AustralianSuper Pty Ltd||
Proposal for the partial long term lease of Ausgrid.
|Brookfield Office Properties Australia Pty Ltd - "Wynyard Place"||Proposal for a grand transit hall and public concourse at Wynyard Station together with a new entrance from George Street.|
|NorthConnex||Proposal to construct a tunnel link between the M1 and M2 motorways. Find out more at the NorthConnex website|
|Crown Sydney Resort Project||
The Government approved Crown's Final Binding Offer on 11 November 2013, and the same month the NSW Parliament passed legislation that enabled Crown to apply for a restricted gaming facility licence at Barangaroo South. The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) has completed its investigations and considerations, and has granted a restricted gaming licence to Crown to operate the Barangaroo restricted gaming facility from 15 November 2019. Please see the ILGA website and the Crown Stage 3 Outcomes and Transaction Summary for additional information.
|Echo Entertainment Group||Proposal to extend The Star's exclusivity arrangement post 2019.
The proposal did not proceed past Stage 2 of the process.
|University of Sydney||The government finalised the sale of the Queen Mary Building (PDF, 162kb), Camperdown to the University of Sydney on 10 October 2013. The building will be used for affordable student accommodation.|
|University of Western Sydney||Proposal to acquire surplus government lands at Rydalmere for higher education purposes.
Unsolicited proposals received 2016-17
In the 2016-17 financial year, the Department of Premier and Cabinet received a total of 26 unsolicited proposals. The table below outlines the number of proposals received in each industry category.
|Acquisition of government assets||1|
Of these 26 proposals, seven are current (as at 30 June 2017), 14 did not proceed past the initial assessment stage, one was withdrawn by the proponent, three were referred to other agencies for consideration (outside the unsolicited proposals framework) and one was approved (partial long-term lease of Ausgrid).
The table below outlines the reasons for not progressing the 14 proposals past the initial assessment stage. Each proposal may not have met multiple criteria.
|Reason||No. of proposals|
|Value for money||3|
|Inconsistent with government policy||3|
|Referred to other process||1|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an unsolicited proposal?
An unsolicited proposal is an approach to the NSW Government from a proponent with a proposal to build and/or finance infrastructure or provide goods and services where the government has not requested the proposal.
Refer to page 4 of the Guide (PDF, 16MB) for types of proposals that are unlikely to be progressed.
Does it cost anything to submit an unsolicited proposal?
No, there is no cost (fee) in submitting an unsolicited proposal. Proponents are expected to meet their own costs as proposals progress through the various stages of the process.
How do I submit a formal proposal?
Proposals should be submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Find out how to lodge a proposal
Will proposals that relate to a matter currently the subject of a competitive tender process be considered?
Section 3 of the Guide states that proposals for projects where a tender process has formally commenced, whether published or not, are unlikely to be considered.
Can I submit an unsolicited proposal to a NSW Government agency other than the Department of Premier and Cabinet?
No, the Department of Premier and Cabinet is charged with the role of assessing and evaluating unsolicited proposals in New South Wales.
Why submit an unsolicited proposal if it might be subject to a competitive tender process?
An unsolicited proposal can be a valuable means for communicating innovative ideas to the NSW Government. If a proposal does not satisfy the assessment criteria set out in the Guide but the government sees merit in the proposal (or similar), the government may consider offering delivery of the proposal to the market.
In the event that a competitive tender process is considered appropriate, the government will respect any intellectual property of the proponent. The proponent may participate in any procurement process.
Is it compulsory to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with the Department of Premier and Cabinet before making a formal submission?
A pre-lodgement meeting with the Department of Premier and Cabinet is not compulsory. However, proponents are strongly encouraged to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting to discuss the proposal in order for proponents to best prepare for a formal submission, should they decide to make one.
How can I arrange for a pre-lodgement meeting?
Contact Mr Con Kargas on (02) 9228 5407. Alternatively, you may email us.
How long does each stage of the unsolicited proposals process take?
The timeframe for each stage of the unsolicited proposals process is subject to the complexity of the proposal and the number of stakeholders involved.
How detailed should the initial submission be?
For the purposes of evaluating a proposal under Stage 1, proponents should complete the Schedule of Information Requirements (DOCX, 21kb).
Is there a minimum threshold for proposals that can be assessed under the unsolicited proposals guidelines?
No, there is no minimum monetary threshold for proposals that can be assessed. All innovative proposals that address the assessment criteria under the Guide will be considered.
My proposal contains commercial-in-confidence information. How will this be treated throughout the unsolicited proposals process?
All unsolicited proposals submitted are confidential unless they reach Stage 2 of the process where brief details of the proposal will be published on the NSW Government website.
My proposal contains details on intellectual property that I hold. How will this be treated throughout the unsolicited proposals process?
Government will respect any intellectual property of proponents throughout all stages of the unsolicited proposals process.
I want to submit a proposal which involves a PPP arrangement with the NSW Government. Are there any other matters that need to be considered?
Proposals which involve a PPP arrangement with government will also be considered within the context of the NSW PPP Guidelines and National PPP Guidelines. Further information on these guidelines can be found on the NSW Treasury website.
Will proposals that involve obtaining a grant from the Government be considered?
Section 3 of the Guide states that proposals seeking grants (e.g. scientific research) are unlikely to be considered.
Can I submit additional documentation (attachments) with my unsolicited proposal?
Proponents are able to submit any additional documentation or material with their unsolicited proposal application, provided that such material is relevant to addressing the questions raised in the Schedule of Information Requirements.
Who can I contact after I have made a submission?
The contact details of a Proposal Manager will be provided.
My proposal did not proceed to Stage 2. Can I receive feedback on my proposal?
Proponents that are unsuccessful in Stage 1 of the unsolicited proposals process will be given reasons on why the government has decided not to proceed with their proposal. Feedback will be in accordance with the assessment criteria outlined in the Guide.
I have submitted a proposal. Can I contact other government departments during the assessment of my proposal?
Proponents are required to not contact people in the government during the assessment of their proposal, other than the Proposal Manager.
Lodgement and Enquiries
Prior to lodging a submission, the proponent should:
- Complete the pre-lodgement check list (section 9 of the Guide)
- Complete the initial (draft) Schedule of Information Requirements (section 8 of Guide)
- Arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with DPC.
After this, proponents wishing to make a formal submission should finalise the Schedule of Information Requirements (DOCX, 21kb) and attach any other relevant information.
All initial submissions should be forwarded to:
NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001
Proponents contemplating lodging an unsolicited proposal are strongly encouraged to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with the Department of Premier and Cabinet to seek clarity on the process and criteria.
Mr Harley De Burgh
Tel: 9228 5312
NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001
Email: [email protected]