V/Line’s procurement complaints management


The V/Line complaints management procedure is available to suppliers who have an issue or concern in relation to the process and probity applied by V/Line when carrying out a procurement activity.

The complaint should be in the form of a letter and include the following details:
  • A concise written statement which clearly sets out the basis and specific details of the complaint.
  • How the subject of the complaint and the specific issues affect the person or organisation making the complaint.
  • Any relevant background information including prior actions or correspondence involving V/Line in relation to the issue.
  • The outcome desired by the person or organisation making the complaint.
Copies of all relevant documentary evidence supporting the complaint should also be attached to the complaint.

Time period for submitting complaints

Complainants should submit their complaint during the evaluation period and before the tender process is finalised, however a complaint may be submitted at any stage.

Written complaints should be received within five working days of the complainant’s initial contact with V/Line regarding the complaint.

Any delays impact the timeliness of V/Line’s response and any proposed remedial actions.

Contact and lodgement details for all documents pertaining to the complaint

The complaint should be addressed to:

Chief Procurement Officer
V/Line Procurement and Contract Management Office
GPO Box 5343
Melbourne VIC 3000

supplier.support@vline.com.au

The Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) will arrange for the complaint to be investigated and will provide a written response to the complainant on the outcome of the investigation.

Complaints management procedure

Background

A complaint is an issue or concern expressed by a supplier in relation to the process and probity applied by V/Line when carrying out a procurement activity.

Purpose

This procedure describes the complaints management process and provides suppliers with a mechanism to raise issues or concerns about how V/Line carries out a procurement activity.

In particular, this procedure:
  • Outlines the process used by V/Line in addressing a complaint.
  • Identifies the roles and responsibilities of the various parties.
  • Outlines the acceptable timeframes for the complaints management process.

V/Line is committed to addressing complaints made by suppliers in a timely fashion and in a fair and transparent manner. The following flowchart outlines how V/Line manages complaints and provides assurance that there are mechanisms in place to address supplier concerns consistently and with due care and integrity.

V/Line procurement complaint handling process diagram

As outlined above, upon receipt of a complaint by the CPO:
  • The complaint will be recorded on V/Line’s Complaints Register.
  • The CPO will within five days acknowledge receipt of the complaint and confirm that an officer within the Procurement and Contract Management Department that is free of any conflict of interest in regard to the subject matter of the complaint is available to manage the complaint. The officer allocated to manage the complaint must have the appropriate knowledge of procurement policies and relevant processes.  A key principle in managing complaints is that the investigation and subsequent response must be overseen by a person not involved in the subject matter of the complaint. If the complaint relates to an existing contract, the officer will follow the dispute resolution process outlined in the contract.
  • The complaint will be investigated and the officer will:
    • prepare a response
    • consider if the CPO should appoint an independent probity advisor
    • recommend that legal or other advice be sought.
  • The response must outline the avenue for escalating the matter further in the event that the complaint could not be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.

Acceptable grounds for complaints

Complaints generally relate to one or more of the following items:
  • Inappropriate application/breach of V/Line’s procurement policies and procedures.
  • Demonstrable Evaluation Panel bias in relation to selection of supplier awarded the contract and
  • Unfair collusion amongst bidders, compromising the equity of the tender process.
The listing above is an indicative list and is not intended to limit the grounds of the complaint.

Complaints must relate to a procurement process issue. Matters of improper conduct, corruption or fraud should be directed to the Executive General Manager - Enterprise Governance and Risk to be dealt with via other means.

Investigation and response timelines

  • All complaints are to be dealt with promptly and within an appropriate timeframe according to the complexity of the issues involved.
  • The timelines specified in the flowchart above must be complied with as a general rule and any variation must be agreed to by the CPO and notified to the complainant.
  • The Procurement and Contract Management Department will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within five working days and advise the complainant in writing of the estimated timeframe for a response.
  • Complaints that arise during the tender or tender assessment period will, where possible, be finalised prior to awarding the contract.

Complaint outcomes

The Procurement and Contract Management Department will investigate the circumstances of the complaint and take into account a range of advice before making a determination.

Outcomes include:
  • Continuing the current procurement process.
  • Ceasing to follow the current procurement process and commencing a new procurement process.
  • Endorsing the probity of the completed procurement process.
  • Resolving the matter to the satisfaction of both parties.
  • In instances where the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of both parties the complainant must within five days elect to escalate the matter to the Procurement Oversight Group.