Defence Procurement Complaints Scheme

Defence has a fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory procurement complaints handling procedure. Defence manages all procurement complaints under the Defence Procurement Complaints Scheme (DPCS). The DPCS incorporates Defence's statutory obligations under the Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Act 2018 (the JR Act).

Defence seeks a mature relationship with Industry where each respects the others position and both commit to working towards mutually beneficial outcomes.

Issues arising during the tender process should, in the first instance, be directed to the contact officer identified in the tender documentation.

The DPCS investigates procurement complaints regarding procurement processes undertaken by Defence. In accordance with Commonwealth Procurement Rule 2.7, a procurement process begins when a need has been identified and continues through to the awarding and reporting of a contract.

Contractual disputes should be managed in accordance with the contract.

The information contained on this page relates to the process for submitting a complaint to Defence regarding a procurement process.

There are two types of procurement complaints that may be submitted:

  • A complaint regarding something that Defence proposes to do, or has done, during a procurement process, that does not satisfy the requirements for a JR Act complaint (a general complaint).;
  • A complaint under section 18 of the JR Act (a JR Act complaint).

JR Act Complaints

Who can make a JR Act complaint?

For the purposes of the JR Act, a supplier can submit a complaint. The JR Act defines a supplier as a person or a partnership of two or more persons that supplies or could supply goods or services.

What procurements does the JR Act apply to?

The JR Act does not apply to all procurements.

A JR Act complaint can only be submitted for a covered procurement. The following procurements not considered covered procurements:

  • Procurements valued below the relevant procurement thresholds (specified in paragraph 9.7 of the CPRs);
  • Procurements from standing offers under panel arrangements;
  • Procurements that are exempt from Division 2 in accordance with Appendix A of the CPRs; and
  • Procurements where, under paragraph 2.6 of the CPRs, Defence has applied a measure determined to be necessary for the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security, to protect human health, for the protection of essential security interests, or to protect national treasures of artistic, historic or archaeological value.

All other procurements are considered covered procurements.

Which CPRs does the JR Act apply to?

The contravention of any of the following CPRs will be considered a breach of the relevant/specified CPRs for the purposes of the JR Act: 


CPRs Paragraphs

Division 1

4. Value for money  
Third-party procurement 4.18
5. Encouraging competition  
Non-discrimination 5.4
7. Accountability and transparency in procurement  
Records 7.2
Notifications to the market 7.10, 7.13 – 7.15
Providing information 7.16 – 7.17
Reporting arrangements 7.18, 7.20
9. Procurement method  
Requirement to estimate value of procurement 9.3 – 9.6

Division 2

10. Additional Rules  
Additional Rules 10.1 – 10.2
Conditions of limited tender 10.3 – 10.5
Request documentation 10.6 – 10.8
Specifications 10.9 – 10.13
Modification of evaluation criteria or specifications 10.14
Conditions for participation 10.15 – 10.19
Minimum time limits 10.20 – 10.27
Late submissions 10.28 – 10.31
Receipt and opening of submissions 10.32 – 10.34
Awarding contracts 10.35 – 10.36

General Complaints

A general complaint is a procurement complaint that does not satisfy the requirements for a JR Act complaint.

A general complaint can be made about any aspect of the procurement process and can relate to any procurement activity.

How to lodge a complaint?

Suppliers can make a General Complaint or a JR Act Complaint by following the process outlined below.

Potential suppliers should raise the complaint with Defence, in writing to, immediately after becoming aware of an alleged breach of a relevant CPR, or upon forming a grievance or objection to something that Defence has done or proposed to do.

To assist in resolving the complaint in a timely manner, the written complaint should provide the following information.

Contact Details

Company Name
Telephone Number
Email address
Name and contact details (email address and phone numbers) of an individual who Defence can contact regarding the complaint

Information on the Procurement

Product or service being procured
United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC)
Relevant times and dates (i.e. issuance of tender/tender closing/contract award)


Whether the complaint is intended to be a complaint under the Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Act 2018
Provisions of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules that it is alleged have been breached (if this is a JR Act complaint) and how it is alleged that they have been breached
Detailed statement of all relevant events and facts in support of the complaint, including how the supplier is affected by the alleged breach
Relevant times and dates

Statement of form of relief requested

Remedy being sought


Any other information which will be of benefit to resolve the complaint including any correspondence or other evidence

Where to submit a Complaint

All JR Act complaints and all general complaints are to be emailed to the DPCS at:

A potential supplier can withdraw their complaint at any time by emailing

What happens once a Complaint has been submitted?

  • The DPCS will inform the potential supplier that the complaint has been received.
  • An Investigating Officer will be appointed to conduct the investigation into the allegations.
  • A determination will be made whether the complaint is a JR Act complaint or a general complaint. The DPCS may contact the supplier for additional information if required.
  • The potential supplier will be notified of the determination.
  • The Investigating Officer will investigate the complaint, prepare an Investigation Report and notify the complainant of the findings. A copy of the Investigation Report will not be provided to the person who has made the complaint.

Suspension of Procurements

If a supplier submits a complaint that is determined to be a JR Act complaint, the procurement will be suspended unless: a contract has already been awarded, if a Public Interest Certificate (PIC) has been issued for that procurement, or the potential supplier withdraws the complaint.

Where possible, Defence will advise affected suppliers that the procurement has been suspended.

If a potential supplier submits a complaint, that is determined to be a general complaint, the relevant procurement will not be suspended while the complaint is investigated. A general complaint will be treated consistently with paragraph 6.8 of the CPRs.

Public Interest Certificates

Defence may issue a Public Interest Certificate (PIC) if it considers that it is not in the public interest for a specified procurement to be suspended while a JR Act complaint is investigated. The Defence PIC notice page lists all PICs that have been issued, and contains further information on the methods of notification.

What is the role of the Investigating Officer?

The Investigating Officer will conduct an investigation to determine the facts relevant to the complaint.

In investigating a JR Act complaint, the Investigating Officer will investigate if the procurement was conducted in a manner consistent with the paragraphs of the CPRs, which the potential supplier has alleged have been contravened.

The investigation of a complaint is a comprehensive process. The Investigating Officer will review documentation relevant to the complaint. This can include: the approach to market, evaluation documents and correspondence regarding the procurement. The Investigating Officer may need to contact the individuals responsible for the procurement for further clarification. If necessary, the Investigating Officer may be required to consult with Defence Legal or potentially external legal providers.

The potential supplier will be advised of the findings on completion of the investigation.

The Investigating Officer does not make recommendations following the completion of their investigation report. The Investigating Officer is unable to provide a copy of the investigation report to the person who has made the complaint.

What is not part of the Investigating Officer’s role?

The Investigating Officer is unable to re-evaluate any response to an approach to market (ATM) or change any conclusion as to value for money in a particular procurement.

The Investigating Officer does not make recommendations following the completion of its investigation report. The Investigating Officer is unable to provide a copy of the investigation report to the person who has made the complaint.

When should the potential supplier expect to hear from the DPCS?

The DPCS will contact the potential supplier at the following times:

  • To acknowledge receipt of the complaint;
  • To inform the potential supplier whether the DPCS has determined the complaint is a general complaint or a JR Act complaint;
  • To request further information from the potential supplier, if required; and
  • To notify the potential supplier of the findings of the investigation.

What should the potential supplier do if it is unsatisfied with the outcome?

If the potential supplier is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, they can raise their concerns with the Australian Government Procurement Coordinator or Commonwealth Ombudsman.

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