What if there is no tender for my services? The unsolicited proposal.

I have been approached by organisations wanting to sell a project, product or service to the government that is outside government procurement processes. For instance, one client had a software application that streamlined government business processes. The mechanism for approaching government outside the normal procurement process is to submit what is known as an unsolicited proposal.

Government-initiated procurement

Government-initiated procurement is the most common way for governments to procure goods and services. It involves a competitive tender process where companies bid for the opportunity to provide goods or services. This aims to  get good value for money and be fair to all participants.

Non-government initiated procurement

Sometimes, private individuals, companies, or non-profit groups have projects or services that are outside the normal government procurement processes, but can still bring value. To be able to sell the project or service to government they can make an unsolicited proposal.

What is an unsolicited proposal?

An unsolicited proposal is an approach to government from a proponent to deal directly with the government over a commercial proposition, where the government has not requested the proposal. This may include proposals to build  or finance infrastructure, provide goods or services, or undertake a major commercial transaction.

All Australian governments at both Federal and state level have processes in place to accept these proposals. They are also known as market-led proposals or exclusive transactions.

NSW—unsolicited proposals


South Australia—unsolicited proposals


ACT—unsolicited proposals


Tasmania—unsolicited proposals


WA—market-led proposals


Victoria—unsolicited proposals


Queensland—exclusive transactions


Principles for assessing proposals

When assessing proposals, the government wants to make sure the procurement process is fair, open, and aligned with the public interest. They follow specific principles:

  • Impartiality—treating everyone equally
  • Accountability and transparency—being open about decisions
  • Managing conflicts of interest—avoiding situations that could create bias
  • Confidentiality—protecting sensitive information
  • Value for money—ensuring they get the best deal

Uniqueness of the offering

To be able to adhere to these principles the government is only willing to consider proposals that are truly unique and innovative. The government will only negotiate directly with the proposer if the goods or services are truly unique and offer exceptional value. Both the idea and the group behind it need to be considered unique for this to happen.

A proponent with personnel holding superior expertise or qualifications is not sufficient for the government to justify bypassing an open tender. For example, a proposal to deliver niche healthcare services to a local community would need to prove the skills could not be procured elsewhere.

Commercial considerations

The government understands that the proposer should benefit from their idea; get a fair return on their involvement; and have their intellectual property rights protected.

Contact us

Contact Madrigal Communications if you need assistance with your proposal.