Senate Order 13 for Entity Contracts

Senate Order 13 requires that, twice a year, Commonwealth entities publish details of individual contracts with a total value of $100,000 (GST inclusive) or more.

For the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 (FY19/20), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) identified 2,291 individual contracts that met the requirements of Senate Order 13.

The Senate Order 13 requires that the commitment amount for each individual contract can cover multiple years, with a high degree of unevenness in the period covered. For instance, it might be one, two or more years, with significant disparity in the start and end dates. On its own, information in such a format does not provide insight on a specific period, nor can it be easily added or compared because of the various timeframes that are covered. 

The information provided in the Senate Order 13 should be considered in the context of significant growth in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

Notably, the number of people with disability benefiting from the Scheme has grown by over 105,000 (37%) in the past year, with almost 392,000 participants as at 30 June 2020, up from 286,015 as at 30 June 2019.

Over 175,568 are now receiving disability supports for the first time. This growth, and the completion of the nationwide roll-out, has been achieved by maintaining a dedicated focus on delivering an improved experience for participants, while continuing to recognise that more can and must be done. 

Senate Order 13 (August 2020)

For the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 (FY19/20), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) identified 2,291 individual contracts that meet the requirements of the Senate Order 13.  

To provide greater insight, the NDIA provides details on the consideration paid for each contract in the current period, as well as the commitment for each contract over multiple years, as required by the Senate Order 13. 

Because the consideration paid amount is reported only for contracts at or over $100,000 (GST inclusive), the Senate Order 13 reports differ from the NDIA’s Financial Statements, both overall and by expenditure category.

Table 1 below provides additional information on the Senate Order 13. It aggregates the individual contracts, providing not just the overall amount paid for contracts over $100,000, but also the amounts paid in each category.  For comparison purposes, the Table provides information for each of the past three financial years (FY).

Table 1: Consideration paid for individual contracts over $100,000 for FY17-18, FY18-19 & FY19-20
Expenditure category
(consideration paid)
1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020 % spend 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2019 % spend 1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018 % spend
Temporary staffing and/or recruitment support $162,790,566.96 55.3 $141,924,898.32 55.1 $72,331,875.78 40.5
Service delivery (LAC or ECEI) $39,532,924.77 13.4 $30,534,263.32 11.9 $27,495,113.64 15.4
Call centre $34,305,850.71 11.7 $25,997,068.46 10.1 $2,085,310.12 1.2
Consultancies $5,667,817.27 1.9 $33,002,892.90 12.8 $33,541,011.22 18.8
Legal services $17,680,298.05 6.0 $8,776,975.43 3.4 $4,273,255.41 2.4
Training development and management $1,252,494.21 0.4 $1,073,123.87 0.4 $2,104,062.26 1.2
Translation and interpreting services $1,116,945.62 0.4 $269,911.59 0.1 $543,767.66 0.3
Other $32,044,657.79 10.9 $15,825,646.56 6.1 $36,296,997.42 20.3
Total $294,391,555.39 100 $257,404,780.46 100 $178,671,393.51 100

The following comments and caveats should be noted in interpreting the Table above and in relation to the Senate Order 13 more generally. 

Total amount

Over the past three financial years, the total spend on contracts covered by the Senate Order 13 has increased from $178.7 million to $294.4 million, with an increase of $36.9 million in the past year. Over the three year period, the number of participants in the Scheme grew from 89,610 to 391,999.   

Within the FY19/20, the aggregate of consideration paid through contracts covered by the Senate Order 13 represented $294.4 million or 19.8 percent of the Agency’s actual total operating expenditure.

Temporary Staffing and/or Recruitment Services

For the FY19/20, under contracts covered by the Senate Order 13 criteria, $162.8 million was paid for temporary staff and/or contractor services.  

The use of temporary and contract staff has assisted the Agency deal with the variability that exists in the demands on the Agency, including during the Agency’s COVID-19 response and ongoing transformation initiatives, including significant investment in digital services.

The number of contract staff has declined over the past twelve months as the number of APS staff has increased.

Service Delivery (Local Area Coordination or Early Childhood Early Intervention Partners)

$39.5 million was paid under services contracts within FY19/20 in the category of Local Area Coordination (LAC) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Partners. This represents expenditure on essential on-the-ground services for participants. 

The expenditure for FY19/20 does not account for the total expenditure in this category as changes to procurement practice, have facilitated the movement of some providers from providing services under contracts to the deployment of grants which better reflects the insurance principles of the Scheme. 

Caution must be exercised in drawing conclusions from Senate Order 13 data based on a year-on-year comparison. This also has implications for year on year aggregate comparisons.

Contact Centre

In FY19/20, consideration of $34.3 million, was paid for the provision of contact centre services for participants and providers. Prior to FY17/18, the Department of Human Services (now Services Australia) provided contact centre services for the NDIA. The amounts paid to the Department of Human Services for these services are not included in this table due to the legal relationship between DHS and NDIA.

Since December 2019, the provision of call centre services has included webchat as a new communication channel option for participants, carers, providers and the general public. Over 10,400 webchat requests were received across the June 2020 quarter with 99 per cent of chats being responded to within 10 seconds.


In FY19/20, in line with the Senate Order 13, the NDIA paid $5.7 million to consultants for specific service design and transformation projects, including Improving the Agency’s Early Childhood Early Intervention Approach (Nous) and Operational Guidelines Improvement Strategy (Deloitte). 

The NDIA’s focus on reducing the use of consultants and increasing the capability of its own staff is evident in the significant reduction in annual spend in the consultancy category for FY19/20. 

Legal Services

In FY19/20, in line with the Senate Order 13, the NDIA spend on legal services was $17.7 million. The legal spend has increased since the prior year, in large measure reflecting additional costs associated with preparing for various Royal Commissions, as well as supporting participants at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), in line with the NDIA’s commitment to being a model litigant. 

Training Development and Management

Under the Senate Order 13 criteria, $1.3 million was spent on external providers to support NDIA staff training in FY19/20. This included work undertaken to improve internal eLearning resources and induction processes for new staff joining the Agency. 

Translation and Interpreting Services

In FY19/20, $1.1 million was spent to help participants receive information in languages other than English, for Braille translations, and Auslan interpreting services. 


The ‘other’ category covers a range of Agency expenditure, including software services; expenses associated with leases; storage and warehousing; vehicles and insurance. These contracts include essential infrastructure spending associated with the rapid roll-out of the NDIS across the nation. By the end of FY19/20, the NDIA had 188 sites throughout Australia.   


The NDIA does not report consideration paid in relation to grants in the Senate Order 13 reporting program. 

The NDIA does not report consideration paid in relation to property leases in the Senate Order 13 reporting program in order to fulfil its commercial obligations with relevant suppliers.

This page current as of
8 October 2020