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 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 (CY 2020), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) identified 2,026 individual contracts that met the requirements of Senate Order 13.

The Senate Order 13 requirements determine that the commitment amount for each individual contract may 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). 

As the NDIS continues to mature at full Scheme, there are now over 432,000 participants with approved plans as at 31 December 2020. Comparatively to this time last year, 31 December 2019, there were nearly 339,000 participants, causing the Scheme to grow by almost 94,000 (27.6%). This is a considerable achievement for the Scheme, with the majority of new plans created during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Scheme continues to grow, participant outcomes and the participant experience are at the forefront of the Agency’s focus. The introduction of the Participant Service Charter provides key metrics for the overall experience of participants when interacting with the Scheme, allowing the Scheme to measure its success against, and hold itself accountable to. Moreover, the Scheme continues to implement initiatives drawn from the Participant Service Improvement Plan, further improving the participant experience.

Senate Order 13 (January 2021)

For the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 (CY 2020), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA or ‘the Agency’) identified 2,026 individual contracts that meet the requirements of the Senate Order 13. 

In addition to the Agency’s publishing of total commitment value for each contract, as per the requirements of the Senate Order 13, the consideration paid under each contract is also included. The consideration paid within the listing represents expenditure under each contract for the reporting period. 

The Senate Order 13 only requires contracts which are valued at or over $100,000 (GST inclusive), and that also meet specific date requirements (during the reporting period), causing aggregated expenditure and total commitment values to differ from NDIA Financial Statements. 

To provider greater insight and transparency, the NDIA provides Table 1 (below) which places overall expenditure for contracts reportable under Senate Order 13 alongside actual Agency expenditure for the same reporting timeframe. For comparison purposes, Table 1 provides actual Agency expenditure for the categories relevant to the Senate Order 13 for the past three calendar years (CY).

In the table below:

  • MM is Murray Motion expenditure
  • AFE is Actual Financial Expenditure
Table 1: Overall expenditure for contracts reportable under Senate Order 13 alongside actual Agency expenditure for CY2020, CY2019 and CY2018
Expenditure category
(consideration paid)
1 Jan 2020 – 31 Dec 2020 (MM) % spend 1 Jan 2020 – 31 Dec 2020 (AFE) % spend 1 Jan 2019 – 31 Dec 2019 (AFE) % spend 1 Jan 2018 – 31 Dec 2018 (AFE) % spend
Temporary staffing and/or recruitment support $171,484,000 55 $197,879,000 55 $256,908,000 67 $253,088,000 71
Service delivery (LAC or ECEI) $51,789,000 17 $51,789,000 14 $27,196,000 7 $18,622,000 5
Call centre $29,756,000 10 $33,292,000 9 $25,370,000 7 $36,507,000 10
Consultancies $7,148,000 2 $9,711,000 3 $31,756,000 8 $23,549,000 7
Legal services $13,951,000 4 $17,470,000 5 $19,163,000 5 $7,318,000 2
Training development and management $1,091,000 0 $2,782,000 1 $4,602,000 1 $5,557,000 2
Translation and interpreting services $2,905,000 1 $6,996,000 2 $2,927,000 1 $1,468,000 0
Other $32,734,000 11 $39,278,000 11 $15,431,000 4 $10,335,000 3
Total $310,860,000 100 $359,197,000 100 $383,353,000 100 $356,444,000 100

It is important to note, the Senate Order 13 expenditure numbers will not reflect the aggregation of figures published within the report, as Table 1 provides values for a 12 month reporting period. 

 The Senate Order 13 listing provides expenditure figures for the six months prior to the end of the 2020 CY reporting period.

When interpreting Table 1 and the comments below it should be noted:

  • Aggregated expenditure numbers for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13 only reflect a subset of total Agency expenditure. 
  • The Agency’s actual expenditure for each reporting period will not directly align with expenditure categories in the Financial Statements as the expenditure categories shown within Table 1 reflect categories used within the Senate Order 13. 

Total amount

Over the past three calendar years, total Agency expenditure for categories relevant to the Senate Order 13, have remained similar moving from $356,444 million in 2018 to $359,197 million in 2020. 

Within the CY2020, the aggregate of consideration paid under the reportable contracts represented $310.9 million. 

Temporary Staffing and/or Recruitment Services

For the CY2020, $171.5 million was paid for temporary staff and/or contractor services for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13.

The decrease in total Agency expenditure reflects the NDIA’s continued initiative to be less reliant on temporary labour and contracting staff. Transitioning from temporary labour to APS employed staff has enabled greater Agency knowledge retention, development of talent capability and shaping of a permanent workforce.

However, temporary labour and contracting staff allows the Agency to quickly shape the characteristics of its workforce, increasing/decreasing staffing levels as required, and will continue to be a feature of the Agency as it responds to changing participant needs.

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

$51.8 million was paid under services contracts within CY2020 in the category of Local Area Coordination (LAC) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Partners for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13.. This represents expenditure on essential on-the-ground services for participants.

The increase in total expenditure reflects the Agency’s response to the COVID 19 pandemic, ensuring a continuity of care for participants throughout the 2020 calendar year.

Contact Centre

In CY2020, consideration of $29.8 million was paid for the provision of contact centre services for participants and providers for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13. 

Inclusive within these costs is the webchat feature, introduced at the end of 2019, which allows call centre representatives to manage multiple queries at the same time, increasing the responsiveness of the Agency. Notably, this is displayed with 98.5% of the over 11,000 webchat enquires received during the quarter being answered within 10 seconds.

The Agency has also created a COVID 19 specific hotline to help participants get information fast and resolve any queries they may have.


During the 2020CY under reportable contracts, the NDIA paid $7.1 million to consultants for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13 to undertake multiple projects to define the Agency’s future program of work and review current pricing strategies, including the re-focussing of Agency resources to be front-line focussing (Boston Consulting) and the Supported Independent Living review (Deloitte).

The NDIA continues to focus on building its internal capability to reduce the reliance on consultants, which is borne out in the Agency’s significant reduction in total consultancy expenditure compared with previous calendar years.

Legal Services

$13.9 million was expended on legal services in the 2020 calendar year, for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13.

Total Agency expenditure has decreased from the 2019 CY to the 2020 CY reporting periods. 

The decrease in legal expenditure is reflective of the Agency’s continued effort to reduce the cost of legal advice, with new streamlined process building efficiencies into current work practices.

Training Development and Management

In CY2020, $1.1 million was spent on external providers to support NDIA staff training for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13. 

Training for NDIA staff included disability specific learning and support from other Commonwealth agencies and departments.

Translation and Interpreting Services

$2.9 million was spent to help participants receive information in languages other than English for contracts reportable under the Senate Order 13.

These services included Braille translations and Auslan interpreting services during the 2020 calendar year.


The ‘other’ category covers a range of Agency expenditure, including software services, expenses associated with leases, storage and warehousing, and vehicles and insurance. 

These contracts include essential infrastructure spending associated with the roll-out of the NDIS across the nation. 


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
1 March 2021