Guidelines on using labour hire and professional services

We're reducing the use of labour hire and professional services such as consultancies to make VPS jobs more secure and build the internal capability of the VPS.

From July 2019, the following guidelines come into effect for government public service bodies and public entities that are mandated to comply with Victorian Government Purchasing Board (VGPB) policies:

These guidelines contain updated decision-making and approval requirements for labour hire and professional services use.

Who has to follow these rules

You have to follow these rules if you're a Victorian public service body or public entity that is mandated to follow VGPB policies (except for the exemptions below).

To find out if your organisation is mandated to follow VGPB policies, visit the VGPB Scope of Polices page and also check that none of the following exemptions apply:

  • special bodies per Section 6 of the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic)
  • exempt bodies per Section 4 of the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic)
  • any government body established under the Inquiries Act 2014 (Vic)

We encourage organisations that are not required to comply with these guidelines to implement them as good practice, where applicable.

When the new rules start

These guidelines come into effect from July 2019. Mandated entities must ensure they have transitioned to and are fully compliant with the new rules by 1 October 2019. 

In the interim period between 14 July 2019 and 1 October 2019, the following approval measures for labour hire and consulting engagements will apply for all mandated entities:

  • All requests to use labour hire must be approved by a Deputy Secretary (or equivalent) at a minimum.
  • All proposals to engage consultants must be approved by a Secretary (or equivalent).

More information on these interim measures can be found in the ‘Compliance with the Guidelines’ section of the new guidelines.

Contracts these guidelines apply to

These guidelines apply to all labour hire and professional services engagements made under:

  • the Staffing Services State Purchase Contract (SPC)
  • the Professional Advisory Services SPC
  • the Legal Services Panel SPC
  • the Marketing Services register
  • the eServices Panel

Application of service categories

These guidelines apply to an engagement even if it's with a provider that is not on a current SPC panel or register, if it applies to one of the service categories in the SPCs.


These guidelines don't apply to professional services to undertake, service or advise on built environment and infrastructure work, such as construction, infrastructure, engineering or architecture.

Other exemptions under the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic) are described in the guidelines.

Why we've introduced new rules

A 2018 review found that there has been a significant year-on-year increase in the use of labour hire and professional services in the Victorian Government.

We're committed to secure employment practices and building the internal capability of the VPS. To do this, we're challenging current thinking and practices around use of labour hire and professional services in the VPS. The goal is to change the culture and practices to:

  • reduce the use of external suppliers for certain kinds of contracts
  • build internal capability
  • support secure employment practices

Help with the guidelines

If you're uncertain about how to implement these guidelines or their applicability to your organisation or circumstances, speak to your organisation’s procurement team.

Department of Premier and Cabinet will be monitoring and supporting the transition to these new rules.

Reviewed 22 July 2019

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