New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Suppliers Panel

The NZSL Board is establishing a NZSL Suppliers Panel (the Panel).

To apply to be on the NZSL suppliers panel, please vist the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS), link provided below.  Applications close on 15 January 2021.  


NZSL translations of the documentation:

RfP Response Form

RfP document

RfP checklist


Frequently Asked Questions


The NZSL Board was established by Cabinet in 2015 to maintain and promote NZSL, progress priorities for the language and to support NZSL initiatives, so that Deaf NZSL users can participate fully in New Zealand society as outlined in the NZSL Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Board does this by providing strategic direction and expert advice on NZSL to government. This includes making recommendations each year for allocation of funding from the NZSL Fund, totaling $1.645m pa each year, to support the strategic maintenance and promotion of NZSL.

There remains a high risk that NZSL will remain an endangered language in decline.

Use of the NZSL Fund:

  • aligns with Office for Disability Issues and Ministry of Social Development business objectives for accessible services
  • helps achieve long-term strategies and goals for inclusion
  • fits with government policy objectives for wellbeing.

It directly aligns with the NZSL Strategy (2018-2023) and contributes across the NZSL Strategy’s five language planning priorities:

  • Acquisition: The learning of the language by children and adults.
  • Use/Access: The ability to use a language in any or all domains of society, including within whanau.
  • Attitude: The beliefs and opinions of language users and others towards that language.
  • Documentation: The systematic recording of language use for research and reference.
  • Status: How a language is regarded by its users and others.

Why is the Panel being established?

What is a Suppliers Panel?

  • A Suppliers Panel is a pre-approved list of suppliers that can be contracted for specific pieces of work being commissioned.
  • This Procurement Panel becomes a list of pre-approved suppliers to reduce the need for complex procurement processes.
  • The NZSL Panel will be a pool of approved suppliers that are available to be selected for the future commissioning of Sign Language consultancy or professional services commissioned by the NZSL Board.
  • Membership of this closed panel of suppliers can be reviewed annually.

Why does the NZSL Board need a Suppliers panel?

  • The NZSL Panel is being established to support NZSL Board investment of the NZSL Fund (total $1.645m pa).
  • The NZSL Board seeks to reduce the amount of work required (‘compliance cost’) for themselves and for suppliers in the commissioning process.

What are the benefits of a procurement panel for the NZSL Board?

  • Commissioning should be quicker and easier.
  • Strengthened trust and transparency across the sector.
  • Opportunities to support building NZSL supplier capability.

What are the benefits of a procurement panel for panel members?

  • Less work required to submit proposals and win contracts. Commissioning should be quicker and easier.
  • Strengthened trust and transparency in buyer/supplier relationships.
  • Notification of contract opportunities.

What does the panel mean for the NZSL Fund community grants?

  • The new process will apply to strategic work that the NZSL Board wishes to commission in line with its purpose. This may be for:
    • longer-term and high cost strategic work that requires a contract, such as NZSL Week, the maintenance of the Online NZSL Dictionary and projects to grow the quality of NZSL teaching and learning.
    • targeted work identifed by the Board.
    • The NZSL Fund community grants process will continue unchanged. The next rouond for coomunity grant applications will start in March 2021.

How do I get on the panel?

How do I get involved?

  • ODI will advertise the opportunity to become involved through alerts on our website, the NZSL Board Facebook page and via direct contact with previous suppliers.
  • The alerts will direct interested businesses, organisations or individuals to the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS) site where they will be able to apply to be included on the Panel.
    • All interested suppliers will be asked to submit evidence of specialist knowledge, skills, previous history, capacity and price.

Who can apply to be included in the panel?

  • The NZSL Board is interested in the following groups:
    • established suppliers, buseinesses or individuals, with extensive history in service provision
    • NZSL Teaching organisations
    • community organisations and advocates
    • universities
    • new suppliers entering market.

What is the NZSL board looking for?

  • We are seeking suppliers with the following skills:
    • Proven track record of effective client partnerships.
    • Understanding of public sector business (and approach to partnering with us)
    • Understanding of working alongside staff and stakeholders and the Deaf Community
    • Expertise in NZSL, research, projects and the Deaf Community
    • Strong desire and a willingness to help build leadership capability to improve services for New Zealanders.
    • Expertise and experience in planning and implementing projects and/or research
    • The key objective of this procurement is to support a range of projects to achieve the outcomes of the NZSL Strategy (2018-2023).
    • The services we want to cover under the panel are listed below. Suppliers will identify the services they wish to offer:
      • Research and reports
      • Service & workshop design and delivery
      • Adhoc services 
  • The NZSL Board is also interested in collaboration between suppliers to help build capability as well as quality of outcomes. 
  • The NZSL Board wants more focus on youth, employers, accessible services, and Deaf-friendly environments and events.

What is the selection process?

  • An open market engagement will be managed via GETS:
    • An advance notice in English and NZSL will be released on GETS, and via an email to known potential suppliers.
    • The Request for Proposal (RFP) will be released on GETS and written responses with references will be requested. A Response template will be provided.
    • Responses will be shortlisted, and shortlisted suppliers will be invited to attend an interview with the panel. In addition, the panel may request site visits to short-listed suppliers’ premises.
    • Note: Suppliers need to pre-register with GETS in order to be able to respond to the tender.
    • A team will be involved in the evaluation of bids and recommending the preferred suppliers.
    • The Evaluation Panel will determine a shortlist of Respondents who will be asked to provide business references and may be asked for an interview by the Evaluation Panel. A due diligence process will also be completed.
    • Once supplier contracts have been awarded, Secondary Procurement processes will be undertaken to allocate work:
      • Project briefs will be outlined with requests for quotes or pricing for each opportunity.
      • We will then assess the proposals and select the supplier that that best meets the requirements and offers value for money.

What are the criteria for members to be on the NZSL Panel?

  • Each supplier must meet the all of the pre-conditions before its bid will be considered for evaluation on its merits. Suppliers must have staff/contractors who are able to communicate and deliver in NZSL, and comply with the:
    • SLIANZ Code of Conduct
    • SLIANZ Code of Ethics
    • NZSLTA Code of Conduct
    • Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights
    • Suppliers must also meet requirements for registration as a MSD Payee.
    • The remaining proposals will then be evaluated on their:
      • Understanding of the requirements to respond innovatively.  Understanding of public sector business (and approach to partnering with us) working alongside staff, stakeholders and the Deaf Community.
      • Capability – their depth of experience and understanding of NZSL, research, projects and Deaf community. Track record in delivering similar services.
      • Capacity – their availability of experienced people with the capacity and capability to effectively apply proven tools, models, methodologies and processes.
      • Suppliers may have new and innovative ways to deliver against the specifications. The evaluation panel will consider alternative future proposals on this basis.
      • Suppliers are encouraged to describe how they propose working with (i.e. collaborating) others to contribute to sharing deliverables.

Does it cost to join the panel?

  • No application fee is required.

What is the proposed timeline? When will things happen?

  • RFP advertised on GETS                                             20 November 2020
  • Last date for supplier questions                                  16 December 2020
  • Last date for agency to answer questions                    18 December 2020
  • RFP closing date                                                        21 December 2020
  • Shortlisted suppliers invited for presentations              12 January 2021
  • Supplier Presentations                                               15 January 2021
  • Advise bidders of outcome                                           5 February 2021
  • Contract signed                                                         25-26 February 2021
  • Contract award notice published on GETS                    26 February 2021
  • Contract start date                                                      1 March 2021

[From this point, commissioning via the Panel will start.]

Joining and leaving

Can organisations join the panel later?

  • The panel will be an open panel for service so if you do not qualify to join the panel at this time you can join during the biennial refresh. This will be advertised on GETS.

Can organisations leave the panel?

  • The panel will be opened every two yeara.  At that time you can leave the panel.

How does a supplier panel work?

How does it work when a contract opportunity comes up?

  • Short-listed suppliers will be offered a contract for services based on MSD’s standard terms and conditions. This means they can be included on the NZSL Panel.
  • The NZSL Panel will be given opportunities to bid for work via a secondary procurement process in the form of a direct source, Request for Quote (RFQ) or any other approved procurement process.
    • Direct Appointment: For assignments with an anticipated total project value up to $250k the purchaser may choose to negotiate a price with a single panellist
    • Competitive basis: For assignments with an anticipated total project value over $250k a request for proposal (Secondary) or a Request for quote (RFQ must be sought from two or more panellists. The successful panelist should be the one which has the right level of expertise, can offer the best value for money and can deliver on time
    • Hourly Rate: Whenever possible a process should be agreed before any work commences. For urgent work the service may appoint a panel member based on the fixed maximum hourly rates outlined on their price card.
    • New intellectual property arising as a result of the contract will be the property of MSD.

How do panel members hear about opportunities?

  • They will be emailed directly by ODI, acting as Secretariat for the NZSL Board.

Can organisations submit responses for contract offers if they are not on the panel?

  • No. However, if no satisfactory supplier can be found within the Panel, the NZSL Board may work with suppliers outside of the Panel.

How will the community know who is winning contracts?

  • The NZSL Board will continue to report on the ODI webpages to provide updates on alloation of the NZSL Fund.

Tell us what you think

Page last updated: