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Auditor finds agencies still don’t understand confidentiality provisions

by Staff Writers •
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The Government’s policy is that agencies should not treat contracting information as confidential, unless there is a sound reason for doing so.

The latest report of the Auditor General finds there is still a high level of misreporting within Federal Government contracts.

The Auditor concludes this misreporting suggests “agencies continue to find it difficult to differentiate between confidentiality provision designed to protect information identified in the contract, and confidentiality provisions designed to protect information generated during the performance of the contract (such as reports).”

In the medium of 8 October 2007, we reported on the Australian National Audit Office findings concerning the number of confidentiality clauses in Federal contracts. In the 2007 report, ANAO reported the number of confidentiality clauses in contracts had generally declined; however, it found that the misuse of confidentiality provisions in contracts remains at a level for concern. The report concluded that it seems line staff within agencies do not adequately understand the new accountability framework surrounding government contracting.

ANAO considered more than 3, 000 contracts (valued at $9.4 billion) in six agencies in their 2007 report. It found 10 per cent of the contracts contained confidentiality provisions protecting information in the contract.

Intermedium's analysis of Department of Defence contracts (non military) for 2007-08 identified contracts worth more than $22m that contained confidentiality provisions.

Intermedium holds detailed contracts data for all Federal agencies since the 2003-04 financial year. This ICT data has analysed, “cleansed” and categorized. We can provide detailed data for individual agencies, suppliers or product categories. For more information, contact Intermedium.

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