The Auditor-General has issued a Better Practice Guide on purchasing in the Public Sector, aimed at ensuring the integrity of procedures and processes put in place to provide fairness and transparency in purchasing decisions.
Published under the title Fairness and Transparency in Purchasing Decisions: Probity in Australian Government Procurement
The Guide is designed to assist officials who conduct procurement activities in Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) agencies and relevant Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) bodies.
The Guide outlines a number of principles that provide the foundation for achieving probity in government procurement:
- compliance with the legal and policy framework applying to procurement decisions
- use of an appropriately competitive process
- fairness and impartiality
- consistency and transparency of process
- identification and management of conflicts of interest
- appropriate security and confidentiality arrangements
The Auditor-General states that the guide is not intended to provide prescriptive instructions to agencies, but to provide practical guidance, including tips for preparing a probity plan. The guide particularly focuses on large, high-value procurements that involve higher levels of risk.