New rules for labour hire providers operating in the NSW public sector market, along with compliance software and data analytics opportunities, may result from recommendations in a report by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) released in January.
ICAC found that an ICT contractor had engaged in corrupt conduct at the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) and has made 15 recommendations. DFSI alerted ICAC to the matter and “has already significantly strengthened its control framework since becoming aware” of the issue, according to a spokesperson.
Some key recommendations from the report push for:
- The use of data analytics tools to identify risks on invoices;
- A system that captures and escalate red flags on procurement activities, such as multiple purchase orders for the same service provider, purchase orders which follow invoices or sit just below procurement framework thresholds; and,
- Internal business units within DFSI to be given responsibility for the management of its contingent labour hire workforce.
Of the 15 recommendations made by ICAC, one third of the recommendations pertain directly to process reforms concerned with the recruitment of contingent labour hire and supplier verification.
Since 2013, NSW has used the Contingent Workforce, SCM0007 scheme under the management of NSW Procurement for the recruitment of its contingent workforce needs. The scheme extends beyond ICT contractors to all contingent labour engaging with the state and allows new suppliers to register at any time.
However, a 2017 report by the Audit Office of New South Wales concluded that existing internal processes lacked diligent oversight on performance monitoring and often resulted in projects being over budget and overtime. The report concluded that the NSW Government’s use of contingent labour “was not informed by workforce planning at an agency level” and was not the best resourcing strategy in some instances.
In line with the finding from the 2017 audit, ICAC has also recommended that DFSI ensure that contractors are vetted corresponding to the risk that unlawful behavior might pose on a project.