A recently released report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has flagged the need for greater attention to security issues when managing contracts for external suppliers who provide staff in secure positions.
The report is based on an audit of four federal government agencies as well as the Attorney-General’s Department, who manage the Protective Security Manual (PSM).
“Overall the ANAO concluded that the audited agencies were effectively managing security risks during the procurement process. However the audit identified scope to improve the management of security risks once contractors have been appointed.”
Flagged areas for potential improvement include:
- Improved security training at the commencement of contracts, with training updates over the life of the contract.
- Improved monitoring of contractor adherence to security requirements in contracts.
- Reassessment of security risks either when contractual circumstances change substantially, or when contracts are extended beyond their original life.
There a number of potential implications for vendors. Changes could be made to model government procurement procedures, contract templates, and procedures for contract extensions. In each case they are likely to pay greater attention to formalising security roles and responsibilities. There is also likely to be greater attention to managing performance indicators for security issues over the life of each contract.