Procurement governance within the NSW Government will undergo significant changes, says NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce. Pearce has told Parliament that the NSW Government will take action on all seven recommendations made by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) following a comprehensive inquiry into the state’s procurement practices.
This means that the requirements the NSW Government has of tenderers are also likely to change.
“[The] report made seven recommendations on ways to address perceived corruption in New South Wales:
- first, establish a procurement leadership role in New South Wales;
- second, undertake a comprehensive review of the New South Wales Government approach to procurement;
- third, simplify the regulatory framework in New South Wales;
- fourth, align local government and State procurement policy;
- fifth, improve information, advice and support;
- sixth, build procurement competence; and
- seventh, oversee policy compliance.”
“Unlike the previous Labor Government, the O-Farrell Government is taking action on all those recommendations,” said Pearce.
The announcement comes in the lead up to the 2011-12 NSW Budget, which will be tabled on 6 September following a three month deferral to allow for a commission of audit into State finances.
Thus the true test of how seriously the Coalition government views the need for procurement reform will be scale of budget funding allocated to implementing the recommendations.
The NSW Government spends more than $2 billion on ICT procurement each year, and has repeatedly stated its intention to attract ICT business back to the state.
“Not only is corruption a serious criminal matter, but even the perception of corruption influences the willingness of companies to do business in New South Wales. That is why in the past 16 years companies have fled New South Wales to conduct their business in other States,” he told the Legislative Assembly.
“The Government is determined to fix these issues and to ensure that New South Wales is open for business,” he said.
An internal review of procurement practices has already been announced and the NSW Department of Financial Services (DFS) has approached the market for advisory services to assist it in the process.
The Minister also revealed to Parliament on Thursday 24 August that DFS had received almost 200 applications to be part of an industry panel advising the NSW Government on ICT policy.
The establishment of an ICT Advisory Panel was announced as part of broader reforms to the NSW Government’s ICT governance structure, and DFS invited expressions of interest from industry members and researchers on 4 August.
Successful applicants will be notified in the forthcoming weeks, but the Minister encouraged those who aren’t selected to stay in touch with the government.
“For applicants who are not accepted this first time, there will be plenty of opportunities to continue engagement with the New South Wales Government, specifically through the information and communication technology ministerial forum and information and communication technology project working groups.
“Moreover, as membership of the panel will be for an initial 12-month period, there will be an opportunity for others to join the group at a later stage through rotation of membership,” he said.
Amongst the field of 200 were applications from CEOs and CIOs from major IT companies, university Vice-Chancellors and industry group leaders.
“We realise that we cannot be the experts on everything,” said Pearce. “In information and communication technology, the private sector is more in tune with the direction of the market and is well placed to give advice on which technologies could assist government information and communication technology outcomes, and which ones are white elephants.”