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Article sent to councils on procurement practice and culture

21 May 2020

The Controller and Auditor-General John Ryan has published an article on his findings into local government.

In a letter to the chief executives of local government bodies, Mr Ryan said his auditors visited 21 councils to talk to them about how they carry out procurement.

Using insights from those visits, and from his Office’s other work on procurement, the article asks a series of questions about procurement practice and culture in an organisation.

“The questions are designed to help you think about whether procurement processes and procedures in your council are working effectively and whether they can be improved,” says Mr Ryan.

The topics the questions cover are:

  • good governance for procurement;
  • planning for significant capital projects;
  • conflicts of interest;
  • emergency procurement;
  • procurement capability and capacity;
  • procurement policies and training;
  • contract management; and
  • achieving broader outcomes through procurement.

Mr Ryan encourages the chief executives to reflect on the questions in the article and, where they see gaps in procurement at their council, they should implement the necessary changes to strengthen procurement processes and procedures.

The Office notes that each year councils spend more than $8 billion on goods and services to provide and maintain vital infrastructure, facilities, and services for their communities. Communities expect this spending to follow good procurement practices and deliver value for money. It says failure to deliver on these expectations goes to the heart of trust and confidence in the public sector.

Last updated on the 21st May 2020