Page 515 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022
understanding those circumstances where delegates have exercised the power of making a decision that differs from a tender evaluation team, and that data-gathering exercise will be happening and we will be looking forward to making some further reforms in response to recommendations which we have, of course, welcomed from the Auditor-General.
MR HANSON: Minister, since you have been the minister, how many contracts have been awarded that have not followed the results of the tender evaluation process and the recommendations of the panel.
MR STEEL: Well at this point in time, there is no specific requirement to report information on cases where delegates depart from a tender evaluation panel recommendation, so that is not information that is easily accessible. But we just had an Auditor-General audit that has looked at this issue and provided recommendations—systemic recommendations around procurement across the whole of ACT government—to address this issue. So we will be responding to the Auditor-General, specifically in relation to this matter.
Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, I have a point of order on relevance. He is talking about an Auditor-General’s report and about the future actions that this government is going to take. What I am saying is, specifically: Minister, how many times has this happened? It is a reasonable question. If he doesn’t have that information available, he can take it on notice.
MADAM SPEAKER: I think he has, in some way, answered it by saying that the information is not readily available.
MR STEEL: Madam Speaker, I have already said that we do not collect that information, essentially, through Procurement ACT, and there are over a thousand procurements that are undertaken each year across ACT government, so a very significant number. It would be incredibly resource-intensive to look at all of them and understand that.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MR STEEL: Having said that, we have said that there is a use in looking at a sample of those to understand better the decision-making process and what has been happening, in order to inform further improvement to our procurement processes.
Of course, the Auditor-General has already looked at this matter in relation to one procurement and, of course, it is open to them if they ever want to look at any other procurement as well and undertake a performance audit; that is their role and that would be up to them.
But following a review of Procurement ACT last year and the recommendations of the Auditor-General, we will certainly be undertaking a procurement reform project which will be looking at this issue and at how we can better monitor and understand the extent to which this is occurring, and, of course, making sure that across government, delegates are making decisions and properly documenting those