Page 934 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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its procurement framework is up to date and effective since the start of this term. The Special Minister of State’s work on procurement reform has included overseeing a review of Procurement ACT’s operational performance, to identify any areas of improvement for the support and information provided during procurement processes. That work was already underway independently of, and prior to, the government’s response to this report.

It is important to recognise and commend the Education Directorate for acting quickly to make improvements. During the course of the audit, and whilst the government’s response was being finalised, the Education Directorate identified areas of improvement in its business practices. Immediate action was taken in response, and it is a normal and healthy part of responding to audit reports that directorates take action as soon as they practically can to make improvements.

In improving its processes, the Education Directorate has been working with Major Projects Canberra to progress the following actions: issuing stronger guidance and information on roles, responsibilities and authority, including communication protocols, the role of probity advisers and change management processes; streamlining records management protocols and practices to ensure the clear documentation of decision-making; strengthening engagement with tenderers and stakeholders that is enabled by clear communication protocols; and introducing targeted training and professional development to build capabilities in implementing the procurement framework.

The Education Directorate will take further action to ensure the probity of procurement processes and will fully implement the government’s response to the audit. This includes the specific consideration of probity management and the provision of additional independent probity advice and training for tender evaluation panels. The Education Directorate is committed to ensuring that in future procurements where delegates have not accepted or have amended the recommendations of the tender evaluation panel, those decisions will be fully documented, in accordance with the government’s response.

The government continues to work collaboratively across directorates to ensure that the recommendations of the Auditor-General result in improvements. The government takes seriously the obligations to conduct procurements in ways that maintain public confidence. The public servants undertaking procurement work deserve to have the very best guidance and support available. The changes made following this audit will help ensure that across government public servants are supported to meet the community’s high expectations of transparency and accountability.

This process has demonstrated the government’s willingness to accept scrutiny and to make improvements. The audit report shows clearly that the Education Directorate and Major Projects Canberra engaged openly and cooperatively with the Auditor-General from the beginning of this process. The response that the Special Minister for State and I are tabling today shows that the government engaged with this report and took concrete action in response.

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