26 September 2023

Audit finds DTA purchases short-circuited

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A performance audit into the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) procurement of information and communications services has found it to be ineffective.

In his report Digital Transformation Agency’s Procurement of ICT-Related Services, Auditor-General Grant Hehir said his Office examined nine DTA procurements from 2019–20 to 2020–21, with a combined reported value of $54.5 million.

“The DTA’s procurement of ICT-related services has been ineffective for the nine ICT-related procurements examined by the Australian National Audit Office ANAO),” Mr Hehir said.

“The DTA has established a procurement framework, but its implementation and oversight has been weak,” he said.

“The DTA has Accountable Authority Instructions and procurement policies and guidance that align with relevant aspects of the finance law.”

Mr Hehir found however that DTA had not been following its internal policies and procedures, and there were weaknesses in its governance, oversight and probity arrangements for procurements.

He said the Agency did not conduct the procurements examined by the ANAO effectively and its approach fell short of ethical requirements.

“None of these procurements fully complied with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs),” the Auditor-General said.

“The DTA did not conduct approach to market or tender evaluation processes effectively, and it did not consistently provide sound advice to decision-makers.”

Mr Hehir made eight recommendations to the DTA aimed at improving compliance with the CPRs and ensuring officials had a sufficient understanding of procurement requirements.

He also made a recommendation to the Australian Government that it improve the transparency of reporting of panel procurements by Australian Government entities.

The Auditor-General’s Report can be accessed at this PS News link and an 88-page PDF version at this link.

The audit team was Jennifer Eddie, Elizabeth Robinson, Sam Jones, Graeme Corbett, Grace Sixsmith, Christine Chalmers and Daniel Whyte.

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