26 September 2023

ICAC to test how PS handles grants

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The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is to examine how South Australia’s public authorities administer grants following the responses of letters sent to authorities by ICAC Commissioner, Ann Vanstone

According to Commissioner Vanstone, the volume of grants administered exceeded expectations as did the various forms taken and the level of complexity involved.

“The responses we received highlighted the variation, even within a single agency, in how grants programs are initiated, developed, implemented and managed,” Commissioner Vanstone said.

“The arrangements span open competitive and merit based programs to strategically targeted invitation only programs and ad hoc grants,” she said.

“In view of the volume and complexity of grants activity occurring within the public sector, the Commission will progress the evaluation in stages and produce a series of discrete reports.”

She said the Commission would first turn its attention to the administration of commercial, investment, research and entrepreneurial grants schemes.

“These schemes, which are aimed at attracting investment and encouraging commercial opportunity in the State, are at risk of corruption because they involve significant financial incentives,” Commissioner Vanstone said.

“The Commission will specifically evaluate the practices, policies and procedures of the Chief Executives of the Department for Trade and Investment and the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science as they relate to the administration of grants,” she said.

“I have written to the Chief Executives of both Departments. I plan to report on their programs in the coming months.”

ICAC’s Commissioner said her intention was to conduct the evaluation by public inquiry with information regularly uploaded to the Commission’s website.

Commission Vanstone’s earlier statement relating to the intention can be accessed to this PS News link.

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