26 September 2023

NCA audit finds money value missing

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A performance audit into whether the National Capital Authority’s (NCA) procurement activities complied with Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) and achieved value for money has found the Authority could not demonstrate it achieved value for money.

In his report Procurement by the National Capital Authority, Auditor-General Grant Hehir said procurement was core business to the NCA and it had been more than 13 years since the Authority had had a performance audit focused on it.

“The NCA’s insufficient use of open and competitive procurement processes, non-compliance with the CPRs and poor transparency and record keeping means it cannot demonstrate value for money across its procurement activities,” Mr Hehir said.

“The NCA makes insufficient use of open and competitive procurement processes,” he said.

“Where open tenders were conducted, it was common for request documentation to limit the extent of effective competition.”

Mr Hehir said that where suppliers were directly approached, the pool of potential tenderers was often limited to those previously engaged by the NCA, or known to the NCA or its advisers.

The Auditor-General said with respect to the assessment processes undertaken, just over half of the contracts were awarded to the candidate where documentation demonstrated that it offered the best value for money.

“The conduct of procurements was also not to a consistent ethical standard,” he said.

“Procurement decision-making has not been sufficiently accountable and transparent.

“Approval had been obtained by an appropriate delegate in most of the contracts examined.”

Mr Hehir said it was also common for there to be gaps in the records of the planning and conduct of procurements.

He made eight recommendations in total, seven to the NCA and one to the Department of Finance, aimed at improving the use of open and competitive procurement, and accountable and transparent decision-making.

The Auditor-General’s Report can be accessed at this PS News link and a 55-page printable version at this link.

The audit team was Tiffany Tang, Nicole Harrison and Brian Boyd.

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