October 29, 1996
Services Minister Kevin Minson today launched a guideline document on ethical buying for the public sector.
The Minister said `Ethical Standards in Government Buying' used everyday examples to help set a code of ethics in this area.
"The Western Australian Government's competitive tendering and contracting program has resulted in an unprecedented increase in working relationships between the public and private sectors," he said.
"Like all business partnerships, there needs to be a set of principles both sectors understand and agree to abide by.
"The community must feel confident of protection from unethical behaviour where their tax dollar is concerned.
"This means the onus is on both the public and private sector to be aware of what constitutes ethical behaviour."
To provide a foundation for answers to these questions, the Public Sector Standards Commission recently developed the WA Public Sector Code of Ethics.
This document addressed the key areas of justice, duty of care and setting an ethical framework for all Government agencies.
"Despite the support and acceptance of this document, its brief did not deal specifically in how individuals can ensure they know the ethics surrounding buying and contracting," Mr Minson said.
"'Ethical Standards in Government Buying' builds on the Code of Ethics providing a simple `how to do' guide for ethical buying practices.
"There are clear messages about standard ethical behaviour for all public sector staff and also for suppliers to Government.
"This type of behaviour should be demonstrated across the full range of buying activities, from calling tenders, evaluating tenders and awarding contracts, through to standard purchasing documents.
"Anything less is not acceptable."
Mr Minson said the document emphasised the behaviour which would ensure:
best value for money was obtained;
· accountability was achieved;
· tendering processes were transparent;
· conflict of interest was avoided; and -
· ethical risks were managed and monitored.
"The document includes case studies highlighting both what to do and what not to do in various buying situations," the Minister said.
"It also, along with another document, Guideline to Suppliers, provides a guide to the standards expected of suppliers to Government.
"The Government is placing heavy emphasis on relationships between buyers and suppliers and how we expect suppliers to Government to meet our commitment to best practice.
"Any idea that Government contracting is an easy way, on either side, to make a quick dollar at the expense of taxpayers will not be tolerated.
"We will certainly ensure that all the issues raised in both these important documents are given the utmost priority by both public sector buyers and private sector suppliers."
Mr Minson said the State Supply Commission would also want feedback on Ethical Standards in Government Buying, as it would ultimately be subject to improvement and updating.
Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9211