Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    Issues raised by Auditor General being addressed: Minister

    5/04/2000 3:54 PM

    Works and Services Minister Rob Johnson said issues raised in the Auditor General’s reports on software contracts were already being addressed.

    Mr Johnson welcomed the reports as part of good management practice but said many of the issues identified by the Auditor General were already the subject of measures designed to enhance the Government’s contracting environment.

    Last week, Mr Johnson announced a raft of major reforms to Government contracting as part of a review of the State Supply Commission Act.

    The SSC, for example, had been given a new mandate to work more closely with Contract and Management Services and the Department of Commerce and Trade to enhance the areas of contracting, small business and regional issues.

    “Under these and other initiatives already underway, we will strengthen the contracting environment and continue to deliver value-for-money services to the people of Western Australia,” Mr Johnson said.

    “This is in line with good management practice and will ensure that contracting continues to work for the benefit of the State.”

    Mr Johnson said the State Supply Commission had already engaged a consultancy firm to conduct a ‘health check’ of the procurement system across a selection of agencies.

    He said the audit would assess risk-management mechanisms and internal audit compliance activities within agencies, their functions, and the skill base of officers responsible for contracting work.

    In his report, the Auditor General said agencies had to ensure that responsibility for on-going management and monitoring of software contracts was clearly assigned.

    Mr Johnson said one of the key recommendations of the State Supply Commission Act review was that full devolution of contracting would not occur until agencies had established a rigorous risk-management and competency framework.

    Other recommendations included that the existing State Tenders Committee take on a wider role to review recommendations and a Process Review Panel be established to handle complaints.

    The Minister said he took issues raised by the Auditor General seriously and while the reports represented a limited sample of agency contracting activity, they collectively demonstrated scope for improvement.

    In addition to the measures outlined in the State Supply Commission Act review, a number of other initiatives have been formulated in response to the Auditor General reports. These include that:

    Contract and Management Services and the State Supply Commission jointly develop new guidelines on the management of software contracts;
    • the SSC continue to scrutinise requests for exemption from tender. In future, all contracts awarded without competition above $20,000 will be published on the Government Contracting Information Bulletin Board;
    • the SSC develop guidelines for internal audit sections within agencies; and -
    • CAMS increase its professional development program to target areas of weakness identified by the Auditor General.

    Mr Johnson said CAMS had been charged with pushing the contracting and training agenda forward. Significantly, courses in contracting and procurement were already available at Curtin University and TAFE colleges.

    “The contracting landscape has changed very rapidly over the past few years with the onset of new technology,” Mr Johnson said.

    “The Auditor-General’s reports highlight the importance of a skilled workforce in dealing with these changes and the Government is actively supporting opportunities for public sector staff in this area.”

    Media contact: Fran Hodge (08) 9481 3244