Probity tips for your next procurement

What could possibly go wrong with your next procurement?

Most probity issues can be avoided by effective planning. Here are 7 probity issues that regularly arise at each stage of a procurement process that should be factored into your planning.

  1. Planning the process: at the outset you may start hiring consultants. What happens if it turns out later that the consultant you hired has a major conflict of interest and inappropriately influenced the process from the outset? A probity adviser will put in place conflict of interest procedures to avoid this and help you avoid asking those hard and sometimes awkward questions.
  2. Scoping the process: you may want to undertake detailed research on the market. What happens if your consultant conducts “research” activities with a potential tenderer that have the effect of providing that tenderer with an unfair advantage? A probity adviser can help you appropriately manage those exercises to obtain optimal outcomes that do not prejudice the probity of the process down the track.
  3. Determining the procurement method: the choice of procurement method is one of the most important decisions you can make. A probity adviser can ensure that the process is fair to everyone and as straight forward as possible.
  4. Prepare approach to the market: we have seen many overly onerous mandatory requirements that have resulted in unintended outcomes at the evaluation stage when a tenderer fails to comply with them. A probity adviser can help you avoid this as well as provide practical briefings and training, tailored to the relevant procurement and each individual’s role.
  5. Approach to the market: contact with tenderers during this phase of the process often needs to be overseen by a probity adviser as there is potential for bias. Probity advisers can be particularly useful structuring site visits.
  6. Evaluation of submissions: do you need to exclude a tenderer for a non-compliance? Appropriate advice on the evaluation criteria and logical assessment models can help you avoid having to make these types of decisions. If you need to exclude a tenderer from the evaluation process a probity adviser can provide you with comfort or provide other options. At the end of the process, the probity adviser can also promptly supply a clear, “no surprises”, written probity report which provides a compelling case for how probity was assured throughout the process.
  7. Management of the contract: you may be considering a sizeable variation to the contract with the successful tenderer during the term. You may wish to seek probity advice on these variations to avoid complaints from losing tenderers.

We have acted as probity advisers on a variety of processes including the procurement of goods and services, sale of property, and market sounding processes. No matter the nature of the process, the earlier you conduct procurement planning that specifically includes the assessment and management of probity risks, the better.

Upcoming eBriefs

We will be providing probity tips for each of the above 7 phases in more detail. To subscribe to this series, click the eBrief sign up tab on the website menu.

For more information contact:

Stephanie Lynch — Partner — Property & Government
(02) 6279 4398
stephanie.lynch@meyervandenberg.com.au

Athol Opas — Special Counsel — Corporate, Commercial & Government
(02) 6279 4468
athol.opas@meyervandenberg.com.au

Rachelle Hare — Senior Associate — Construction & Government
(02) 6279 4338
rachelle.hare@meyervandenberg.com.au