ANAO’s focusing on providing increased transparency
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has tabled the performance audit of the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) procurement of ICT-related services in 2019–20 to 2020–21. The audit was not a review of the DTA’s whole-of-government digital sourcing responsibilities and, as such, the ANAO’s findings have no bearing whatsoever on our whole-of-government agreements, panels, marketplaces and BuyICT platform.
The DTA welcomes this review and takes seriously the ANAO’s focus on providing increased transparency over our internal procurement framework and practices with a view to ensuring contracts are managed effectively and value for money continues to be achieved.
The DTA accepts all identified opportunities for improvement and agrees with each of the eight relevant recommendations proposed in the review (1–4, 6–9).
The combination of these opportunities and work already underway in remediating the recommendations are vital in ensuring continuous improvement of the DTA’s procurement framework and supporting processes.
Remediation work undertaken by the DTA to date, and planned for the immediate future, includes:
Strengthened internal controls
- review of risk-management framework, including update of strategic risks and risk register
- update guidelines strengthening processes around potential fraud and probity breaches
- review of approach-to-market, tender-evaluation, and contract-management processes
- improved management of internal payment controls, with an internal audit to verify the effectiveness of these controls by March 2023
- implementation of register of declared interests for Senior Executive Service staff
- update of gifts and benefits policy, and online publication of gifts and benefits register.
Training and education
- mandate and scheduling of annual fraud awareness training for all staff
- training and education campaigns around finance and procurement processes, including approach to market, tender evaluation, declarations of interest and contract management
- review of e-learning modules to determine if updates and/or new content are required
- bi-annual training for SES staff on internal controls around declarations of interest
- training of relevant staff on internal payments system.
Where possible and appropriate, the DTA will work with the Department of Finance to leverage existing policies and processes to expedite remediation action.
As noted in the review, three of the nine procurements examined by the ANAO relate to the Australian Government’s urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic (myGov upgrade, COVIDSafe app development and COVIDSafe app enhancements). The pace of the Government’s response to the pandemic increased the risks involved in these procurements, particularly where they were undertaken on shortened timeframes or transferred from one entity to another.
The DTA has already set to work on addressing all areas identified for improvement in the review. It is my commitment that all relevant recommendations will be addressed in full.