Local Government Procurement

While all LGs had procurement policies and procedures, they are not always effectively and consistently used

All LGs had policies and training in place to support staff in the procurement process. However, we found examples where LG procurement activity did not comply with their own policies, either because staff did not understand the policy requirements, or the policy did not meet the LG’s needs. This included instances where the purchasing method used did not comply with the LG’s own policies:

  • 5 of the 8 LGs had instances of staff not seeking and recording quotes in line with their own policies
  • 2 LGs had purchases that should have gone to tender, but did not.

LGs do not always purchase in line with their own policies

We found 23 purchases across 5 LGs, one of which had 8 instances where staff did not obtain quotes or failed to record them in accordance with their policies. Seeking and recording quotes promotes open and effective purchasing. When LGs do not comply with their own policies it reduces the likelihood they will get value for money and increases the potential for misappropriation of funds.

We also identified 2 purchases at 2 LGs that should have gone to tender, but did not. One LG sought quotes for the purchase from a number of suppliers, but did not tender. The other accepted a quote from a single supplier. Neither process met the tender, or exemption requirements under the Regulations. Tendering for high value purchases supports LGs in understanding the market and encourages open and effective competition for suppliers.

All LGs had procurement policies but there is opportunity to improve

All 8 LGs we reviewed had purchasing policies. At the time of our audit, 1 LG had a high level policy which did not meet the requirements of the Regulations. The LG has since updated its policy to meet requirements.

LGs should review their policies to ensure things like purchasing thresholds and quote requirements reflect current needs. In doing this LGs demonstrate they meet regulatory requirements and their policies are fit for their purpose. The issues identified above, around non-compliance with policy, also highlight an opportunity for LGs to review the appropriateness of their policies. Non-compliance can indicate a lack of understanding by staff, or that policies no longer meet the needs of the LG.

LGs provided staff with procurement training

All 8 LGs provided procurement training to staff. Three LGs delivered procurement training programs that included both induction and set refresher sessions. We found the training content to be sound as it not only covered policy and legislative requirements, process and procedures, but also provided essential context around procurement compliance and probity.

The other 5 LGs provided training at induction, through on-the-job activities or as a result of policy updates. We found this training covered policy requirements, but provided less context around procurement risks and individual accountability. These LGs also lacked a clear approach to providing refresher training.

The Corruption and Crime Commission’s 2015 Report on Misconduct Risk in Local Government Procurement[1] (CCC report) identified inadequate training as one of the risks common to procurement related misconduct in LGs. Structured training and regular refresher training helps LGs manage this risk and reduce the number of instances of non-compliance with LG policies.

[1] Corruption and Crime Commission. 2015. Report on Misconduct Risk in Local Government Procurement.

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