• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

ACT Integrity Commission Calls on Builders and Construction Industry to Participate in Suspicious ACT Government Procurement Processes | Canberra time

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The ACT’s corruption watchdog has called on the construction industry to report any misconduct in ACT’s public procurement processes after an audit identified problems in the way a contract was awarded for the modernization of a primary school. The Integrity Commission is considering an investigation into the contracting process for the Campbell Primary School modernization project, after the Auditor General found significant shortcomings in the way its tender was handled . Integrity Commissioner Michael Adams QC has called on companies in the design, building and construction sectors to report their suspicions about public procurement processes to the commission. “Companies which have tendered for public contracts are encouraged to contact the Commission when they reasonably suspect that an act of corruption has occurred or is occurring in public contracts or in relation to any aspect of the operations from the ACT public sector that they have been involved with. We want to hear from you,” Adams said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. The procurement process for the Campbell Elementary School campus upgrade lacked probity and bidders were not treated fairly, impartially and consistently, according to the damning report of the ACT Auditor General at the end of from last year. The Integrity Commission believes that the shortcomings identified by the Auditor General warrant “a review of the evidence gathered by the Auditor General to determine whether an investigation by the Commission into the procurement process in this matter is warranted”. In July 2019, the ACT government launched a tender for the construction of new buildings on campus to accommodate 450 students, including a canteen, STEM and small group program facilities, landscaping and renovation from the school hall. Manteena was identified by two bid evaluation teams in three separate reports as the preferred bidder. The Canberra-based company consistently scored higher against the weighted review criteria and offered a lower price. Despite this, Lendlease won the school’s contract in June 2020 after the Acting Executive Group Head of the Education Branch’s Business Services Division made a recommendation to Chief Executive Katy Haire without reasoning. adequate. The audit revealed that the decision to award the tender was not based on the initial evaluation criteria with which the government went to market, but on re-weighted and re-prioritized criteria. She also found that communication with bidders and other parties was informal, uncontrolled and poorly documented, which undermined the probity of the procurement process. MORE ACT POLITICS NEWS: A government ACT spokeswoman told The Canberra Times last year that the government acknowledges the report and will seriously consider the recommendations as part of its commitment to transparency and accountability. “All relevant directorates are currently reviewing the report. The ACT government will respond to the audit recommendations in early 2022. The government’s response will be tabled in the Legislative Assembly,” she said. Mr Adams told ACT budget estimates in October 2021 that public procurement as a systemic issue could be considered by the commission. “I am prepared to disclose that procurement is on our table as an important issue,” Mr Adams said at the time. The commission released its first report earlier this month, concluding there was no reasonable suspicion of corrupt behavior by Chief Minister Andrew Barr or officials over the controversial 2015 purchase of a land adjacent to Glebe Park. The purchase of the block had attracted attention after it was revealed that the government had bought it for four times the amount of an assessment. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content: