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15 July 2011 | Angeline Albert
Corruption by procurement staff in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has
led to a third of its suppliers refusing to bid for contracts.
A survey of 1,515 suppliers to NSW’s state and local government
conducted by the Independent CommissionAgainst Corruption (ICAC) found 67 per cent think corruption is a problem and 32 per cent do not bid
because of it.
The commission’s report Corruption
risks in NSW government procurement: Suppliers' perceptions of corruption,
highlighted poor behaviour, including the offer of gifts and benefits, the
provision of unequal information to different bidders and the leaking of
confidential supplier data prior to the close of the tender.
50 or more current NSW government clients, said: “There is inconsistency in procurement. I have dealt with
procurement areas/officers who are extremely ethical. There are other times
when the guidelines are ignored.”
A second report, Corruption risks
in NSW government procurement: Recommendations to government, said the ICAC
had “identified procurement as a major risk area for corruption in the NSW
It added: “Each year, approximately 12 per cent of complaints received
by the ICAC include allegations of corruption in NSW government procurement and
approximately 30 per cent of our public inquiries make findings of corrupt
conduct related to NSW government procurement activities.”
The commission said there is a feeling from suppliers but also public
sector procurement practitioners that there is “general confusion about the
best way to handle procurement, where information is available and why decisions
The ICAC also analysed the NSW government’s
procurement policy. It surveyed 153 state and local government organisations,
interviewed public sector procurement staff, suppliers and assessed ICAC
complaint data. This revealed varying levels of buying expertise and concluded
it would benefit from a more structured approach to training and development.
Responses obtained by the ICAC highlighted a “difficulty in recruiting
procurement specialists and finding staff within agencies to undertake procurement
The commission recommended the NSW government clearly distinguish
between mandatory procurement obligations and advisory guidelines. It also
suggested it put in place a policy to monitor agencies that carry out
procurement on its behalf.
reports can be found here.