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Defence Estate Quality Management System (DEQMS) BSI Certification

Probity - Overview

This Probity Policy including processes are to be applied within Capital Facilities and Infrastructure (CFI). This policy will enable Project staff to:

  • Understand what Probity is and why it is important in the procurement process;
  • Understand the differences between Probity and Legal Advice;
  • Identify when to use internal Probity advice;
  • Identify when to engage external Probity Advisors from the Defence Infrastructure Panel; and
  • Understand the services available from a Probity Advisor.

In CFI, it is mandatory to engage an external Probity Advisor for all projects with a value greater than $6 million, including GST. An external probity advisor may also be engaged where there are significant risks present in the procurement.

For all other projects, the relevant Project Director and Project Officers must consult with the Directorate of Program Assurance (DPA) who will provide internal Probity advice. When DPA are used as internal probity advisors, the project team must maintain a register of all probity issues that arise during the course of the procurement.

What are Probity services?

The Defence Procurement Policy Manual identifies Probity Advice Services as the provision of independent advice and assistance during a procurement process to ensure that is conducted fairly and in accordance with Commonwealth requirements.

Why is Probity important in the procurement process?

Probity in the procurement process is important to ensure that the Government and the public can have utmost confidence in Government Purchasing, knowing that it is conducted in a manner that makes efficient, effective and ethical use of public money and resources. It also providers assurance around the decisions that are made during procurement activities.

What areas of the procurement process are capable of causing Probity issues ?

There are many circumstances during a procurement process that may present a probity issue. Common examples include:

  • Actual or perceived conflicts of interest present in Commonwealth Officers engaged in the procurement process;(see also Defence Instruction PERS 25-6)
  • Actual or perceived bias;
  • Conduct of Commonwealth Officers when communicating with tenderers: eg. during telephone calls, emails, site visits, industry briefs, and particularly clarifications;
  • Offers of gifts or hospitality to Commonwealth Officers during a procurement process;
  • Tenderer conformance with conditions of tender, particularly around mandatory minimum form and content requirements and late tenders;
  • Departures from the approved Tender Evaluation Plan;
  • Potential collusion or other anti-competitive practices evident in the tenders offered;
  • Confidentiality of tenderer information;
  • Security of tendered information;
  • Parallel negotiations with multiple tenderers; or
  • A decision to exclude from evaluation, set aside during evaluation, accept or decline a tender.