ETHICS AND PROBITY IN PROCUREMENT

Principles

  1. Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour, and can be defined as complete and confirmed integrity, uprightness and honesty in a particular process.
  2. The principles underpinning ethics and probity in Australian Government Procurement are:
    • Officials must act ethically, in accordance with the APS Values (set out in section 10 of the Public Service Act 1999) and Code of Conduct (set out in section 13 of the Public Service Act 1999), at all times in undertaking procurement.
    • Officials must not make improper use of their position. 
    • Officials should avoid placing themselves in a position where there is the potential for claims of bias.
    • Officials must not accept hospitality, gifts or benefits from any potential suppliers.
    • Agencies must not seek to benefit from supplier practices that may be dishonest, unethical or unsafe.
    • All tenderers must be treated equitably.  This means that all tenderers must be treated fairly - it does not necessarily mean that they are treated equally.
    • Conflicts of interest must be managed appropriately.
    • Probity and conflict of interest requirements should be applied with appropriate and proportionate measures informed by sound risk management principles.
    • Value for money outcomes are best served by effective probity measures that do not exclude suppliers from consideration for inconsequential reasons. 
    • Confidential information must be treated appropriately during and after a procurement process.
    • External probity specialists should only be appointed where justified by the nature of the procurement.
    • The appointment of external probity specialists does not remove an agency’s accountability for the procurement process.