RSM Australia

Probity advice & assurance

Probity is often considered as the "integrity & uprightness" of a process.  Public and occasionally private sector organisations, conduct tender processes and as part of these processes, often require the appointment of a probity advisor or probity auditor.  We provide independent and objective advice on tender processes and issues to ensure the process is fair, equitable and most importantly, defensible.  Often we are asked to conduct an audit of the procurement process to provide an opinion as to the probity of the tender process which goes toward maintaining stakeholder confidence in the tender processes.

Our probity team at RSM has extensive experience in delivering both probity advice and audits after having been involved in hundreds of probity engagements.  Having been involved in a large range of projects, we can asssit you to develop your probity processes for any part of your project, through to giving you an opinion to confirm you have adhered to established processes throughout the procurement exercise. 

We have developed probity processes for procurement projects ranging from small goods and services contracts, through to large and complex public-private-partnerships for the procurement of critical public infrastructure.  This provides us with the experience to provide you with commercial realistic advice that identifies and mitigates all probity risks in an effective and efficient manner to allow for both a robust tender process, which complies with required regulatory requirements and is defensible.

What is probity auditing?

  • it is peculiar to the public sector
  • the overseeing of the process to ensure that equity and procedural fairness is accorded to all participants
  • it ensures the transparency of the process
  • it ensures the defensibility of the process
  • provides total accountability

The probity auditor's primary areas of involvement

  • establishes the rules of the process
  • assists in the preparation of the procedures and benchmarks for assessment
  • oversee the rules governing access to management of the business
  • ensure equity in respect of bidder communications and access to information
  • briefing of participants/stakeholders
    • Board (if applicable) 
    • Minister, politicians and their advisors 
    • management 
    • transaction advisor 
    • project team 
  • Deal with issues arising from conflicts of interest
  • Ensure confidentiality is retained

The issue of perception

  • an area of considerable risk
  • creates and awareness to enable the early identification of problems
  • need to consider accountability
  • perception is a major issue in respect of conflicts of interest

Adding value to the process

  • We provide objectivity and independence
  • We develop mutual respect
  • We ensure openness and regular communication
  • We are your "insurance policy" and provide confidence in the process

Methodology

  • Identify and establish protocols for key aspects of the process
    • expression of interest phase  
    • formal bidding phase 
    • evaluation of the bids 
    • negotiation with the bidders 
    • contract closure 
  • establish the underlying probity objectives
  • provide the probity briefing to all relevant parties
  • we provide specialist advice
  • we attend project team meetings
  • we provide regular reporting
    • need to develop a close but independent working relationship  
    • regular - oral/written communication 
    • sign off at agreed milestones 

Conclusion

RSM adds value and independence to the process through:

  • the provision of specialist experience
  • viewing the process from outside
  • maintaining our independence
  • sensitivity to and having a thorough understanding of the requirements

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