A probity adviser is an individual who is engaged to observe, review and report on the bidding and selection process in government procurement projects and to provide advice on probity issues which may arise, to ensure that the process is equitable and that it is conducted with integrity. Government procurement projects may include consultant and contractor services for capital works, infrastructure projects, leasing arrangements and divestments.
Selecting a Probity Adviser
The Department of Treasury and Finance has established a multi-use list (the
Directory) to assist agencies in selecting a probity adviser, if it has been determined that one is required.
Probity advisers have been selected to be on the Directory based on the following qualitative criteria:
- demonstrated understanding of probity issues in a Government context and demonstrated independence from Government;
- proven experience in dealing with probity issues in a relevant field;
- ability to analyse complex issues;
- high level interpersonal and communication skills; and
- professional conduct.
Directory members are required to provide independent probity advice to State government agencies and are independent from, and not employed by Government, whether at the federal, state or local level. In addition, directory members must disclose any conflicts of interest they may be exposed to and also provide evidence of current professional indemnity insurance.
When engaging a probity adviser, agencies must ensure the probity adviser completes a
Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest Declaration.
All probity advisers are to be engaged in accordance with the procurement procedures detailed in the Treasurer's Instructions. However, given that an initial procurement process has been undertaken and the above qualitative criteria have already been assessed, should an agency choose to use the Directory exclusively, the procurement process will be simplified. The simplified processes are as follows:
- For engagements valued at $50 000 or less, agencies may directly appoint a probity adviser from the Directory.
- For engagements valued at more than $50 000 but less than $250 000, agencies must seek three written quotations. Given that the generic abilities of all advisers on the Directory will have already been assessed, the quotation will be able to focus purely on price plus any specific needs or skills that the agency requires.
- For engagements valued at $250 000 and over but less than the free trade agreement thresholds, agencies must undertake a selective tender in accordance with the requirements of TI 1108(6). However, the tenderers may be limited to those probity advisers listed on the Directory with areas of specialisation* relevant to the tender. As for the procurement process, the tender can be very simple and short with the purchasing decision based on the particular experience or skills of the probity adviser and the price submitted.
These simplified procurement arrangements are restricted to processes that only involve members of the Directory. Should an agency conduct a procurement process that involves members and non-members or the engagement is impacted by the free trade agreement thresholds, then the full procurement process, as detailed in the TIs must be followed.
If selected for a particular engagement, the terms of contract must then be formalised directly between the instructing Tasmanian Government agency and the probity adviser. It is recommended that all such contracts are formalised on the basis of the Contract for Services (Standard) template, developed by Crown Solicitor.
* Agencies should note that any legal services provided by members of the Directory are not available to agencies. The Treasurer's Instructions 1118 and 1224 require Government agencies to refer all requests for legal advice, civil litigation, and commercial and conveyancing legal services to Crown Law.
All advisers listed on the Directory have agreed to maintain, for the purposes of any contracts entered into for the supply of probity services, appropriate levels of public liability and professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Contract for Services to be formalised directly between the instructing agency and the Probity Adviser.
For information to assist agencies determine the appropriate level of insurance, refer to the
Guidelines for Determining Appropriate Levels of Insurance for Goods and Services Contracts (refer to publications).
Agencies must seek proof of insurance when contracting an adviser.
The Department of Treasury and Finance has developed the publication, Probity Guidelines to assist agency buyers identify when they need a probity adviser and how they should be appointed.