Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the concern of probity in the public sector. This has been aggravated by several factors such as the exhibition of illegal and unethical activities and the inclination towards more regular and dependable government regulation. Various organizations such as the Auditor- General, Ombudsman and the IndependentCommission against Corruption (ICAC) have also increased the focus on the need for probity in the public sector.
Moreover, there is more knowledge dispersed related to the government and its various initiatives. The public sector is now poised to be able to exhibit that best value for money is being attained when public money is being expended. The processes employed by the public sector should be ethical and most effective practices must be followed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.
Government projects tend to be complex and consist of several elements that define the scope and course of the particular job. Therefore, it becomes imperative to carry out an unbiased and focused analysis of the activity in the most comprehensive manner. This is where probity auditing services come into play.
A probity auditor is generally a person or firm who is employed to observe and review a multifarious government project. This is generally conducted with respect to a procurement process (for example, lease or tender). Companies use probity auditors to authenticate that the processes followed are in line with government regulations, guidelines and best practice principles. A probity auditor provides an unbiased opinion on probity issues that may emerge during the process and confirms, in writing, whether the concluded process has or has not met all probity requirements. If probity requirements have not been met, the probity auditor identifies the reasons and provides a written report.
There could be several reasons behind choosing probity auditing services, including:
the complexity (size and cost) of the project requires outside assistance
it provides reassurance to the community and those wishing to do business with the public sector that the outcome can be trusted
having a probity auditor helps to avoid problems
they provide an objective, independent view on the probity of the process
it minimises the potential for litigation
In todays times of complex business conditions, probity auditing services are a must have and must be done in a professional and effective manner so as to produce the desired results. There are many agencies available that are found to be proficient in carrying out this task in the prescribed manner.
Getting the best value for money is enhanced when there is open competition and the market is tested on a timely basis. Processes that are meant to attract responses from the marketplace (for example, expressions of interest, calls for proposals and tendering) may lead to poor outcomes for a project if not conducted appropriately. Impartial, open and competitive processes are an important stepping stone in achieving value for money.