The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) has initiated an inquiry into the contract management frameworks used by Commonwealth entities. 

The announcement follows recent inquiries into Commonwealth Procurement and Probity and Ethics, which raised questions about whether the frameworks supporting contract management are adequate for ensuring project delivery.

“Recent major inquiries into Commonwealth Procurement and Probity and Ethics revealed serious failings,” said Mr Julian Hill MP, the Chair of the JCPAA.

“Recent audit reports have highlighted similar issues 'downstream' of procurement in how agencies manage contracts once executed. 

“The Committee will examine whether the frameworks supporting contract management by various Commonwealth entities are fit for purpose to ensure project delivery.”

Mr Hill said effective contract management is needed for successful government procurement activities.

“Successful outcomes are very unlikely to be achieved from Government procurement activities without effective contract management,” he said. 

“This is therefore a vital capability for public sector agencies but one that commonly goes under the radar and is often lacking for a number of reasons.”

The inquiry will scrutinise expertise levels, governance arrangements, record-keeping, performance measures, and policies and guidelines of several audited agencies regarding their external contracts. 

Submissions to the inquiry addressing the above terms of reference are invited by Thursday, 15 August 2024. Details of this inquiry – including the submissions received and public hearings – will be available on the inquiry website.

In addition to the contract management inquiry, the JCPAA has also begun examining the administration of Commonwealth regulations. This inquiry aims to assess how agencies enforce compliance with limited resources and whether they utilise evidence-based, risk-based activities effectively.

The inquiry will focus on how agencies assess compliance risk, develop compliance and enforcement strategies, and address incidences of non-compliance. 

Details are available on the Inquiry website.