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​​Managing probity and acting ethically

Government procurement must take place in an open and fair environment to ensure all potential suppliers are given impartial and equitable treatment.

Principles of probity

Probity means the quality of having strong moral principles – in short, acting ethically and fairly. Demonstrating high standards of probity is essential to public confidence in our public services.

In procurement, we need to make sure all suppliers and providers have a fair opportunity, and that the process is transparent, accountable, impartial and equitable.

As public servants, we must comply with five interrelated principles of probity in procurement:

  1. acting fairly, impartially and with integrity
  2. being accountable and transparent
  3. being trustworthy and acting lawfully
  4. managing conflicts of interest
  5. securing commercially sensitive and confidential information.

Managing conflicts of interest and confidentiality

Principles of good procurement practice

All government spending must adhere to the five principles of good procurement practice:

  1. plan and manage for great results
  2. be fair to all suppliers
  3. get the right supplier
  4. get the best deal for everyone
  5. play by the rules.

Principles of Government Procurement

Probity in practice

An ethical, transparent approach requires that the procurement rules are clearly stated, well understood and applied equally to all parties.

Probity principles should be integrated into all procurement planning – agencies must ensure that systems, policies and procedures provide accountability, are able to withstand public scrutiny and preserve private sector confidence in the procurement process.

This means:

  • undertaking due process
  • obtaining appropriate approvals
  • documenting decisions.

For major, complex or high-risk projects, you may consider appointing an independent probity auditor at the outset of the procurement project.