- Foreword and Introduction
- 1: Putting projects in context
- 2: Entity arrangements
- 2.1 Strategic alignment
- 2.2 People and culture
- 2.3 Effective governance
- 2.4 Common APS Requirements
- Summary for entity arrangements
- 3: Individual project proposals
- 3.1 Clarifying the concept
- 3.2 The business case
- 3.3 Approving the project
- Summary for individual projects
- 4: Project implementation
- Quick reference card
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Tips for PDF and HTML versions [0.5MB]
Word version of checklists [0.1MB]
2.4 Addressing common APS requirements
Common APS requirements, such as those for procurement, ethics and probity, and recordkeeping, are important contributors to project success and to proper accountability.
Better Practice results: Project-related procurement provides the required goods and services as needed, and in accordance with legislative accountability requirements.
Procurement specialists a valuable partner:
“I talked with our central procurement team as we were developing the business case. They were very helpful in setting up the timelines for procuring equipment and systems, and told me about some services that were already available on a panel. Later, implementation went smoothly too, because the procurement area already knew about our needs and had included us in their own work plan.”
Many projects will involve procurement activity, which needs to be carried out in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs). Compliance with the CPGs can be assisted by entity project planning guidelines reminding project proponents of the circumstances where open tender should be used, and the procedures to be used. Such reminders will help project planners include the timeframe and budget for the appropriate procurement method, and to schedule the preparation of procurement documentation.
Specific procurement issues are mentioned at relevant points in Chapter 3, on developing individual project proposals.
Better Practice results: Increased confidence in the reliability of advice provided to decision-makers; projects are not delayed due to ethical lapses.
All those involved in the project planning and approval process have a responsibility to behave ethically at all times.
Ethical behaviour supports openness and accountability in a decision-making process, which increases the confidence of stakeholders in the probity and effectiveness of the decision. Ethical behaviour can also reduce the cost of managing risks associated with fraud, theft, corruption, and other improper behaviour, and can also enhance confidence in public administration.
For those staff employed in entities subject to the Public Service Act 1999, the standards of conduct required are contained in the APS Values and the APS Code of Conduct. Entities are encouraged to have general arrangements to assist in managing issues ethically, such as declaration of pecuniary interests by executives, and including conflict of interest clauses in standard contracts for engaging advisers. In addition those involved with planning, recommending and approving projects should be alert to issues and situations that involve judgements about ethical behaviour and practices.
Some ethics-related issues in planning and approving projects are listed in the following table.
|Potential conflicts of interest for expert advisers||Review standard contracts for appointment of advisers to ensure the contracts require actual and potential conflicts of interest to be declared; guidelines to specify a declaration concerning potential conflicts of interest be provided with each new project.|
|Lack of clarity of role for members of committees||Committee terms of reference and letters of appointment clarify roles, for example whether members are representing a sectional interest, or providing their own professional opinion.|
|Solution shaped inappropriately to favour a particular supplier or approach||Education of team involved in preparing proposals on APS values and on the Commonwealth Procurement Principles, including a non-discriminatory approach so all potential suppliers have the same opportunities; use of independent assurance at key stages of proposal development.|
|Those involved in confidential consultation may feel this has led to a potential conflict of interest with their stakeholders||Develop entity protocols and relationships with representative bodies to undertake consultation ethically.|
Better Practice results: Records of approvals, project specifications, and agreements with other parties are available to provide clear authority and direction for the project, and to meet accountability requirements.
Records that are created and received in the planning and approval process, whether paper-based or electronic, should be captured in an entity’s recordkeeping system(s) in accordance with the entity’s general recordkeeping policies and procedures. A systematic approach to recordkeeping at the beginning of a planning process and throughout the contracting cycle will assist an entity to:
- provide evidence of business conducted and decisions made;
- manage legal and other risks; and
- meet its accountability obligations.
Keeping good records should be seen as an integral part of, rather than incidental to, the planning process.
A particular issue for attention is recording decisions to approve projects. It is better practice for entities to have arrangements for recording the scope of the project approved, any caveats to the approval,15 and who gave the approval. The ready availability of this information is of importance to those implementing and monitoring the project, and to any subsequent evaluation. For accountability and audit purposes it is also important to retain the information used as the basis of decisions.
For many projects, key planning documents such as the project plan and project specifications may change during the life of the project. It is better practice for entities to have a document change control system and work practices that provide for version numbered documents, and arrangements to record the approval of changes from one version to the next.
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