The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has tabled the performance audit for the procurement of delivery partners for the Entrepreneurs' Programme.
The audit report includes the following response by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to the findings and recommendations of the audit.
The department agrees to all of the ANAO’s recommendations and takes seriously the important issues raised.
While the department’s administration of the procurement fell short of the appropriate standards of transparency, consistency and fairness, particularly in late 2019 and early 2020, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme has successfully supported over 22,000 Australian companies to strengthen and grow since its launch in 2014. Businesses participating in the growth element of the program have experienced average increases of 3.5 new jobs and an additional $1.47 million in turnover.
The department is actively working to address all recommendations, and any cultural or systemic improvements necessary, as a matter of priority, including adopting a formal change program approach.
The department has already put contract management plans in place for the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. We are immediately developing performance metrics and standards for delivery partners, as well as a probity plan specific to the programme, which will comprehensively address conflict of interest.
We are also establishing a robust department-wide contract management framework, and a centralised and strengthened approach to the management of probity and conflict of interest. Having successfully implemented a probity framework for grants management, we are now focused on strengthening our Probity Framework to cover procurements and contracts, with a clear line of sight by the departmental executive and our internal Audit and Assurance Committee.