New South Wales’ universities have a low level of compliance with the mandatory requirements for contract reporting under the GIPA Act and they lack operational maturity in managing compliance with contract register obligations.
Those were a couple of key findings in the NSW Information Commissioner and CEO of the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC), Elizabeth Tydd’s, first proactive Compliance Report.
That Report, released 25 August 2015, examines universities’ compliance with contract reporting obligations.
“Open access to government dealings with the private sector promotes the principles of transparency and accountability essential to our democratic system.
“The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) recognises the requirements for transparency and integrity by shifting the focus toward proactive disclosure and mandating that certain open access information must be published. This includes an agency’s register of significant private sector contracts,” Tydd.
“The Report acknowledges the role of NSW universities as significant public institutions and their contribution to positive social and economic outcomes,” she added.
However the Report found that universities:
* have a low level of compliance with the mandatory requirements for contract reporting under the GIPA Act;
* lack operational maturity in managing compliance with contract register obligations; and
* adopt different approaches towards compliance.
Making universities’ contracts information publicly available helps to ensure that:
* contracts are awarded fairly;
* malfeasance, fraud and corruption is minimised;
* public expenditure is appropriate;
* the government is getting value for money; and
* universities’ resources are used efficiently and effectively.
“The IPC is committed to working with NSW universities to elevate compliance and ensure transparency through a collaborative regulatory approach,” Tydd emphasised.