What is Probity?
Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour and equitable treatment in government processes, in particular in tender processes.
Probity is a key aspect of such processes to ensure that it is conducted with integrity and can withstand scrutiny. Probity is not a simple set of rules; it is more about appropriate behaviours and attitudes.
The following Probity Principles will be applied:
- conduct of an open and competitive tender process
- fair and equitable treatment of all participants
- impartiality and no bias to any participant
- having a consistent and transparent tender process
- maintenance of confidentiality
- identification and management of any conflicts of interest.
How will the Authority manage a competitive process whilst also encouraging collaboration between sector participants?
The Tender process will be governed by the usual SA Government procurement practices and protocols and these will be applied to ensure a fair, equitable and open process is conducted.
All interested sector members are invited to form consortia to Tender in an open process and all responses received will be evaluated fairly without any bias or advantage to any participant.
The entire Tender process, including the conduct of interactive sessions and the evaluation, will be observed by the independent probity adviser to ensure the process is conducted with integrity.
Further details of the SA Government’s procurement practices are outlined in the tender documentation.
How is Collaboration different to Collusion?
Collaboration is where 'two or more organisations work together to achieve something/goal’.
Collusion is where ‘there is an agreement between parties to act together secretly or illegally in order to deceive’.
In an Alliance tendering context, Collaboration is the coming together of sector participants to form Alliances to then bid for Services within a Region, or Statewide in the case of DFV. It is about being open with potential Alliance Participants about the Services your organisation can provide, your expertise and sharing ways or strategies to deliver the outcomes being sought.
An example is when organisations that previously may have competed or delivered similar services in either the same area or different locations come together in an Alliance (including the Authority) to provide those combined services across a wider area in a more cohesive way.
Collusion is an anti-competitive and illegal practice where organisations may look to undermine the tender process in order to gain an unfair advantage or to unfairly discriminate against other sector participants.
Examples of Collusion are where:
- two or more organisations agree on how or who to bid for a particular Alliance to unfairly influence an outcome
- an organisation provides an incentive to another organisation not to participate in bidding for one or more Alliances
- organisations combine to deliberately and unfairly prevent another organisation from competing fairly.
Is collaboration with an ex staff member of the SA Housing Authority currently employed within Sector automatically collusion?
No. Previous Authority staff members are bound by the same rules as everyone else to not engage in collusion. Previous staff cannot breach their confidentiality obligations which relate to their former employment with the Authority. To enhance fairness, the Authority has made detailed relevant information, such as current funding and providers, available to everyone in the sector and will continue to do so.
What prevents a potential consortium member gathering confidential information from other potential members on the basis of being committed to that consortium, and then refusing to participate further in that consortium and using that information as part of another consortium?
In the first place, it is expected that the integrity of all sector participants is such that this behaviour would not occur. Such behaviour would not only be unethical and dishonest it would breach probity principles of confidentiality, honesty, and trust.
In addition, the Tender documents expressly prohibit collusion and every consortium member must sign the non-collusion declaration forming part of the Tender process.
What happens if an organisation participates in tender development with a consortium, is privy to commercially sensitive information, but then chooses to exit the first consortium and join another?
The Authority is not prescribing particular methods that must be followed in forming tendering consortia. Potential participants in a consortium will need to agree their own terms of interaction and mange any risks they perceive associated with not proceeding as part of that consortium. Potential participants must not engage in any collusive behaviour.
What happens if a Provider is tendering with a consortium in one region and against one of the members of the first consortium in another region? How do they handle the commercial sensitivities?
Potential participants considering being in multiple consortia will need to manage any risks they perceive associated with that, including commercial sensitivities. Potential participants must not engage in any collusive behaviour.