Voco inquiry terms of reference released

Neil Walter to undertake high-priority inquiry

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie has issued the terms of reference for an inquiry into the procurement and contracting arrangements between the State Services Commission and Voco for the Government Shared Network (GSN).

Rennie will appoint an independent inquirer, former agency CEO Neil Walter, to review the history of the procurement and contracting arrangements between the Commission and Voco and the performance of the Commission.

The GSN has failed to meet budget and adoption targets and could be discontinued. Allegations have also been made about the way services from Voco were procured for the contract. Voco was paid $8.2 million for its part in the project.

In particular the enquirer will look into whether there were any potential or perceived conflicts of interest arising out of the procurement and contracting of Voco’s services and if so, were these appropriately managed; whether the contracting arrangements with Voco were undertaken in accordance with the rules, policies and expectations that applied at the relevant times to the contracting arrangements (including contract variations) that were entered into; and whether managers, appropriate to their level, exercised adequate direction, judgement and governance to ensure that Voco delivered its services within the allocated budget, the agreed timeframes and the agreed scope

The inquirer will also look into whether the commission had in place administrative and management systems, processes, policies and controls for contracts of the kind entered into with Voco.

They will report on any other matter concerning the procurement and contracting practices of the Commission that the reviewer considers relevant.

"It is of critical importance that this inquiry is conducted in a transparent and fair manner, particularly around how contracts were managed, whether any potential conflicts of interest arose and if so how these were handled.

"I have engaged Neil Walter as the independent inquirer. Mr Walter has a wide range of experience as a senior public servant, with particular expertise around governance and a sound understanding of public service guidelines and values," Rennie says in a statement.

Walter is a former state sector CEO who took part in an enquiry into the management of the scampi fishery.

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