Guest Article - Government Programmes and Projects


At the Committee’s Chairman’s 20 luncheon, John discussed the basis for the report in Government Programmes and Projects, which was to assess 31 issues around adequate decision-making, the business case, the procurement process, the value for money outcomes and the commercial-in-confidence around decision-making. The report aimed to have a clear and concise explanation around the factors that led to the State’s current operating deficits and unsustainable net debt position. The recommendations sought to highlight what lessons were learnt and what measures should be introduced to ensure greater rigour and transparency in government decision-making.

John’s presentation highlighted some key findings:

  • WA has a recurrent expenditure problem which is a major burden.
  • Governance practices that are led from the Cabinet down are loose.
  • Central Agencies’ authority and capability are weak.
  • Public Service’s policy skill base has been eroded.
  • Transparency in decision-making is not part of government culture.
  • Infrastructure prioritisation and planning needs to be improved.
  • Project Management skills are thin.
  • Procurement and Contract Management practices lack discipline.
  • Statutory Bodies are a mixed bag of law, governance practices and accountability.
  • Accountability agencies are not heard.

The presentation highlighted some key recommendations for future Governments:

  • The Cabinet must impose the highest standards in its governance of the State by demanding that submissions are prepared in consultation with all agencies which have a “right to know”; requiring all submissions with a financial impact on the State be submitted to Cabinet through the ERC; enforce the 10 day consultation period for all submissions with financial implications; and Cabinet agendas need to include periodic review of the State’s key financial and legal risks.
  • The Government must work more closely with its public service in the development and implementation of its objectives and major policies.
  • The integrity of the annual budget process must be restored.
  • Government agencies must work more collaboratively with a common purpose and trust that ‘frank and fearless’ advice to Ministers and Cabinet will be respected.
  • The identification, prioritisation and development of the State’s infrastructure requirements must be enhanced.
  • Transparency, accountability and openness with the community in the delivery of public services and infrastructure must increase.

A copy of the full report can be found here.

Other articles from Insight, May 2018 (view email newsletter):