The ACT government has extended Spotless Group’s contract to maintain public housing by one year ‘despite Auditor-General Maxine Cooper finding problems with the way the contract is managed in an audit in April’, reported The Canberra Times on 30 August 2016.
Spotless Group’s current contract, which has now been extended to mid-2018, is one of the biggest ongoing government contracts (worth $242 million over five years).
In April this year, Auditor-General Maxine Cooper found ‘inadequate oversight of the contract and flaws in the way work is checked’.
She said that it was not clear whether the company was correctly following up on five per cent of work orders each month. Between late 2013 and early 2014, the government checked 100 work orders and found ‘a 19 per cent fail rate compared with Spotless’s recorded fail rate of three per cent’.
‘Dr Cooper also pointed out the potential conflict of interest in Spotless overseeing maintenance done by its own in-house group, which was given $1.1 million of work in 2014-15’.
Housing Minister Yvette Berry said that “the government would continue to improve management of the contract,” and that “it was also exploring procurement options for the next contract”.
“Spotless has delivered a range of good outcomes over the last four years, however given today’s fast pace of innovation and technology development, it is prudent to test the market through a rigorous procurement process to ensure value for money and quality services for the government and tenants,” she said.