Learning Lab Submits Written Evidence to the Australian Inquiry into the Commonwealth Procurement Framework

In March 2017 the Learning Lab submitted written evidence to the Australian Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement’s Inquiry into the Commonwealth Procurement Framework. The submission was written by Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O’Brien on behalf of the Learning Lab.

The submission includes the following concrete recommendations:

  • Align the new Framework with Australia’s international responsibilities to respect, promote, and protect human rights;
  • Develop guidance, highlighting the means by which public buyers can incorporate human rights safeguards into the public contracting process while still complying with other legal requirements and meeting their organisations’ purchasing needs;
  • Support knowledge and capacity development of public sector procurement professionals on human rights risks and measures to address them;
  • Establish a public procurement and human rights working group;
  • Assess current knowledge, needs, challenges and opportunities amongst central government public buyers in relation to integration of human rights safeguards in public procurement; and
  • Use the current initiative to establish an Australian Modern Slavery Act to strengthen the human rights dimensions of public procurement by requiring public bodies to publish annual Slavery and Human Trafficking Statements or equivalent and permitting public buyers to exclude suppliers that fail to uphold their human rights obligations from the tendering process.

In addition to these recommendations, the submission provides background information on human rights risks in public procurement and relevant policy frameworks, makes the case for government action on public procurement and human rights, and provides examples of innovation and good practice.

The full submission can be downloaded here.

The final report from the Joint Select Committee can be accessed here.