Probity Rich Environments

A Probity Rich Environment is a business environment which implements effective probity (and other) controls to drive high levels of integrity and low levels of corruption. The Probity Rich Environment must be designed with integrity as top of mind.

It must be documented, followed and be seen to be followed.

The NSW Government Procurement Guidelines set out the basis for a probity rich environment. Agencies should:

  • develop internal controls, including officer delegations and specific accountabilities
  • publish data and performance reports (‘openness’)
  • monitor its compliance with law and policy and reporting
  • review their policies every two years
  • refer to the management of procurement in corporate documents, such as codes of conduct
  • train relevant employees in the policy and procedures to ensure they are aware of their accountabilities
  • include procurement as a risk to be assessed in the agency’s internal audit and corruption risk management processes.

A Probity Rich Environment consists of some key elements including:

  • People
    • Ensure employees and other stakeholders are trained and aware
    • Ensure external suppliers and advisors understand the enviropnment and have complementary processes in place.
  • Controls
    • Ensure the agency governance, policies and procedures are compliant with relevant legislation and probity requirements
    • Provide a risk based model to determine the requirement for implicit, explicit and specific probity controls
  • Tools
    • Online tools for Issue management, Conflicts of Interest Management, Confidential Issue Reporting
    • Senior Manager’s Probity Handbook
  • Accreditation and Maturity
    • Ongoing process improvement through regular reviews and post transaction lessons learned

Elm Probity Competency Model

The ELM Probity Competency Model review and accreditation pathway demonstrates to internal and external stakeholders the agency’s commitment to high integrity in process and people.

  • Raising Awareness
    • Starting Point
    • Staff Training and awareness
  • Health Checks and Basic Controls
    • Risk based health check to identify areas of weakness
    • “Traffic light” reporting model
    • Design and Implementation of Controls
    • Initial stage of competency improvement program
  • Policy and Process Optimisation
    • Process and Policy Audit reporting framework
    • Part of Agency Audit Plan
    • Control Optimisation
  • Regular Review and Accreditation
    • Demonstrates commitment to ensuring Probity is part of Agency quality management system
    • Sends clear message to external stakeholders
    • Meets NSW Government Auditor General and ICAC requirements


In addition to the ELM Probity Competency Model, ELM Probity also offers the following accreditation services:

Agency Environment Accreditation

The Agency Environment Accreditation reviews policies and processes for alignment with the Probity Fundamentals. In addition to ensuireing approrpiate and effective controls are in place, the Agency Environment Accreditation reviews a number of recent transactions to ensure controls are adequate and have been followed. Accreditation is based on a process maturity model rating.

Environment and Transaction Health Check

ELM Probity offer a number of Health Checks. These are focussed checks on individual transactions or environment and provide an indication that controls are in place and are being used appropriately.

Supplier Environment Probity Review

Suppliers should actively promote an ethical business environment within their organisation. Suppliers should also ensure alignment between their business environment and that of government agencies. Government agencies are increasingly requiring suppliers to demonstrate that their business environment aligns with and respects the probity rich environment of the government. This requires demonstrating that key controls are present.

ELM Probity’s Supplier Environment Review looks at a number of areas including:

  • Staff Training:
    • This should cover business ethics, probity, handling confidential information, and addressing conflicts of interest at both personal and business levels.
  • Confidentiality Agreement Procedures:
    • Effective management of confidentiality agreements (CAs) should be centralized, with senior executives acknowledging all CAs in place.
  • Conflicts of Interest:
    • where the conflict exists for individuals from the supplier working on an engagement.
    • where the conflict exists for the supplier working multiple but potentially conflicting clients.
  • IT Security:
    • Robust IT provisions should be in place to secure confidential information.
  • Whistle-blower Policies:
    • Employees should feel safe to report unethical behaviour without fear of retaliation.

Suppliers which obtain favourable review results are generally more likely to win government business as this is now forming a key selection criteria.