The term probity means integrity, uprightness and honesty. Although the term probity audit is normally used in the field, in actual fact the probity role is one of both advising and auditing. Effective probity management is concerned with the procedures, processes and systems used rather than the outcome of an activity, undertaking or project. It should also be recognised that – despite good management of probity risks – mistakes, delays and disputes can arise. Similarly, even the best probity processes do not guarantee that a project or activity will be immune from problems or criticism.
For public officials and public sector agencies, creating and maintaining probity involves more than simply avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It involves applying and complying with public sector values and duties such as impartiality, accountability and transparency. Ensuring probity in public sector activities is part of every public official’s duty to adopt processes, practices and behaviour that enhances and promotes public sector values and interests. By not ensuring probity and addressing probity issues early in the planning process of a public sector project the following challenges may arise:
Deloitte has a multi-disciplinary team of experts who, collectively, provide both Probity Assurance and Probity Advisory services. As illustrated in the diagram below, this team brings collective skills and expertise in key areas including risk management, auditing, supply chain management, forensic investigations, legal and contract management. Furthermore, our collective public sector experience is extensive and relevant. We also build in safeguards to ensure that the provision of Probity Auditing, Probity Investigations and Probity Assessments and Opinions do not compromise the integrity of projects.
Probity involves more than just avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct: it involves ensuring that often-complex public sector processes – such as procurement, disposal of assets, sponsorship and administration of grants are conducted in a manner that is fair, impartial, accountable and transparent as well as always in the public interest. Probity plans are now part of the planning and management of many large, complex and/or potentially controversial projects.