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Defence Estate Quality Management System (DEQMS) BSI Certification

Probity - Difference between Probity & Legal

Probity Services cannot be engaged under the Defence Legal Multi User List. This is because Probity advice is not specifically a legal service. That is, other professions are able to undertake the function of providing Probity Advice.

CFI requires that all projects with a value over $6 million engage an independent Probity Advisor. Even if the probity advisor is also a competent Legal Advisor, the roles must remain separate.

Probity advice must not be coded as legal work in the financial management system ROMAN. It should be processed against Account Code 21038, as an expense against the project using the Project WBS number followed by “-01”. No cost centre code is applicable.

Can one activity in the procurement process be reviewed by both a Probity Advisor and a Legal Advisor?

Yes. As Probity advice is a very different service to legal review, it will often be the case that a document needs to be reviewed by both the Legal Advisor and the Probity Advisor. Examples of where this will commonly occur include:

  • Final draft ROI/RFT documentation;
  • Draft letters issuing addenda; and
  • Draft letters issuing clarifications.

A simple rule of thumb to assist is: if you are unsure whether an issue needs probity or legal advice during the evaluation stage of your procurement, approach the Probity Advisor first who will be able to advise you whether the issue is a Probity matter, or a Legal matter.

The critical point to understand is that ‘Probity ’is about the integrity of the process. Conversely, legal advice is concerned with the actual terms of a contract and the transfer and allocation of risk in achieving the project objectives.