Probity in procurement

Probity is an important aspect of procurement.

Best-value procurement doesn’t only refer to economic value, it also underpins fair and ethical buying procedures.

Probity ensures patients, suppliers and health services are all given an equal chance to succeed.

Our team is here to support health services with best-practice procurement and to understand their probity requirements, so that they can provide best-value health outcomes for Victorians.

Probity for health services

In Victoria, probity is governed by a number of frameworks that set out clear values and guidelines.

The Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) is responsible for activities under Section 7 of the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic) which establishes the values that guide conduct and performance in the Victorian Public Sector. The VPCS is bound by the Victorian Public Sector Code of Conduct based on the values set out in the Act.

Each public health service in Victoria also has their own organisational values and practices that employees must follow, which usually align with the seven core Public Sector Values: responsiveness, integrity, impartiality, accountability, respect, leadership and human rights.

Probity under the Health Services Act

HSV has probity-related functions and powers under the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic) which give us the responsibility for monitoring procurement activity probity of Victorian public health services.

We follow a Compliance Framework to manage our responsibilities under the act.

There are also three core and independent agencies in the Victorian integrity system that can also provide related information:

  • Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC): IBAC exposes and prevents public sector corruption and police misconduct.
  • Victorian Ombudsman: The Ombudsman investigates administrative actions of state government departments, local councils and statutory authorities.
  • Victorian Auditor-General’s Office: The office provides independent assurance to the Parliament and the Victorian community on the financial integrity and performance of the state.
  • Other agencies supporting a sound integrity system include; Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate, Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, and Commissions for the Victorian Public Sector, Judiciary and Equal Opportunity and Human Rights.

Registering gifts, benefits and hospitality

A common probity risk is the giving and receiving of gifts, benefits and hospitality. The VPSC gift/host test provides an easy to understand guide to decision-making around gifts and benefits.

The best approach remains to 'declare and decline' if you are in doubt. 

In 2016, the VPSC issued a framework, guidelines and resources for all Victorian public sector employees which details minimum accountability that are binding under Instruction 3.4.11 of the Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance 2018. These instructions require all public sector organisations to update their Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality policy and to commence publishing it and their register on their health service website.

The VPSC provide a sample policy and register, including identification of what information may be withheld and what is required to be published. You can refer to the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) resources for more information on registering gifts and benefits.

Confirming your probity register

You must send confirmation of your register with a link to the page on your organisation's website where it is located to The Department of Health at

Each register should cover the period from the time the public sector organisation reviewed its policies against the VPSC policy framework and the end of the current financial year.

It is therefore important that this ongoing and annual activity is assigned to an appropriate accountable executive and incorporated into your usual enterprise risk management, reporting or other relevant work programs. 

HSV gifts, benefits and hospitality register

We are also required to publish a register of gifts, benefits and hospitality and an accompanying procedure.

Probity training for health services

Visit the Probity training page for information on HSV's probity training for health service employees.

Probity for suppliers

The Victorian State Government is committed to ethical, sustainable and socially responsible procurement. To support this commitment, a Supplier Code of Conduct has been implemented.

The Code applies to all general government sector contracts, agreements and purchase orders for the supply of goods and services, and construction works and services. It describes the minimum expectations that suppliers should aspire to meet in the areas of:

  • integrity, ethics and conduct
  • conflict of interest, gifts, benefits and hospitality
  • corporate governance
  • labour and human rights
  • health and safety
  • environmental management


Lobbying activities are expected to be performed ethically, transparently, according to the highest standards of professional conduct and in accordance with probity requirements. The Victorian Government Professional Lobbyist Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct) contains requirements designed to support these expectations. This includes registration requirements for Lobbyists and Government Affairs Directors.

If you are approached by a lobbyist, please refer to the Lobbyists Register website.

Market-led proposals

Market-led proposals - also referred to as unsolicited proposals - are proposals made by the private sector to government to build infrastructure and/or provide services. It originates within the private sector and involves proponents developing a project or service specification and then approaching government for approval and support of the proposal.

These proposals are covered under the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) Market-led Proposal Guideline and are therefore separate from other standard government procurement practices. The guideline also contains a section on how probity is applied in these circumstances.

Please refer to the DTF website for more information.

Probity resources

More information

Visit the Help Centre for frequently asked questions on probity in the health sector including; information on receiving gifts, supplier probity requirements and employing an external probity practitioner.