NBN Co says it conducts many audits of delivery partner "activities"

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NBN Co says it conducts many audits of delivery partner "activities"

Too many to count.

NBN Co said it conducts so many “audits” of its contractor delivery partners that it would be almost impossible to list them all, the reasons for doing them, and the outcomes.

The company has repeatedly faced questions in recent months over alleged cuts to subcontractor pay under its Unify maintenance deal, which unions have branded a “pyramid contracting scheme that’s leaving workers struggling to make ends meet.”

NBN Co has commissioned KPMG to specifically audit rates of pay before and after Unify came into effect.

Company executives largely declined to answer detailed questions during a recent senate estimates hearing, taking many of them “on notice” to be answered later in a written format.

Those written responses, published last night, offer little extra detail despite the weeks taken to prepare them.

Labor Senator Anthony Sheldon posed a series of questions on how many delivery partners NBN Co has audited since 2010, the reasons for the audits, the findings and outcomes.

Though the context of the word audit is fairly clear in the context of the senate hearing - which spent considerable time trying to ascertain the extent of NBN Co’s audit rights in its delivery chain with respect to take-home pay per job - NBN Co said in written responses that too many things it did constituted an “audit” and it would be too time-consuming to list them all.

“Within NBN Co’s systems, "audits" refer to a wide range of activities spanning across our delivery partners including but not limited to commercial contractual compliance which NBN Co determines annually, determined by risk, in consultation with senior NBN management, and complementing NBN’s other assurance processes across delivery partners; operational performance and governance; [and] monthly payment assurance processes,” it said. [pdf]

“With a delivery partner pool of over 40 partners and over 10 years of weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly records - the information requested is not recorded in NBN Co systems in the format the question requested. 

“Compiling the above would need to be manually performed, requiring a significant allocation of internal resources and a significant period of time, well outside the given timeframe to respond to this question.”

The KPMG audit of the Unify program is anticipated to be completed by the end of September; it is unclear if any of the findings will be shared or made public.

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