If part of the role of the Infrastructure Monitoring Advisory Group (IMAG) is to ensure that information is placed on the public record and to provide a conduit to detailed information about public works contracts then they will be very valuable to i-MPACT. Although individual members may have conflicting interests, providing the records and advice provided is in the public domain and can be questioned it will allow organizations such as ours to obtain the information needed to provide public scrutiny more easily than if the contract details are kept from us.
I also feel it is natural that senior officials would be involved in awarding major contracts; the issue is one of being able to find out the justification for awarding the contacts and the details of what is to be delivered. Provided the contacts is completed in a timely manner, to the specifications and provides the people with fair value I don't mind who the contractor is, it's when either they don't deliver or there isn't fair value that I feel we need to be concerned.
Having had a lot of experience in both awarding and trying to win large contracts the principle issue is one of ensuring satisfactory performance for fair value, it is no better to get a cheap job that doesn't last than it is too pay too much for good work. The contractors are entitled to a fair profit for what they do but they need to understand from the outset that they will be held accountable for the quality of their work. The better contactors will stand out if all of the information is available.
Time will tell if the IMAG approach delivers good information we can work with, however the statement by the senate president indicates that there is a realization that the current situation must be improved. The formation of i-MPACT is therefore most timely and I am optimistic that it can make its influence felt.