Deloitte Australia has become embroiled in a Senate inquiry into consulting services, as the firm revealed that it misused information obtained from the Australian government last year.
However, Deloitte refused to divulge further details, citing concerns over client confidentiality. The firm did assert that the confidential information was not utilized for commercial gain. During the Friday, July 14, Senate hearing on consulting services, Deloitte stated that any potential misuse of government information would be investigated according to their standard procedures. Depending on the findings of their internal investigations, the firm clarified that disciplinary actions, applicable to both partners and employees, could be taken as a consequence of misconduct.
This development occurs amidst the ongoing PwC Australia tax leaks scandal, where former partner Peter-John Collins was found to have shared confidential government information with colleagues and clients. Deloitte Australia disclosed that in the financial year 2021/22, there were nine instances of misusing confidential or proprietary information, a decline from the 18 occurrences in the previous year.
During the Senate hearing, Deloitte Australia also shed light on two cases of conflicts of interest concerning government contracts. Specifically, the firm acknowledged that in August 2022, they failed to seek pre-approval from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) for a service they provided, which was a breach of their independence and conflicts management policies. Additionally, the Home Affairs Department terminated a contract with Deloitte due to an undisclosed conflict of interest. Despite these instances, Deloitte asserted that they were not aware of any other significant conflict-of-interest matters related to government work.
As the two-day Senate inquiry into consulting services continues until July 18, the committee is set to hear from consultancy Accenture and big four firm EY Australia. However, management consultancy firm McKinsey has declined to appear before the committee. The investigation into consulting services highlights the importance of maintaining transparency, adhering to ethical standards, and abiding by policies and regulations within the consulting industry.
By fLEXI tEAM