Auscript endorses all Auditor-General’s recommendations on Queensland courts

The company responsible for recording and transcribing Queensland court proceedings has today unconditionally endorsed the recommendations handed down by the Auditor-General to improve the court reporting process.

The Auditor-General found that outsourcing court reporting services will save Queensland taxpayers $22.6 million over the life of the Auscript contract if the State Government exercises all contract options.

Further, the audit also found that “the outsourced delivery model is meeting the needs of courts in most cases,” and it noted Auscript’s advice that 99.9 per cent of court proceedings across the State had been successfully recorded since the contract commenced.

Importantly, the Auditor-General found no basis to suggest Auscript was given any favourable treatment in the awarding of the contract.

The company’s CEO Peter Wyatt welcomed the report, saying it thoroughly vindicated the company’s performance and completely upheld Auscript’s reputation.

“This audit stemmed from false and unfair speculation about the awarding of the contract to Auscript, and incorrect claims around the cost of the outsourced model,” Mr Wyatt said.

“We now know – based on the information in this report – that it was driven by the complaints of two commercial competitors who failed to lodge any tenders. This is despite having seven months between the decision to outsource and the close of bidding.

“And at every turn, our critics have refused to acknowledge the fact that Auscript was $11 million per year less than the nearest competitor.  We are able to achieve this result through digital innovation, which has delivered significant savings to Queensland taxpayers.

“When this audit was announced in April this year, I welcomed the investigation because I wanted an opportunity to clear the reputation of my business and my hard-working staff against false claims of favouritism and lack of performance.

“I also said I expected those people who had made the false claims against Auscript to stand up and apologise once their allegations had been discredited.

“Now this expensive and nonsensical pursuit of me and my company is complete, all of us at Auscript eagerly await those apologies.”

The Auditor-General found that the State was now beyond the break-even point of the outsourcing, and stood to save $12.8 million in direct savings over the contract life up to 2019, or up to $19.6 million if both two two-year contract options were exercised.

These direct savings were on top of a $3 million saving from not having to replace the previous court recording software, making a total saving of up to $22.6 million.

The Auditor-General made a series of recommendations relating to refining the contract between the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) and Auscript, in order to improve service delivery for the court user and maximise efficiency in delivering those services.

“I welcome every single one of the recommendations, and Auscript looks forward to working with DJAG on implementing them.” Mr Wyatt said.

“After the initial contract roll out, we identified, and communicated to DJAG, a number of areas under the contract that needed further changes to ensure court users were being adequately serviced. We are pleased that the audit report affirms the need for those changes.

“And we have pointed to our experience in delivering market-leading quality and cost effectiveness in the Federal and West Australian jurisdictions, using the same personnel and technology as we use here in Queensland.  The only difference is the management of the respective contracts.

“I’m very pleased this has been recognised by the Auditor-General, and I commit Auscript to working cooperatively with DJAG for the thorough and speedy implementation of all the report’s recommendations.”

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