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In 2012, the FWO began receiving intelligence that a number of Councils were procuring1 security services at contract prices that were insufficient to cover the total cost of an employee, thus facilitating non-compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws in a number of security businesses. In the FWO’s experience, such instances of insufficient monies from the top of a supply chain being funnelled downwards, lead almost inevitably to workers being underpaid, as businesses are unable to make a profit while still paying all relevant entitlements in these circumstances.

The FWO considered it appropriate to test the intelligence and secure a better understanding of the supply chain arrangements adopted by local government with respect to the security sector by conducting an Inquiry.

Partnering with the Australian Security Industry Association Limited [ASIAL] and United Voice, communications and education activities commenced in 2014. In August 2015, the FWO issued a media release2 formally detailing the terms and objectives of the Inquiry.

The purpose of this communication and education phase was to ensure Councils throughout Australia, particularly those officers with responsibility for procurement, understood the obligations under the FW Act. That phase included a number of presentations across the security, building and local government sector nationally.3

FWO then embarked on the second phase of the Inquiry, which involved a series of compliance activities examining the various labour supply chain arrangements entered into with security service providers by 23 Councils.

  1. For the purposes of this report, procurement refers to tendering for the provision of security guards for Council sites and events.
  2. Media release: Spotlight on Local Government security tenders
  3. FWO presented to the Regional Procurement Network in VIC, Building Services Contractors Association of Australia in QLD, ASIAL in NSW, Local Government & Public Sector Building Maintenance Conference in NSW, and others.