Conflict between Independent Scrutinisers of Transport Megaprojects: Evidence from Australia
If, in the context of an ‘audit explosion’, public sector projects are subject to multiple and uncoordinated forms of independent scrutiny, then the different scrutinisers could reach contradictory conclusions, adopt incompatible methods, and ultimately provide less effective oversight. In the Australian state of Victoria, three independent scrutiny mechanisms operate concurrently on transport megaprojects. The three mechanisms – performance auditing, probity auditing and gateway reviews – are not coordinated and yet have overlapping goals relating to integrity and value for money. This paper describes the three scrutiny mechanisms, before presenting evidence that the mechanisms can generate contradictory conclusions that remain unreconciled, and that the mechanisms conflict in ways that affect the viability of at least one of the mechanisms. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for Europe and directions for future research.
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