Evaluation of the GP Super Clinics Program 2007-2008

7.2.3 Recommendations – Establishment Aspect

Page last updated: 2012

The recommendations outlined in this section reflect the findings of the evaluation relative to GP Super Clinics established in the 2007-2008 tranche and the documents associated with this stage. Some of these recommendations need to be considered in the context that the GP Super Clinics Program has evolved and some may indeed have already been implemented. Importantly, in building on the lessons learned, these recommendations may have relevance to the development and implementation of other programs by the Australian Government, particularly, those which have substantial capital components.

  1. Funding recipients should be required, in the application and post-application stages, to detail their understanding of the land acquisition process and the deliverables associated with each of these stages.
  2. Funding applications that involve land subdivision or consolidation should be subject to extra scrutiny and review to ensure the timelines are realistic. In this regard, Risk Assessments and Risk Management Plans submitted by funding recipients should not be accepted until they accurately and properly recognise and plan for these increased risks.
  3. The Department of Health and Ageing should move to continue and expand the process now in place and evident from the desk review of the later funding agreements to increase the number of milestones, milestone dates and the details regarding what these milestones are to produce, as outcomes for the land acquisition phase. The Department of Health and Ageing will then be in a better position to monitor the delivery of these more regular, detailed outcomes, with a view to demanding corrective action from the funding recipients if slippages occur.
  4. Funding applicants should be required to submit, with their applications, parking studies that are certified by traffic engineers to be compliant with the relevant Council’s published Parking Guidelines and the relevant Australian Standards.
  5. Funding applicants should be required to submit, with their applications, a statement from the architect or urban planning consultant (if engaged at that stage) setting out in summary form what the consultant believes to be the relevant planning rules that the proposed development has to meet. In the Australian Capital Territory this is a mandatory requirement for a DA submission and is called a “Statement Against Relevant Criteria”.
  6. Funding applicants should be required to submit, with their applications, a statement from the architect or urban planning consultant (if engaged at that stage) setting out in detail what they believe to be the processes involved in Council, other agency and utility approvals. For preference, this should take the form of a Critical Path Gant Chart and be coordinated, with respect of Critical Milestones, with both the Funding Agreement Schedule of Milestones and the primary risks in the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan. These Gant Charts should contain significant “float” for the potential delay effects.
  7. All Milestone Schedules should be expanded in both number and detail to allow closer monitoring of progress along the lines set out under “Land acquisition” in Section 7.2.2.
  8. Timeline programs that describe requirements for re-zoning of land (variously identified as “Material Changes of Use”, “Variations to Local Environmental Plans” etc.) should be closely inspected and interrogated for compliance with statutory, regulatory and likely procedures and outcomes. In virtually all jurisdictions, re-zoning is a process that rarely requires less than six months to complete and can extend to two years.
  9. Proposals that require re-zoning of land should also be required to engage the services of planning consultants at the earliest stages of the approval process. A template for monitoring and reporting of the steps involved in any re-zoning process should also be developed and made the basis for monitoring by both the funding recipients and the Department.
  10. In the cases of both land acquisition and re-zoning, a more pro-active approach by the Department in providing the reporting templates to the funding recipients at the outset will greatly assist in ensuring that adequate time allowances are made in project programs, early warning of variances from the process and program is given, and appropriate reactions and corrections to slippages are put in place.
  11. Funding recipients should be required to provide from their banks or financial Institutions, letters of confirmation of sufficient funding to commence and complete the projects.
  12. Funding recipients should also be required to establish stand-alone bank accounts for the receipt and expenditure of all funding for the projects and should require submission of transaction records, on bank letterhead, every month.
  13. Non-competitive contracting arrangements should be discouraged unless the funding recipient can demonstrate substantial benefits from a non-competitive process.
  14. Bills of Quantities should be required for all construction projects valued in excess of $3 million.
  15. Form AS 2124 should be mandated for use in all construction contracts.
  16. The Department should refuse approval to proceed with the engagement of contractors until acceptable “time is of the essence” clauses related to variations, delays and extensions of time are included in the construction contract;

  17. The funding recipients should only be permitted to vary designs after award of the construction contracts, when essential to the compliance of the buildings with applicable Codes and Standards. All other design changes to the size, amenity or function of the buildings should only be permitted after submission and prior approval of a written Impact Assessment to the Department by the funding recipient