There have been a number of inaccurate reports regarding KPMG’s work in relation to Census 2021. It is important to set the record straight.
KPMG categorically rejects allegations that we ‘rigged’ a review of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) IT systems or that we ‘watered down’ findings.
KPMG was engaged by the ABS to provide expert advice in preparation for the 2021 Census. The scope of KPMG’s work was to ascertain whether technology being implemented as part of the ABS's Transformation Project (to update ageing statistical infrastructure) may also be used as part of the ABS’s delivery of Census 2021. This work was not a review of the ABS’s Transformation Project.
KPMG’s work was undertaken over a period of 16 weeks and included three phases:
a) information gathering based on a document review and interviews (Discovery);
b) detailed analysis flowing from 10 workshops engaging collaboratively between all areas of Census and the Transformation team (Analysis); and
c) the preparation of a report that consolidated and reported on the outcomes of the 10 workshops (Reporting).
As in any multi-phased piece of work, the findings evolved over the course of the work as more detailed analysis was undertaken and further information was considered.
KPMG’s Final Report detailed the potential for the capabilities being developed through the ABS’s Transformation Project to meet the requirements for the 2021 Census. It did not make any recommendations.
The Report also highlighted that there are potential long term benefits (e.g. efficiency, standardisation and modernisation) of moving towards ABS shared functionality with Census leveraging an integrated platform.
The ABS reiterates: “We categorically deny claims that we tried to influence the outcomes of a KPMG review of the alignment between the technology elements of the ABS Transformation project and the technology requirements of Census 2021. The ABS did not guide KPMG towards any conclusion, but wanted their objective view.”
“The ABS takes its responsibilities to appropriately procure advice and spend taxpayer funds very seriously. The awarding of the job to KPMG was made in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Policy.”
“We are fully satisfied with the quality of the work conducted by KPMG.”
KPMG commented: “We are disappointed that one of our clients has been caught up in this situation. Independence and quality are our absolute priorities. And we are confident in our delivery on this for ABS.”