Ken Erwood

Ken Erwood – Principal Consultant

Procurement, Probity Expert
Ken Erwood has 25 years experience as a specialist in probity advising and government procurement including senior executive experience at Purchasing Australia and the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Ken Erwood is an expert in probity guidance and advice for Government business.

He has firsthand experience of the policy, political and operational environments that exist for Government agencies, having worked in Government, private enterprise and as an adviser to Government Ministers and has a detailed knowledge of Government spending processes.

Ken’s attributes specific to probity advising are:

  • Detailed knowledge of Commonwealth Government legislation, rules, procedures and policies. He has written Procurement Guides for many Departments and agencies;
  • Applying probity principles to project planning and management, including risk analysis, due diligence and evaluation methodologies;
  • Practical understanding of the spending processes, including preparation, planning, approaches to market, evaluation and selection, Contract negotiations & management, project management.

Ken’s personal attributes are:

  • Strong ethical approach and attention to detail;
  • Excellent policy and analytical skills;
  • Good planning and implementation capability, matched with skills in managing large, high performing, teams of people;
  • Strong marketing skills and experience.

Ken’s experience in providing probity advice:

  • Large agencies, including DSS, Agriculture, Health, Environment & Veterans Affairs;
  • Large and complex projects, such as the National Gallery extension 1B, valued at $100 million;
  • Tailoring advice to a range of project sizes;
  • Reviewing and understanding a broad range of applicable legislation and policies;
  • Focusing on practical measures that will result in value-for-money outcomes; and
  • Grants and related funding arrangements.


Ken’s general experience in probity includes:

  • Independent consultant for over twenty years advising on all aspects of government spending;
  • Has worked with several specialist clients to develop tailored approaches to practical probity;
  • Expertise include ensuring the integrity of contract management, performance management of suppliers, procurement planning, market research, program and project evaluation, audits, business process re-engineering, strategic planning, and purchasing performance.
  • Practical understanding of probity issues and the procurement process because of daily involvement in the processing of tenders and contracts;
  • Knowledge is not merely theoretical or legal but based on a practical understanding of public accountability issues;
  • Probity adviser for major purchasing projects involving annual expenditures exceeding $180 million.

Program Management

Gateway Reviewer:

  • The Gateway review process implemented for the Australian Government by the Department of Finance and Deregulation is based on an approach developed and pioneered by the Office of Government Commerce (UK). The OGC also developed the Managing Successful Programs and Prince2 project management methodologies and the Gateway review process owes much to these methodologies.
  • The Gateway review is designed as a fast and effective way to get a reality check on a major project (the nominal threshold value is $10 million) at key points in the project cycle. Gateway reviews are conducted and reported within 5 working days.
  • Ken is an accredited Gateway reviewer for the Australian Government and has conducted 13 Gateway reviews. These reviews were for gates 1 (business case), 2 (procurement strategy), 3 (investment decision) and 4 (Readiness For Service) and 5 (Benefits Realisation).
  • The reviews follow a published methodology that focuses on the business case, governance, financials, project and risk management and benefits realisation plans.

Major ICT Projects:

  • Outsourcing of ICT Desktop, LAN, Helpdesk and Midrange Services for a Department (about 3,000 desktops).  The Department needed to go to the market against a tight deadline for a replacement outsourced ICT provider because the current contract could not be extended further. Erwood Accelerated Purchasing wrote the Statement of Work, develop the RFT document, prepared an evaluation plan and prepared a detailed project management plan.   The RFT included rigorous environmental standards for the equipment that would be supplied under the contract.  The value over the proposed span of the contract is approximately $100m.
  • Acquisition of an IT specialist adviser and systems implementer, and sourcing a complete desktop replacement (250 desktops);
  • Intergovernmental Telepresence Project which will provide a TV-quality videoconferencing network linking Government departments around Australia through a secure network. This will reduce the need for air travel, reduce the carbon footprint through a reduction in green house gas emissions and increase productivity for Parliamentarians and officials. Erwood Accelerated Purchasing prepared the Project Implementation Document, Procurement Plans, Probity Plan, Terms of Reference for the steering committee, Stage Gate reports for the IT Governance Committee, Business Plan, Project Management Plan (including key stakeholders, roles and responsibilities, project schedule, major deliverables, and risk assessment).

Other Major Projects:

  • Procurement planning for Human Resource panel, drafting the Statement of Requirement, preparing tender documents and evaluation methodology, briefing evaluation teams and provide probity advice;
  • Develop a procurement strategy for a major new Government program ($70 million over 5 years);
  • Provide and manage a sourcing strategy for a Construction Manager for a $55 million building project; provide continuous probity advice on all trade sub-contract packages throughout the 5 year project;
  • Establish a panel of publishing services providers (including design, proof-reading, editorial, indexing, transcription & picture research) for a major National cultural agency; and
  • Plan and implement a National panel of property service providers for a large Department which included relocations, fitout and construction, building consultancies (architects, cost planners, engineers, project managers and environmental services).
Community Work

Ken has been involved in many voluntary activities where the roles call for good communication and interpersonal skills and an ability to work constructively with volunteers to achieve organisational aims. These roles include:

  • assist to co-found a community & child care service (Tuggeranong Family Action, now known as Tuggeranong Community Service) and was the chairperson for the first few years (circa late 1970s);
  • President of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of ACT for 5 years;
  • Member of the National Board of Taoist Tai Chi Society of Australia Inc. (current); and
  • Volunteer Tai chi instructor for Taoist Tai Chi Society.
Employment History

Ken has held a number of employment positions both as a private consultant from 1997 to present and within the APS from 1961 to 1989, these include:

  • Principal Consultant, Resolution Consulting Services, (2013 to present) – procurement systems and government purchasing;
  • Managing Director, Erwood Accelerate Purchasing, (1997 to 2016) – procurement systems and government purchasing;
  • Purchasing Australia, Department of Administrative Services (1989 to 1997) – Senior Manager, (strategic customer research, systems management, information technology purchasing, purchasing policy, client services);
  • Department Veterans Affairs, (1976 to 1989) -Policy research, legislation, implementation of the Assets Test;
  • Minister for Social Security, WA (1975) – Senior Private Secretary;
  • Minister for Veterans Affairs, WA (1974) – Senior Advisor;
  • Department Veterans Affairs (1966 to 1974) – Manager of British Pensions & pensioners overseas. Senior Manager (benefits policies, public relations, system design & implementation, legislation).and
  • Department Public Works (1963 to 1966) – bookkeeping and accounting.
  • Department Veterans Affairs (1961 to 1963) – arrangement of pension and medical services.
  • Associate Fellow of Australian Institute of Management
  • Professional member of Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply Australia (CIPSA)
Client Organisations
  • ACT Health Supply Service
  • Attorney-General’s Department
  • Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Australian Public Service Commission
  • Cancer Australia
  • Centrelink
  • Child Support Agency
  • Defence Housing Authority
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Australia
  • Department of Climate Change
  • Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Family & Community Services
  • Department of Finance & Deregulation
  • Department of Health and Ageing
  • Department of Immigration & Multicultural Affairs
  • Department of Social Security
  • Department of Transport and Regional Services
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Family Court of Australia
  • Federal Magistrate Service
  • Health Insurance Commission
  • Intellectual Property Australia
  • Medicare Australia
  • National Film and Sound Archive
  • National Gallery of Australia
  • National Library of Australia
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Productivity Commission
  • Screen Australia
  • Wheat Export Authority
  • Workplace Ombudsman