Tuesday, February 01, 2005


It Seem Like Only Yesterday....

The following are excerpts from The Standing Committee on Public Accounts report submitted to the House of Commons. In what year do you think this report was submitted? (I'll print the answer on June 1st.) Update: Actually, I did print the answer on June 1st, then I moticed a couple more people answered it after that. So I'll print the answer again later, maybe in a week or two.


5. The Auditor General reported that some Government Contract Regulations have been misinterpreted; and also revealed a number of weaknesses and deficiencies in contract administration at the government-wide level in the areas of:

(a) competitive tendering;
(b) pricing methods and payment terms;
(c) contract approvals in emergency situations;
(d) departmental delegations of authority;
(e) commitment authority; and
(f) payment of contractors' accounts.

The Auditor General made some specific recommendations in these areas.


"9. The Auditor General also revealed that a significant number of contracts were not awarded under a competitive tendering process but on an exception basis under Section 8 of the Government Contract Regulations. This Section requires that tenders be invited before entry into contract except where:
(a) the need is one of pressing emergency in which delay would be injurious to the public interest; or
(b) the estimated expenditure involved does not exceed $15,000; or
(c) the nature of the work is such that it would not be in the public interest to invite tenders; or
(d) only one person is capable of performing the contract.

"10. Testimony and evidence submitted to your Committee showed that .... 31.8 per cent of the contracts awarded by the Department of Supply and Services-Supply Administration ..... were in the sole-source category. .... Your Committee recognizes the fact that certain circumstances justify the non competitive selection of a contractor. However, your Committee holds the view that the contract regulations for the category of exception are open to either misinterpretation or avoidance of the purpose and intent of Section 8, because of the reliance in large measure upon a subjective test for qualification.

"11. Your Committee recommends that:
(a) the Treasury Board adopt stronger measures to ensure that departments and agencies comply with Government Contract Regulations;
(b) the Comptroller General ensure that the internal audit function monitors compliance;
(c) the Auditor General continue to follow up on those areas where deficiencies and deviations have been identified;
(d) the Treasury Board undertake a special review of Section 8 of the Government Contract Regulations for the purpose of defining the four exceptions with greater objective precision; and
(e) the Auditor General proceed with an evaluation of the use of the exceptions under Section 8 of the Government Contract Regulations.

"12. Your Committee respectfully seeks an early response from the Government to the above recommendations in order that it be informed of the corrective action taken.
.....(end of extract)"


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