Awarding of contracts for professional services well done

(Chapter 3—Contracting for Professional Services—Public Works and Government Services Canada - December 2008 Report of the Auditor General)

Ottawa, 5 February 2009—Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) followed the government’s rules when awarding contracts for professional services to help it deliver its own programs, says the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, in her Report tabled today in the House of Commons.

“A fair, open, and transparent award process is a significant finding in a Department that spends over $1 billion a year on contracts for professional services,” said Ms. Fraser.

The audit examined random samples of both publicly tendered and sole-sourced contracts for professional services of engineers, information technology consultants, and other specialists. It found that PWGSC complied with contracting rules in awarding 95 percent of the publicly tendered contracts and 96 percent of the sole-sourced contracts.  

There were problems, however, in the management of some other contracts once they had been awarded. For example, there were amendments that significantly changed the nature and value of the contract after it was awarded; and terms and conditions of contracts that were not enforced. There were four cases that represented a conflict of interest. There were also extensive, long-term contractual arrangements with individuals and companies that could create an employer-employee relationship and a risk of liability to the government.

In those cases, the Report says the problem was that management controls were not applied consistently.

“While the Department has proper rules in place, it needs to do more to ensure that contracts are properly managed after they have been awarded. The Department has agreed with our recommendations and has taken steps to correct the problems we identified,” said Ms. Fraser.

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The chapter “Contracting for Professional Services” is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site.

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