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Table 10: Procurement and Contracting

Department Canadian Institutes of Health Research
1. Role played by the procurement and contracting in delivering programs.

The Procurement and Contracting Services Unit has a department-wide mandate to:

  • provide corporate leadership in the development of CIHR's procurement framework;
  • direct the development and implementation of procurement polices, strategies, and procedures to ensure all rules, regulations, contract law and domestic and international trade agreement obligations are complied with;
  • provide expert level advice and direction to senior management and employees involved in the contracting process;
  • procure goods and services for its clients; and
  • prepare management and legislative procurement reports.
2. Overview of how the department manages its contracting function.

The department operates in a centralized procurement environment.

Procurement transactions are processed in the Free Balance Procurement Module to enable more reliable and accurate data for monitoring, oversight and reporting purposes.

The majority of goods, regardless of dollar value, are procured using existing standing offers. The procurement of services, where feasible, are acquired through various methods of supply.

The newly created Contract Review Board (CRB) provides direction and support for the development of the department's procurement framework which includes procurement policies, procurement training, delegations and tools; and conducts regular oversight of all contracting activities to ensure compliance and value for money.

As well, the Procurement and Contracting Services Unit provides subject matter advice to departmental personnel on the development of cost-effective approaches for the procurement of goods and services, thereby ensuring all objectives are achieved within established deadlines and budgets.

3. Progress and new initiatives enabling effective and efficient procurement practices.

The level of competitively awarded contracts have slightly increased for services contracts.

A comprehensive procurement training manual has been developed for managers and departmental personnel most actively involved in the procurement process. Two 2-day pilot procurement courses have been delivered to various levels of personnel. Training delivery will be rolled out to all responsibility centre managers (RCMs) and their administrative assistants during the course of FY 07/08.

The department will decentralize its procurement activities. As such, RCMs will be delegated contracting authority for low dollar value services contracts only, subject to the successful completion of the procurement training course and a mandatory monitoring period.

An intranet site hosted by policies and reference documents, service standards, guides, templates, tools and forms will be developed during FY 07-08, to facilitate the day-to-day functions of departmental officials with contracting delegated authority.

A comprehensive analysis of the two most commonly acquired services will be conducted in FY 07-08 to establish various methods of supply.

Table 11: Service Improvement

CIHR assesses client satisfaction through surveys, pilot studies and direct contact via our telephone and e-mail hot lines. We publicize information on health research competitions, develop application processes and forms, provide advice and assistance to applicants, design and operate review processes, communicate decisions and organize payment processes. The CIHR website, is continually being modified to improve content and accessibility. Through ResearchNet and similar initiatives we are making the application process less onerous for researchers and more streamlined while still retaining the depth of information that is essential to a fair assessment of proposals.