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Table 15: Procurement and Contracting

In order to reduce the volume of printed material, this table is not to be included in the printed DPR.


Points to Address

Department's Input

1. Role played by procurement and contracting in delivering programs

Procurement and contracting are essential in terms of providing goods and services to the Department by contracting for services and procuring goods, particularly in the scientific and research disciplines. Collaboration, sharing of expertise and related information, as well as providing operational support, are key to ongoing policy and program delivery.

2. Overview of how the department manages its contracting function

Procurement and contracting are highly decentralized by branch and by region, with program managers designated with budgetary responsibilities as contracting authorities based on the Delegation of Financial Signing Authorities.  Contract and procurement specialists provide support services directly to program branch operations in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in the Regions provide functional liaison through Regional Senior Financial Officer.  Senior contract specialists have been co-located within each branch to provide improved oversight as part of the Contract and Requisition Control Committee and to promote procurement planning and the development of procurement strategies with the cooperation of program managers.  Staffing is underway to provide similar capacity in every Region.

Ongoing training is provided to cost centre managers and support staff who are involved in the contract process to ensure that informed decisions are made in compliance with regulations, policies and procedures.

A quality assurance group, working in conjunction with internal audit, periodically assesses elements of contracting activity, including the use of acquisition cards, to ensure that the Department conforms to government policy on procurement and contracting.

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

In order to enhance the Department's capacity to provide improved service with respect to contracting and in response to the Accountability Act and the Procurement Reform Initiative, lead by PWGSC, additional resources were added and new initiatives undertaken.

New positions were created and staff deployed to each branch within the NCR to provide consultation, advice and oversight as part of the Contract Requisition and Control Committee function, to develop procurement strategies for program managers and to liaise with all parties regarding the processing and administration of contracts.  A similar network of staff will soon be in place to provide support to the regions.

As part of its new Contract Management Framework, the Contract Requisition and Reporting System was introduced to the Department and can be described as a contract tracking, workflow and approval system.  This system captures approximately 80 percent of contracting activities and continues to be expanded. It provides improved capacity to report on contract activity, to respond to Access to Information and Ministerial enquiries and also incorporates a review and approval workflow for contracts.  Training was completely rolled out to the regions and the NCR.

An action plan was developed specific to the integration of the Government of Canada Marketplace.  Staff  have participated in training for commodity panel participation and are actively involved in the commodity panel for temporary help services.  The use of mandatory standing offers and the standing offer index offered by PWGSC were discussed and enhancements made, followed by a bulletin to all departmental employees requesting compliance in the use of mandatory standing offers.

Annual Materiel Management Workshops are held to develop common understanding and working knowledge of contracting and materiel management issues.  Presentations were given by managers from Materiel and Assets Management Directorate and Legal Services.

New working tools were introduced to eliminate gaps in contract documentation formalizing certain contract activities. The Local Purchase Order for Services was created to contract for "basic" service delivery up to a maximum of $5,000 and the Memorandum of Agreement was created to include contractual clauses in agreements between Health Canada and other provincial/territorial or municipal administrations thereby replacing the Memorandum of Understanding where there is a transfer of funds.