Procurement ombudsman releases annual report

Report summarizes ombudsman office's activities, identifies issues and outlines supplier and federal official feedback

October 12, 2017
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OTTAWA—Federal Interim Procurement Ombudsman Lorenzo Ieraci released his Annual Report for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which was tabled in parliament by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Carla Qualtrough.

The report summarizes the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman’s (OPO) activities in 2016-2017, identifies key issues in federal procurement and outlines the most common feedback received from suppliers and federal officials. Ieraci highlighted three procurement issues in his message:

Capacity: The lack of procurement specialist capacity in the federal public service is causing delays in many procurements and raising concerns about an increasing reliance on non-specialists. Without a concerted effort on the part of all federal organizations, including a coordinated approach to recruitment and development, capacity problems and associated impacts will continue to grow.

Standing Offers: Suppliers must invest time and energy to submit proposals to qualify on standing offers, without any guarantee of business. With the exception of the purchase of certain mandatory commodities, there is nothing requiring federal organizations to actually use the standing offers they establish. If they do, suppliers must be ready to provide the goods or services within very short timeframes. This means that suppliers need to make investments in inventory (for goods) or ensure they have access to quality resources (for services) to be able to deliver quickly on business they are not guaranteed to get.

Simpler procurement: A number of initiatives are being explored by federal organizations to modernize and simplify federal procurement. The challenge, however, is to develop procurement documents that are clear and simple enough for suppliers to respond to, while ensuring they are sufficiently detailed to lay out what is expected by federal organizations.

The 2016-2017 Annual Report can be found on OPO’s website.