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PWGSC responds to growing procurement concerns

Potential procurement reform will reflect best value for Canadian taxpayers

According to the communications officer of <a href="Public Works Government Services Canada, the department is committed to an open, fair and transparent competitive procurement process in purchasing IT goods and services.

However, Tricia Van der Grient, added PWGSC, which is responsible for providing and managing IT services to the Government of Canada will also try to obtain the best value for Canadians.

This statement from PWGSC was in response to upcoming federal government procurement reform which may cut out the small and medium enterprise (SME) channel.

Kelly Bizeau, president of MarketWorks in Ottawa hosted an event called Federal IT 911 to drum up awareness in the channel since she believes the federal government will have little choice but to change the procurement process of IT products and services because of a looming $50 billion budget deficit.

Van der Grient did say that PWGSC is currently active in modernizing the procurement process for the Government of Canada and is conducting many activities intended to help Canadian buyers and sellers gain better access to federal opportunities. These activities include talking to IT solution providers in the national capital region.

“There are no pre-determined one size fits all procurement approaches for IT products and services. PWGSC has and will continue to consult with the IT industry and its representatives on how to best procure these goods and services,” Van der Grient said.

Also at issue is the role of Shared Services in the new procurement reform. Bizeau said in an earlier interview that Shared Services may be turned into a competitor against the SME channel.

Van der Grient said that Shared Services is an ongoing infrastructure management activity to modernize aging government IT infrastructure services using various existing and enhanced service delivery methods.

“There are no pre-determined approaches and PWGSC is actively consulting with the IT infrastructure service providers from all sectors on how to best procure these goods and services. The result will be a sustainable IT government infrastructure that continues to offer value for money and services that departments and agencies can use to provide more effective services for Canadians,” Van der Grient said.

Market analyst Michelle Warren of MW Research & Consulting of Toronto has been watching this development in Ottawa thinks the situation is paramount for the SME channel. However, she said the channel may have an option to work with Shared Services in a complimentary fashion.

Van der Grient reiterated that the Government of Canada has been consulting with different stakeholders including the IT industry getting their feedback to help guide PWGSC on renewal activities which the department thinks will contribute to making Government procurement more cost efficient and transparent.

As an example, PWGSC’s Office of the Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) works with small and medium enterprises, including IT suppliers. Van der Grient said OSME has a mandate to improve small and medium enterprises’ access to government contract opportunities by reducing procurement barriers, simplifying the contracting process, providing training and education to businesses wishing to do business with the government, collaborating with them to improve procurement policies and best practices.