GN needs more training, better application of NNI: Auditor General

AG calls for “clearer direction and timely training” in applying the Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuti policy

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

A new report from the office of the Auditor General of Canada says the Government of Nunavut has, for the most part, followed the rules in awarding and administering contracts.

The report, released Feb. 28, looked at the GN’s procurement framework — that is, how it acquires goods and services to maintain programs and operations — noting it “contains the key elements required to procure goods and services in an open and fair manner.”

But, the report also calls for “clearer direction and timely training” in consistently applying the Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuti policy, which favours qualified, Inuit-owned or Nunavut-based business bids in government contract awards.

The Auditor General also flagged weaknesses in the awarding of sole-source contracts, when a contract is awarded without public competition.

The report focuses on three entities, Community and Government Services (which acts as the GN’s main contracting authority), Nunavut Housing Corp. and Qulliq Energy Corp., and the combined $207 million those bodies spent on contracts for goods and services in 2010-2011.

GN departments and corporations are responsible for defining their procurement rules, while independent corporations are responsible for their own framework.

Here are some of the report’s other findings:

• QEC. has not formalized the procurement framework that it applies. The report found that QEC followed the rules in awarding competitive contracts for capital projects, but not contracts for other goods and services.

“Qulliq Energy Corporation lacked evidence that key controls were applied,” the report said. “It does not have the information it needs to manage the contracts adequately.”

• Nunavut Housing Corp. was missing key documentation to support the awarding of half of its competitive contracts the report looked at, which includes 12 contracts for the 2009–10 fiscal years and 11 contracts for 2010–11.

The Auditor General report also audited the awarding of contracts for medical travel in 2008 and in 2011.

“The scheduled medical travel contracts we examined were awarded according to the contracting rules,” the report said.

Many of the GN’s procurement shortcomings boiled down to a lack of capacity, as noted in previous audits.

Departments or corporations with more expertise had better results in the awarding and administering of contracts, the report said.

As a result of its findings, the Auditor General report recommended that staff in GN departments and corporations receive training on procurement rules and procedures.

And that training should be provided when staffers assume new responsibilities and when any changes to the procurement framework are introduced.

All three government bodies have agreed to the report and committed to following up on its recommendations.

See the full report in English here.

Download the Inuktitut version of the report here.

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