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Summit Column



Letters to the Editor
March 2002

Procurement pros carry on fine tuning

I [attended] the Canadian Forum on Public Procurement in St. John’s, Newfoundland, [where], I listened to procurement professionals debating the issues surrounding getting best value for the public expenditures they manage while respecting the challenge of providing fair and equal opportunity to suppliers. When you think about it, there are only three ways that governments spend your money: payroll, grants, and expenditures on goods and services. The latter portion, the purview of procurement professionals, represents about 45 percent of total government expenditures in Canada. Intuition tells me that if you ranked countries in order of whatever the in-vogue measure of development is, there would be a very strong correlation with the maturity of and rigour found in their procurement policies and procedures –not news to anyone [trying] to sell products or services into developing countries where who you know or who you pay is often most important.

In Canada we’re darn good at effective, efficient public sector procurement and, thanks to the efforts of the likes of the attendees at the conference and those in their organizations, getting even better all the time. I applaud your efforts.

Gordon Kyle, Procurement Consultant and Director
Atlantic Region for Partnering and Procurement Inc.

Kudos and proposals

[Returning to the office] following the holiday season, [I found the] latest complimentary issue of Summit magazine waiting for me. Although not currently active in federal procurement policy, I found it a pleasant start to the New Year – the best issue to date. It’s inviting, broadly informative, balanced, educating and well laid out. I might, in my advancing years, wish for a larger font, but I realize that’s a trade-off with quantity of material to cover. I particularly appreciated the story on the MMI and the articles by Wilson, Lalonde, Asner and Gordon.

I invite you to consider future coverage on this statement in Lalonde’s article: “Trying to prepare a fair, challenge-proof RFP for telecommunications services has to be one of the most daunting takes in federal procurement today.” Complexity is always a challenge to communicate. Therefore, those who can do it well provide a great public service to vendors, procurement officials and taxpayers. I have long held the view that the cost to taxpayers of a fair and equitable procurement process has not yet been well told. [It] would be interesting to follow a high profile procurement and a routine one from the cost-of-procurement perspective. It might make the current debate over appropriate transition costs a little more informed.

Martin C. Dunn, Voluntary Sector Project Office
Treasury Board Secretariat

Note: Summit reserves the right to edit letters to the Editor.




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