Preamble to management responses
The Government of Canada is committed to providing transparency to the general public about its contracting practices. This commitment has led to such initiatives as the creation of the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman, the Proactive Disclosure for contracts and amendments over $10,000, and the oversight role of the Management Accountability Framework. The Department of Justice Canada participates in these initiatives and actively supports them. It must be kept in mind, however, that many of the Department’s requirements are time-sensitive, given the varied nature of the legal services it provides, including litigation, and its lack of control over schedules for meeting court directions and deadlines.
Since the fall of 2009, when the audit was conducted, the Contracting Division has received some increased financial and human resources and improved its capacity to prepare and award contracts. The building of the contracting team and fulfilling the departmental contracting mandate has its challenges, notably: recruiting and retaining qualified purchasing and supply resources; providing advice to a highly decentralized organization where more than 600 employees have delegated contracting authority; focusing on strategic direction, while at the same time meeting day-to-day contracting needs; responding to parliamentary questions and access-to-information requests; and, keeping up with policy changes and participating in communities of practice.
The following management responses address the audit recommendations. We are continually working to: create and implement the necessary policy instruments; establish an effective Compliance and Monitoring Program; and, prepare and deliver training. We will also continue to find the balance with the need for clear accountability for contracting decisions and the responsiveness to meet our operational needs.
While some contracting challenges have already been addressed and improved upon, a sustained commitment to support the actions arising from the audit recommendations will result in the following: a sound contracting function, effective oversight and compliance-monitoring practices, and reliable policy instruments and enhanced training for departmental staff.
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