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Smart Procurement

Review & Recommendations


By the
Information Technology Association of Canada

March 30, 2015

As Canadas national ICT business association, the Information Technology Association of


Canada (ITAC) champions the development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in
Canada. A vital connection between business and government, we provide our members with
the advocacy, networking and professional development services that help them to thrive
nationally and compete globally. A prominent advocate for the expansion of Canadas
innovative capacity, ITAC encourages technology adoption to capitalise on productivity and
performance opportunities across all sectors. A member-driven not-for-profit, ITAC has served
as the authoritative national voice of the $150-billion ICT industry for 60 years. More than
33,500 Canadian ICT firms create and supply goods and services that contribute to a more
productive, competitive and innovative society. The ICT sector generates one million jobs
directly and indirectly and invests $4.8 billion annually in R&D, more than any other private
sector performer.

2015 Information Technology Association of Canada

Smart Procurement

Smart Procurement

ITAC Recommendations:
1. Improve Business
Processes and Rules of
Engagement
2. Enhance Transparency

Background
ITAC wishes to acknowledge the work of both Public Works
and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and Shared
Services Canada (SSC) in advancing the Smart Procurement
initiative.

ITAC views Smart Procurement in terms of the outcomes


achieved for government, citizens and industry. Our members
believe that outcomes can be measured in terms of:

Robust competition for government requirements;

The government achieving its business objectives for


citizens; and

The ability of our members to make a reasonable


return on investment.

A reasonable return on investment in turn drives where top


ICT talent and resources flow. As well, it fuels and funds
innovation by industry.
ITAC recognizes that the federal Government has special
responsibilities and public policy requirements to consider in
procurement. At the same time, public sector ICT
procurement accounts for the largest single share of ICT
procurement in the Canadian economy and accordingly, it has
a significant impact on the overall prosperity and productivity
efficiencies of Canadian industry.

3. Align with Commercial


Practices for terms &
conditions.
4. Improve Evaluation
Procedures & Selection
Methodologies
5. Improve Security
Processing
6. The continued
incorporation of
appropriate strategies for
SMEs within federal
IM/IT procurement
framework
7. Improve Design of
Service Delivery
Frameworks, Metrics,
Options evaluated, for
Outcomes for Canadians
8. Review the Access of
Suppliers to Fairness
Monitors

Smart Procurement

This brief provides ITAC feedback on those elements of Smart Procurement which our members have
experienced so far and their insights on the application of Smart Procurement in the ICT sector to date.
It applies to federal government information management and technology requirements and also
includes government service delivery and business transformation initiatives. Generally, there is a
high dependence on leveraging information technology and management systems for internal and
external government services.
Concrete examples are being provided which illustrate areas where our members have had concerns
and would like to see further refinements in the application of the Smart Procurement Initiatives.
Examples are provided in Appendix A.

Refinements to Smart Procurement


Early Engagement
ITAC fully supports SSC and PWGSCs move for early industry engagement. In fact, ITAC proposed a
collaborative procurement model to both PWGSC and SSC which has been adopted for much
procurement. However, suppliers are finding a significant amount of communication is not held
sufficiently early in the process. Also, it is one-directional whereby suppliers have provided inputs but
have not received government feedback or closure on their ideas.
ITAC members make a significant contribution to the SSC and PWGSC industry committees,
specifically the Information Technology Infrastructure Roundtable (ITIR) and its 2 current sub
committees, the Architecture Framework Advisory Committee, and the Procurement Benchmarking
Advisory Committee, as well as the now disbanded Committees on Smart Sourcing and Innovation.
ITAC is also an active participant on PWGSCs Supplier Advisory Committees. Suppliers who
participate on a voluntary basis receive minimal feedback as to how the outputs from their
participation are used or why their recommendations are rejected.
During procurement processes, ideas put forward with a view to expanding competition are frequently
rejected with a curt no response without any rationale or explanation.
Our members understand the rules on transparency and the challenges associated with obtaining open
dialogue amongst competitors at Industry Days. We also appreciate the divergent ideas and opinions
that PWGSC and SSC receive from supplier one on one meetings and that it is a considerable
challenge to sort through the various inputs to arrive at optimal solutions for the enterprise of the
federal government.
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While we appreciate early engagement and participation on various SSC forums, bid costs for the
Government and for ICT firms that participate in these processes, particularly those that are short
listed, have become very high. Restrictions such as requiring that supplier resources must all be
physically present at supplier meetings for short listed firms versus joining through a conference call
put unnecessary stress on businesses.
Substantive elements of the procurement such as the liability to be assumed, penalty structures,
supplier evaluation criteria, and other terms and conditions are being discussed too late in the
procurement process. This is a problem for industry as these business fundamentals are important
considerations for suppliers in determining whether they should make the investment associated with
an opportunity pursuit.
In the interests of ensuring that Smart Procurement be perceived and experienced by the Government
and the ICT industry to its full potential, our members are providing the feedback that follows:

ITAC Observations on Early Engagement

Desired Improvements

1. Business Processes and Rules of Engagement

1. Improve Business Processes and Rules of


Engagement

Three process improvements for better processes


and rules of engagement for managing
collaborative processes and Industry
Committees are recommended.
1.1 Absence of feedback and closure for industry
experts who participate on SSC Committees

1.1 Improve feedback and disclosure

Our members are providing access to top experts


in ICT to SSC Committees. They would like to
understand how their inputs are being processed,
being used for decision making and they wonder
why some ideas put forward are rejected.

1.2 Government business owners are not


engaged in the dialogue to provide
meaningful discussion on the business
rationale behind certain requirements.

1.2 Ensure that government business owners


are engaged in dialogue with industry to
discuss outcomes sought and the rationale
for requirements.

Smart Procurement

1.3 Government limits dialogue too early in the


process. ITAC members have often been
advised that it is not possible for any
informal questions or discussion once an RFI
has been issued. While we support rules for
fairness and transparency, they do not
require all conversation to end until an RFP
has been released.

1.3 Maintain open lines of communication


with industry until a formal RFP is issued,
subject to fairness to all suppliers.

Hallmarks of a better process and rules of


engagement for managing consultation.
Provide feedback and closure for industry
participants as to how inputs are translated
into outputs
Communicate government business
objectives and problems that are the drivers
for the specific procurement
Extend & open formal questions until a
formal RFP is issued

2. Transparency concerns
2.1 Substantive business elements are solidified
too late in the process (Example: finalizing
Limitation of Liability requirements at time
of final RFP release to a short list of bidders)
2.2 Government could share more information
on the procurement earlier in the process
(example selection methodology)

Ideally, each procurement should include a clear


schedule published the first day of the Review
and Refine Requirements (RRR) stage, a minimum
of 1 opportunity to meet one on one with the
Crown and the time to comment on each draft
RFP document
2.3 Suppliers inputs are at times, not taken into
account
2.4 Government participants gravitate to inputs
already supporting their preconceived
government positions
2.5 While lengthy discussions about

2. Requesting enhanced transparency

Hallmarks of enhanced transparency:


Consistent engagement
Engagement time periods commensurate
with significance of the procurement &
impact on the ICT supply chain
Active listening for both parties and sharing
more information earlier;

Government develops an approach to better


weight and process diverse inputs
Business fundamentals to be identified
earlier in the collaboration process to allow
firms to make timely investment decisions.

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technical requirements may take place,


some RFPs are being released with
elements that unnecessarily limit
competition and/or add unnecessary costs
to the solutions
3. Terms and conditions

3. Requesting alignment with commercial practices


for specific terms and conditions such as
Limitation of Liability (LOL) and IT Supply
There is a misalignment with commercial business
Chain Security etc.
practices for specific procurement terms and
conditions. Examples of specific areas of concern
are identified below.
3.1 Limitation of liability (LOL) is a major
concern for ITACs members
3.1.1
The LOL for many federal
governments requirements
significantly exceeds the levels
established for our members large
commercial clients of comparable
stature.
3.1.2
There is an absence of joint
management of risk in that the
government itself is unable to
mitigate many risks but would
expect a supplier to be able to do
so.

There are other ways within large project scopes


for industry and government to jointly manage
risk which would not drive up prices to the same
extent as requiring higher LOL thresholds.
The practice of pushing either finalization or
resolution of this critical contract term late in the
procurement processes is a problem for
Industry. It frequently requires approvals from
the Chief Executive Officers of international
companies often outside of Canada.

Hallmarks of Alignment with commercial


Practices for LOL and risk management:
Sharing risk assessments with short listed
companies
Government working with short listed
companies to identify strategies within the
project framework to address risk
A separate stream of work outside of each
procurement opportunity to establish
principles for the contentious terms and
conditions
Meaningful dialogue about LOL levels
Earlier identification of LOL, so firms can
make a bid/no bid decision
LOL levels set at comparable levels for other
large commercial clients of comparable
stature
Comparable terms and conditions should be
used for large business transformation
projects which usually have heavy ICT
enablement as those used for traditional
IM/IT projects

ITAC has raised this as an area of concern to


government (SSC and PWGSC) for the last several
years; however, despite commitments and good
intentions to discuss, there has been little progress
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in addressing this issue.


The solution industry puts forward to government
as a result of dramatically high LOL may be
different than the solution presented for a
reasonable LOL. An unreasonable LOL may also
result in a no bid decision from potential bidders
who may not be able to find a way to manage the
Hallmarks of Alignment with commercial
risks associated with the LOL, reducing the level
Practices for service levels and basis of payment:
of competition.

3.2

4.

Exorbitant penalties for unnecessarily high


service levels agreements out of line with
industry standards

Realign service level agreements and


associated penalties with industry standards
for operations of comparable scale and scope
to government operations

3.3 Basis of Payment - Requesting fixed prices


for work where there is too much risk for
the suppliers to be able to provide fixed
prices

A willingness to work with suppliers to


ensure that the basis of payment aligns with
the business risk and that there is
congruence between the basis of payment
and the Statement of Work.

3.4 No guarantee of revenue, or volume


metrics provided in the terms and
conditions make it impossible for bidders
to assess the business case, or for officers
of the company to approve a competitive
bid price. This leads to higher prices, and
reduced competition as bidders drop out
of the process due to the lack of a business
case.

The guarantee of revenue and/or business


volume to be awarded needs to be discussed
early in the process, and clearly stated in the
RFP.

Evaluation Procedures and Selection


Methodologies are problematic
4.1 Technical Scoring of Proposals Transformative and other procurement
requirements necessitate some of the
highest skills of any opportunities in
Canada and these skills sets are
undervalued in the allocations of points to
the technical evaluation and its prominence
in the overall selection methodology.

4. Improve the Evaluation Procedures and


Selection Methodologies for Procurement to
weight outcomes

Hallmarks of Alignment of Improved Evaluation


Procedures and Selection Methodologies:
A willingness to put more emphasis on the
technical merit and capabilities versus
making price the determining factor

Smart Procurement

4.2 Financial Scoring of Proposals - There are


times when the financial evaluation
templates do not necessarily lead to
sensible results.

4.3 Selection of Suppliers - For transformative IT


projects, suppliers believe that they are being
too heavily driven by price and government
is not recognizing the inherent risk and
unknowns as solutions are complex. (See
Example 1. ETI)
4.4 Weighting of Options - Options are
sometimes under weighted in the financial
scoring grid in comparison to their cost in
the total solution and consequently suppliers
load more costs into the options.

PWGSC and SSC take greater due diligence


in establishing the financial scoring of
proposals and developing the financial grids
for completion

Greater emphasis be placed on the technical


proposal versus putting the preponderance
of weighting on the financial aspect

Aligning the financial weighting of options


in line with their estimated value within the
total solution

.
5. Security requirements for the members to be
part of the Federal IT Supply Chain are causing
concern, along with delays in the processing of
security clearances

5. Clarify the supply chain security requirements,


so that the benchmark to be met is known and
improve security clearance processing.

Hallmarks for Improvements to the Requirements:


5.1 Within the context of ensuring the security of
the ICT Supply Chain, the criteria for
acceptance or rejection of a supplier is
hidden under a veil of national security.

Acceptance decision criteria are not well


documented or published.

A methodology for suppliers to be able to


verify the acceptability of a potential
subcontractor or secondary supplier (a type
of quick check) for inclusion in their supply
chain is required

5.2 The 2 strikes youre out aspect of the


Government ICT Supply Chain Security
approach is too punitive when suppliers
have no way of verifying up front whether
or not a supplier will be acceptable.

If greater transparency of unacceptable


suppliers is not possible, relaxation of the
2 strikes rule be adopted

5.3 Firms that receive contracts may have to


experience lengthy delays in the processing
of their personnel due to government

Improving timelines for file processing


where companies win a contract and cannot
start work due to security processing,

Smart Procurement

workloads. This can result in the loss of


resources put forward due to their
acceptance of other work.

putting these cases at the front of the line


Process be reviewed to look at reducing the
cost, administration and processing timelines

5.4 The registration process for Controlled


Goods for independent contractors
requires the completion of 2 documents
and providing supporting
documentation. In the past there was not
a fee to register. However, now with the
upcoming $700 annual fee; this will be
quite a burden for companies in the
technical and professional services areas
which often need to establish teams to
undertake project work.

Benefits for Canadians


A key concern for ITAC members is that changes in federal government procurement do not
inadvertently impact the potential for the Canadian ICT to support a robust and innovative delivery
capability. Rather, as the federal government introduces changes, they should be mindful of the role of
procurement to also support innovation, improve productivity and foster efficiencies in a way that
enhances the Canadian ICT supply chain.
ITAC members span large, medium and small enterprises and aboriginal and non- aboriginal
businesses, across the spectrum of original equipment manufacturers, software publishers, distributors,
solution providers and professional and technical services providers.
In 2013, the total IT spend in Canada was approximately $47.17B. The federal government accounted
for approximately 6.8% and when all levels of government are included this percentage was
approximately 9.5% of the total Canadian ICT spend. While the federal government percentage may
not seem high, the federal government and Canadian financial institutions jockey for the 1st and 2nd
largest single clients of the IT industry in Canada. They both, therefore, have a considerable impact on
the health of the Canadian ICT supply chain and, indeed, the Canadian economy.
ITAC members understand the federal supply base of ICT suppliers will shrink considerably as the
government moves to modernize, standardize, rationalize and simplify the GOC enterprise

Smart Procurement

infrastructure and application landscape. ITAC members are concerned about the potential impact on
their companies, as well as Canadian competitiveness.
ITAC and its members are actively participating in the current review of socioeconomic benefits by the
Procurement Benchmarking Advisory Committee. We support the idea of using the procurement
process to produce socioeconomic requirements for Canadians. As part of this process, it is important
to ensure that rated requirements in procurements are not seen as the only mechanism to produce
socioeconomic benefits. It is also important to review the overall structure and approach to
procurements to ensure there are opportunities for all types of businesses, large and small, to compete.

ITAC Observations for Benefits for Canadians

Desired Improvement

6. Changes in federal ICT procurement have the


potential to significantly impact SMEs and
aboriginal companies

6. Requesting the continued incorporation of


appropriate strategies for SMEs and aboriginal
companies and to support innovation within
federal ICT procurement framework

Changes in federal ICT procurement appear to be


significantly impacting SMEs and aboriginal
companies.
Careful consideration and efforts to understand the
associated implications of change on the ICT supply
chain are required. The Government should avoid
attempts to customize the supply chain model
that exists to serve the commercial marketplace.

7. Procurements could achieve better service


delivery outcomes for Canadians

When considering sourcing options, the


total cost of ownership is often not
considered or undervalued. Many of the
procurements that have occurred have
focused on low prices for the base
hardware, software or applications
without considering the cost to install
and operate a solution. There have been

Hallmarks for improvements:


Ensure that the approach to produce
socioeconomic benefits is based on a
broad approach to provide competitive
opportunities for all types of businesses.
Efforts are taken to understand the
implications on the companies that make
up the ICT supply chain and to align with
the marketplace generally, where
possible.

7. Design of Service Delivery Frameworks and


options evaluated, for outcomes for Canadians
Hallmarks for improvements in this area:
PWGSC and SSC ensure that the total cost of
ownership (TCO) is considered within the
overall procurement strategies
More flexibility be shown when suppliers
put forth suggestions during the

Smart Procurement

unrealistic make or buy business cases


for government requirements where the
labour, cost of operating facilities and
sunk etc. costs have been excluded

There are times when the government


has been unwilling to share business
cases and their risk assessments for
projects

While we appreciate that the Total


Cost of Ownership elements of a
business case are open to interpretation,
nevertheless, we urge the Government
of Canada to take a holistic total cost of
ownership approach in establishing its
business cases.

procurement process; there appears to be


a tendency to say no to requested
changes
Suppliers have access to government
business cases and have the opportunity
to suggest improvements
Move to fully loaded business cases
Sharing of business cases and risk
assessments early in the engagement
Ask industry to help improve business
cases
Government identifies early to suppliers
the business outcomes they are seeking
and allows suppliers to provide early
inputs

We also believe that if industry has a


chance to comment on the business
cases early in the process, valuable
industry insights on the Total Cost of
Ownership can be provided.

Independent Advice
The seeking of independent advice is considered essential by ITAC in moving forward with the GOC
enterprise ICT transformation. ITAC supports the use of Third Party Experts to provide estimates,
benchmarking, validation, advice, evaluations, oversight, and fairness monitoring. In fact, ITAC
believes that the government should more broadly interpret independent advice and come to the
industry experts to obtain advice.
Our members have generously given their time to participate on the SSC Advisory Committees and we
will continue to do so.
Our observations relating to areas where we believe independent advice should be further leveraged
follow.

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ITAC Observations on Independent Advice


8. Concerns around how fairness monitors are
used in procurement processes

There is a concern that fairness monitors


are not accessible to suppliers and are
not really independent owing to their
contractual relationship with the Crown.
When suppliers are concerned that a
process may be biased, allowing the
supplier direct access to fairness monitor
would ensure the fairness monitor is
engaged and aware of the concerns of
specific suppliers.

Desired Improvement
8. Provide suppliers with access to fairness
monitors
Hallmarks of the use of fairness monitors
Suppliers have access to Fairness monitors to
identify their concerns directly
Fairness Monitors are empowered to respond
to fairness related concerns raised by
suppliers

Closing Remarks
Smart Procurement requires that all stakeholders take ownership of their contributions to the end goal
to procure smartly. ITAC appreciates the opportunity to submit this paper as we believe it will assist
the government to advance the Smart Procurement initiative even further. We know that our members
also have a role to play in addressing the identified improvements and we look forward to working
together to make Smart Procurement a reality for industry and government. ITAC welcomes any
feedback from PWGSC and SSC and, to that end, we would propose a session to review the
recommendations, as well as discussions in the SSC ITIR and the PWGSC Supplier Advisory
Committees. Our members are committed to continuous improvement to achieve the most effective
smart and collaborative procurement systems possible.

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Appendix A - Examples of ITAC Concerns

Example 1 - SSC Email Transformation Initiative (ETI) Solicitation # 2BOKB-12-3327/C


Illustrates multiple concerns
Collaboration occurred between Summer 2012 and close of RFP in April 2013. This project was designated
by the government officials as PCRA level 4 Project (transformative) which is the highest complexity rating
that can be assigned to a government project. Yet the government identified an overall selection
methodology in the RFP designed for a routine project.
A significant issue for bidders was the limitation of liability (LOL) being requested which only became
known once the RFP was released.
During the bid response period, bidders requested changes in the LOL and although it was lowered, it still
included a limit that was in excess of commercial practices for a comparable requirement. By this time, the
short listed firms, having spent over $1M on the process, had little choice but to continue.
The email RFP process created a very tight timeline that the qualified supplied respondents with sufficient
time to perform a thorough analysis of the risks associated with the high LOL, the 70%price/30% selection
methodology, the penalty structure for late deliveries and other terms and conditions. Had all of the
fundamentals of the deal been known up front and with sufficient lead time, it is questionable as to whether
all 4 short listed suppliers would have submitted proposals. The procurement process should be completed
early enough to allow the potential bidders to have all the facts in order to complete their analysis in order
to make an informed bid/no bid decision.
This bid also highlighted the focus on selecting a vendor with the lowest evaluated price to the exclusion of
other factors having a significant impact on the successful project delivery.

Example 2 - DND Defence Renewal Requirement


Illustrates concern 1
DND issued a major RFI on their renewal Program covering their Entire Operations which was
subsequently withdrawn. There were components related to IM/IT and yet the first ITAC members heard
about this requirement was when this RFI was posted. As such, many did not have a chance to input in the
early process components.

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Example 3 - SSC Strategic Advisory Services - Sourcing & Benchmarking Solicitation 2BOKB3/544
Illustrates concern 1
This RFP was considered by ITAC members to be a strategic requirement and of significance to our
members yet there was no collaboration associated with this requirement.

Example 4 - ESDC Student Loan Requirement RFP PW-$$XQ-006-27913,


Illustrates multiple concerns
ESDC entered into a highly collaborative process with industry, over a 1 to 2 year period. During the
collaborative period, there were indications that there would be a limitation on liability; however, when the
RFP was released there was unlimited liability. During the bid process, there were requests to limit liability
with examples of other government business service delivery requirements for IM/IT and Real Property
service delivery services whereby the government accepted to limit liabilities; however, these requests were
denied.
Additionally, after a long discussion on the requirement, the first time the supplier community saw the
selection methodology of 60% price/40% technical was when the RFP was issued. This is a significant
concern that these types of decisions are being made without any discussion with industry.

Example 5 SSC Internet Interconnection Services No. 10026415/B


Illustrates multiple concerns
For this requirement SSC was actually seeking to award contracts to two suppliers; however, the
competitive process resulted in only one supplier bidding.
The requirements of the RFP were challenging for suppliers to justify a business case to bid. In particular:
the work guarantee was low in comparison to the size of the bid; the security requirements were not clearly
defined and were unrealistic considering the service (Internet) sought, and there were high investment costs
required for customization of operational requirements to support a basic Internet service.

Example 6 - PW-14-00617660 Data Centre Server and Storage Infrastructure


Illustrates concern 1
Initially this RFI came out for the first time on Feb.16, 2014 with a closing of March 9, 2014. It covered a

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significant number of sub elements. This RFI was identified by to be of strategic significance to ITAC
members as it had the potential to cut out many medium sized suppliers who would have to scramble to
work with partners.
After ITAC intervention, an extension was granted to the end of March; however, even this time period was
tight given it was government year-end and suppliers were very busy at this time. Despite the SSC position
that there is no longer a government year-end for ICT, there were significant year procurements undertaken.

Example 7 - Permanent Resident Card for CIC RFP # B8362-120420/B


Illustrates multiple concerns
There were suppliers who invested more than a year pursuing the above opportunity, responding to draft
RFPs, having met with federal employees, only to find when the final RFP was released there was a
mandatory made-in Canada requirement for the solution. This requirement did not surface during the
collaborative process.

Example 8 - Limitation of Liability in High Performance Computing RFP - Solicitation No. 2B0KB-123816Borden
Data Centre
Illustrates concern around terms and conditions
As a result of the collaborative RRR phase on this procurement, the limitation on liability was set at $15
million. This is exactly the approach that ITAC is recommending for complex and bundled solution
procurements. In such instances, it makes sense to determine a reasonable risk management approach
through consultation. This is the best way to protect the Government from undue risk, while ensuring cost
savings.
However, after a question about a clerical numbering issue of the clause, and without further consultation,
the limitation of liability was changed to something similar to the approach for the commodity grouping for
"large Computer Systems". This was problematic for a number of reasons:
The new cap on liability is significantly out of line with industry standards, and is very likely to
reduce the competitive response on this RFP and/or significantly increase costs to the Crown;
The new approach is contrary to discussions in the collaborative procurement phase, impacting
confidence in this process;
The solution sought in this RFP does not fit the commodity grouping category. Rather the solution
is complex, including multiple systems and co-location services.
There is a misinterpretation in the application of the clause, as agreed to by ITAC at the time. The cap for the
commodity grouping was intended to apply to individual call-ups for commodities, and not to the RFP procurement of
large, complex solutions.

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Example 9 - PWGSC Integrity Framework


Illustrates concern around engagement

PWGSC issued significant changes to its Integrity Framework in March 2014 without consulting
industry with respect to the impact such changes may have on the industry. We view this as
counter to the concept of Smart Procurement and collaboration.
A similar issue occurred previously in 2012, when PWGSC introduced into the Integrity Framework
the criminal records consent forms for all Bidders Directors, without consultation. After extensive
intervention by industry, consultations and adjustments were made to make sure the requirements
were more workable. This could have been avoided on both occasions if the industry had been
engaged prior to issuance of the policies.

Example 10 - SSC Data Centre Networks (DCN) Industry Engagement


Illustrates concern around engagement and other concerns
In February 2014, SSC held an Industry Engagement Day attended by approximately 80 companies followed
by one on one industry/SSC meetings in March 2014. The consultation covered 2 streams - data center
interconnections (DCI) and data center network (DCN). This was followed by many companies making
written submissions.
It was obvious that many companies were interested in these requirements and had solutions/services that
they would like to have considered through a competitive procurement process. Despite a number of
companies actively following up on the next steps for procurements, information was not forthcoming.
Procurement proceeded for data centre awards (Barrie data centre awarded to IBM, Borden data centre
retrofit and expansion work also competed and awarded) and it was obvious that the data centres would
need to be connected.
Despite more questioning, SSC remained silent on the status of the DCI and DCN requirements, while
companies continued to follow-up and pursue the future opportunities.
It now seems that SSC will be awarding over $4M of contracts to few suppliers under a sole source national
security exemption for DCN and DCI (to connect Barrie and Borden) much to the surprise and
disappointment of several key companies with viable solutions.
It appears that, despite the supplier interest shown at the industry day and the regular follow-up, SSC made
a decision on a sole source strategy which it never communicated to industry nor gave industry the chance
to provide feedback.

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There was a lack of transparency and companies spent time, energy and money pursing an opportunity that
was sole sourced under a national security exemption, almost one year after the Industry day.

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