by Maureen Sullivan BA, LLB, CTP | President, Legal Editor and Publisher
The Auditor General for Local Government in BC has published a series of booklets designed to help improve government performance and complement its performance audit reports. Although specifically targeted to local government in BC, these booklets provide a wealth of information, templates and suggestions that can help guide any Canadian public sector organization.
In a January 2016 publication the AGLG highlights vendor performance management as one of three topics to improve achieving value for money in operational procurement. It discusses key elements of a vendor performance management framework, best practices in managing vendor performance and includes a number of templates that can be adapted for use by any organization. The full document can be accessed here.
This important report complements the Public Sector Procurement Program (PSPP) 203: Managing and Evaluating Contract Performance – and augments many of the examples and templates we cover in that course. As an organization that works with public sector right across the country, we see repeated examples of major procurement and contract mishaps related to incomplete or inadequate vendor performance evaluation. Users and business clients become frustrated when the procurement department ‘continues to engage the poor performers’. Yet the procurement department is not provided with enough (or any) information about performance issues to solve this problem. Outstanding vendors see the less than stellar performers continue to be awarded contracts, so they are de-motivated to keep up their own performance standards. All contract performance then slips to the lowest common denominator, further frustrating the users and eroding value for money from government spending. And as we know, terminating a contractor without adequate performance documentation can lead to expensive and protracted lawsuits, unwanted publicity and consumption of valuable resources that could best be directed elsewhere.
If any of this is starting to sound familiar, you or your staff may want to join us online, starting June 26, for a cross-country cohort in PSPP 203. Register Now Spanning four weeks, this course takes approximately 3 hours of time per week, and delves into many detailed examples, illustrations and best practices related to this important aspect of the procurement and contract management cycle. The analogy that we often use is that if the RFX process is the ‘wedding’, then the contract management process is the ‘marriage’ – that’s where the hard work really takes place! Determining how performance will be measured and managed must be thought about in the planning stage, carefully described in the RFX and resulting contract, and then implemented as contract performance unfolds.
An experienced litigator, mediator and dispute resolution practitioner, Maureen has an in-depth knowledge of both procurement law and contracting issues with particular expertise in negotiations. Renowned for her engaging teaching style, one of Maureen’s many strengths is her ability to integrate legal concepts with business practices, making often-difficult concepts accessible and understandable for learners at all levels.
Readers are cautioned not to rely upon this article as legal advice nor as an exhaustive discussion of the topic or case. For any particular legal problem, seek advice directly from your lawyer or in-house counsel. All dates, contact information and website addresses were current at the time of original publication.