Feds experience masterful efficiencies
In January 2002, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) won the contract
to supply 113 Government of Canada departments and agencies with
MasterCard purchasing acquisition cards. In the federal a-card
picture, there are two cards. VISA accounts for some 6,000 cards
and an annual total of about $100 million under a contract with
CIBC. MasterCard accounts for the majority of activity with about
29,000 cards and $500 million of purchases each year.
BMO now needed to replace previous cards in jig-time."This
is by far the largest implementation we've ever experienced,over
twice the size of any BMO has done before. Thanks to excellent
client cooperation and an all out effort, we were able to provide
29,000 cards in less than six weeks," says Randy Ford, managing
director of BMO e-Purchasing Solutions."The special challenge
was the scope of the client requirement, the size of the Government
of Canada and the different needs and systems in well over a
hundred individual departments and agencies."
The federal government is also pleased with the program according
to Robert Berniquez, Treasury Board Comptrollership Branch's
director of financial management policy.
"The acquisition card is a great procurement tool and
the Master- Card process has gone very well. In the first three
quarters of this contract alone we've seen a two percent increase
in volume. That may sound modest, but with over half a billion
dollars in purchases, it's very substantial indeed. In fact,
the target for 2003 is to reach $700 million in purchasing volume,"
Greater acquisition card use by federal procurement specialists
is something the government would like to see. The cards and
the backend reporting,management and analysis systems provided
by products like BMO's "details Online"produce greater
accountability and efficiency at lower costs and facilitate continuous
improvement.Berniquez stresses that the a-card makes it much
easier for individual procurement specialists as well, saving
time and money for everyone.Ford is anticipating that BMO will
be putting a new version of its system in place in spring 2003,
only a year after implementation.
"We conducted an extensive federal customer survey over
the summer and, while we found a very high level of customer
satisfaction, we were also able to identify more user-friendly
improvements, such as government specific menus, that we can
develop to make it even better."
Just the ticket one contract for
After many delays and discussions on how to replace the Department
of National Defence's ageing Sea King helicopters, in early December
the defence minister stated his intention to go with a single
contract rather than two contracts, saying it is "more efficient."
The two-contract option marries the airframe to the instrument
and mission systems and is said to carry a bigger risk, while
one contract apparently means a shorter timeframe for delivery
of the chosen replacement and less risk.
and not "Just the ticket"
In late November, the Department of National Defence decided
after all that Tibbett & Britton were not "just the
ticket"(see Summit, September 2002) for the military supply
chain. The contract was cancelled at a potential cost of over
$5 million, an automatic penalty fee included in the contract.However,
the department feels that its own efforts to streamline and modernize
the internal supply network will reap more cost savings than
those projected under the outsourcing plan.
US calls for more competition
Office of Management and Budget (OMB, www.whitehouse.gov/
omb) officials say that all work done by public sector employees
that can be considered "commercial" should be open
to competition from the private sector affecting potentially
850,000 federal employees. This change to Budget Circular A-76,
which presumes that "all activities are commercial in nature
unless an activity is justified as inherently governmental,"
(jobs described as "inherently governmental" cannot
be outsourced by law), has the potential to increase the amount
of federal outsourcing opportunities for the private sector.
For example, it would open up the Inter-Service Support Agreements
between federal agencies to private sector competition
a multi-billion dollar federal market. The OMB appears to be
hoping that competition will drive efficiency.
Summary, Government Executive Magazine, December 3,
New Brunswick manages corrections
In late November, the New Brunswick Department of Public Safety
received a Canadian Information Productivity Award (CIPA) in
the government category, for the province's offender-related
client information system (CIS). The CIS, built by xwave (www.xwave.com),
is fully bilingual and supports jail management, community-based
corrections and victim services. It also has a case-management
system to help reintegrate offenders into society. CIS is connected
to several provincial and federal justice-related organizations,
allowing users to share information more efficiently.At the federal
level it interfaces with the Offender-Management System, enabling
the transfer of demographics; physical-appearance information;
digital photos; security and medical alerts among others. CIS
is accessible to the Canadian Firearms Registry and plans to
connect with the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (part
of Statistics Canada) and, possibly,with the National Parole
Board and other law enforcement systems.
Partners in processing health claims
Public Works and Government Services Canada, Atlantic Region
(PWGSC), collaborating with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), recently
awarded Atlantic Blue Cross Care (www.atl.bluecross.ca) of Moncton
the contract ($100 million over six and a half years) to provide
the IT services needed to deliver the Federal Health Claims Processing
System.Under the contract,VAC will administer the contract and
PWGSC will handle mediation, invoice processing and contract
negotiations. The partnership between the government departments
and Blue Cross means that when any of the 250,000 veterans uses
a VAC health claims card, the claim and accounting information
will be handled electronically no additional paperwork
or personal cost.
Dressing for success
The work of the RCMP and the Department of National Defence
(DND) demands a variety of specialized clothing from dress uniforms
to protective gear. A Montreal company, Pantalons Garantis et
Fairmount Inc., has been contracted to provide nearly 14,000
pairs of the recognizable pants (blue with yellow stripes) for
the men and women of the RCMP by February 2003. Special sizes
will be provided on an as-requested basis until the following
October. As well, Pacific Safety Products Ltd (based in Kelowna,
BC) will provide over 1,000 sets of soft-body-armour vests and
over 2,500 internal vest carriers (which allow the vest to be
worn under the police officers' uniforms) to arrive by late February.
The work on the contract will be done in Arnprior,Ontario.
Peerless Garments Ltd (www.peerless.mb.ca) of Winnipeg, was awarded
three contracts (combined value $2.1 million) to provide DND
with camouflage trousers and coats; cold/wet-weather parkas and
trousers; and extreme cold/wet weather parkas and trousers.
Federal resources connect locally
In November SourceCan began to publish Nova Scotia's tender
notices separately from the Canadian Bids feed, allowing clients
to link back directly to the province's site when a tender matches
the client's individual profile. SourceCan clients must now establish
a separate individual profile for the Nova Scotia opportunities.
Riding the technology waves
In its recent report, Technology in Government: Riding the
Waves of Change, Accenture (www.accenture.com) looked at the role new
technology will play in government responses to current and increasing
pressures such as fiscal and demographic constraints; increasing
globalization causing increased expectations of service and an
increasing need to balance local and international obligations;
disengagement of citizens; a shortage of skills as retirement
increases; and unpredictable events that divert resources. They
reviewed, then grouped 150 technologies into waves of technology
change: digital content services, privacy and rights management,
enterprise interoperability, reach and mobility, silent commerce,
information insight and simulation.As well, government executives
from 10 nations, including Canada, prioritized areas for improvement
such as focusing more on constituents, loosening jurisdictional
boundaries to enable more sharing of information and establishing
funding and incentives to achieve the goals. The report proposes
changes that, enabled by technology, could have a practical impact
on policy development.
Ontario building secure health email
In late November, EDS Canada was awarded a contract worth
$70 million by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
to build a secure email network so that doctors, laboratories,
pharmacists, hospitals and health care providers can share confidential
medical and patient data such as lab results, diagnostic reports
and, potentially, digitized X-rays and MRI scans.
Advisory panel reports on Government
The report of the Government On-Line (GOL) Advisory Panel,
presented to Treasury Board president Lucienne Robillard, on
December 11, calls on the federal government to make electronic
service delivery a priority across the entire government and
beyond, with enhanced leadership, greater resources and better
communications among its seven recommendations.
First and foremost among its recommendations, however, was
"immediate action to re-think its current operations,"
with a view to creating a service delivery network that meets
users' needs in ways the users themselves define.
Panel co-chair Barbara Stymiest, CEO of the TSX Group said
"We think that is a very critical recommendation."
Government On-Line is about rebuilding how government works,
internally and externally, she added."We think it is much
broader than technology."
The report calls on the government to create stronger leadership
for GOL,by making the deputy prime minister and the Treasury
Board president co-chairs of "a reference group of ministers
of service transformation." Reporting to them, a new deputy
minister position, chief information and service officer,would
drive the transformation agenda.
The Advisory Panel's co-chair is Guy Savard,Merrill Lynch
Canada's vice-chairman of the board and chairman of the board
for Quebec operations. Taking a narrow, technological view of
Government On-Line, he said, it would be "missing the whole
point."He believes the right leadership team could and should
have "authority over the whole process."
Asked to point to private sector successes that the GOL initiative
might emulate, Stymiest pointed to the banking sector,with its
worldwide integrated, automated network.As Savard pointed out,
the 25-member advisory panel, which included two members from
the banking sector, looked at the field and concluded,"The
leadership came from the top."
SELECT firms to match opportunities
The federal government's SELECT system (replacing the SPEC
and ACCORD systems), containing a list of pre-qualified real
property firms (construction, architects, engineers), matches
supplier expertise and services with specific requirements. Depending
on the opportunity only one firm may be asked to accept the work,
or multiple firms may be asked to compete. Firms wishing to register
with SELECT, need a Procurement Business Number, obtainable online
from the Supplier Registration Information service at contractscanada.gc.ca/en/buying-e.htm.
E-government around the world
A recently released study, Local EGovernment Now: A Worldwide
View, examines municipalities in fourteen countries engaged in
the establishment of efficient and effective e-governance.Canada's
leadership is highlighted by successful implementations by the
governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the federal
"Government On-Line" initiative.
In Nova Scotia, the eight amalgamated municipalities that
form the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) had a long-term
goal to deliver better programs and services at a lower cost.
By partnering with the province, CBRM successfully delivers timely,
accurate financial information, allowing proper costing of both
routine and special projects. In New Brunswick, the acknowledged
leader in the development of single-window government services
is Service New Brunswick (SNB). SNB aimed for an 85 percent satisfaction
rate on customer service quality, but is reportedly achieving
92 percent. Other examples include secure e-services in Spain
and e-democracy in Norway.
The study (available at www.sap.com/solutions/industry/public
sector) was led by two United Kingdom non-profit organizations:
the Improvement and Development Agency (IdeA) and the Society
of IT Management.
Government needs energy too
In Alberta, the cost of power has fluctuated constantly since
the province deregulated its electrical power supply in January
2001. In early 2002, the Government of Canada negotiated an agreement
(www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/cdm-ji/menu-e.asp) with ENMAX Energy Corporation
to supply power to the federal government's Alberta facilities
at a fixed price. Steps needed to reach an agreement included
collecting and analyzing data on power consumption to determine
exact power requirements and to identify the peak usage times.
The ability to control the power load during peak periods by
utilizing existing backup generators at some facilities was key.
Under the agreement, which is something of a roadmap for future
agreements, ENMAX invoices the facilities and provides technical
and engineering support and, as per federal environmental objectives,
35 percent of the electricity provided is "green power."Additionally,
PWGSC retains the carbon credits.
Guide to sustainable city infrastructure
The National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure:
Innovations and Best Practices is a project funded under the
Infrastructure Canada Program and implemented by the Federation
of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in partnership with the National
Research Council (NRC). The guide will identify and disseminate
the best practices that support municipal decisions and actions
regarding sustainable infrastructure. Currently, two best practices
are published with 30 more on the way. It is the focal point
for a collaborative national network of practitioners, researchers
and municipal governments.
Ontario business links
In mid-October the Ottawa office of the Ontario Ministry of
Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation, along with its partners
Doyletech Corporation,Materials and Manufacturing Ontario,OCRI,
the Ottawa Citizen and Sunstrum Hanel, hosted the second Linkages
in Manufacturing trade show. Ministry consultants work with industry
to support the growth of Ontario businesses. Building on research
by Hill and Knowlton, this year's event focused on putting people
with ideas together with the people who could execute those ideas
all in Eastern Ontario. Attendees also welcomed the four
in-show seminars on the theme "lean manufacturing."