OAG calls for improved contract management

| 04/07/2019 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): The Office of the Auditor General found that government could save public cash with better management of services contracted out to the private sector. In her latest report, which examined the main service areas where core government uses the private sector, such as gardening and school buses, Auditor General Sue Winspear again found numerous shortcomings and said better supervision of outsourcing and the justification for it, as well as using government’s collective buying power, would lead to better value for money.

The report looked at how government plans for outsourcing, how well it procured those services and how it managed the contracts.

“The main types of services that the government outsources to private sector contractors are school buses, security services, janitorial and gardening services and some IT-related services,” Winspear said.  “It is important that the government obtains value for money for the $10 million a year it spends on these services.”

The OAG said in the report that it found very similar issues to those it discovered and documented in the report about contract workers, “Government’s use of Consultants and Temporary Staff”. But Winspear also found some other issues regarding both the procurement process and contract management practices that need to be improved.

One issue was the government’s failure to coordinate across ministries and use its collective buying power.

“Ministries are independently buying services, often the same services from the same suppliers and there is limited competition for many services,” Winspear stated. “Government needs to make better use of its collective buying power to achieve greater benefits and efficiencies from outsourced services.” 

In addition to problems with the justification for outsourcing and acquiring outside services is the ongoing management of them once they are procured. The issue of poor management of government contracts was also noted by auditors in a previous report regarding capital projects.

“Most contracts we looked at specified the services to be delivered but none had clear success measures that would enable the government to effectively monitor and manage performance,” the auditor general stated. “We found only a few examples of ongoing contract management. The government continues to be responsible for these services, even where delivered by the private sector. It therefore needs to embed effective contract management of outsourced services into its day-to-day operations to ensure that it is obtaining high quality services and value for money.”

In response to the latest critical report, the civil service management said they had made “steady progress” in the area of procurement practices with the establishment of the procurement office, the training of civil servants and the creation of a manual, and new policies and guidelines.

In a press release, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said the public service procurement regime had greatly improved in recent years with support from the Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit.

“This is in main part thanks to the Central Procurement Office and also the contributions of the SRIU team,” he said. “Chief officers and their teams will continue to take full advantage of the available training, guidance and support within the context of the auditor general’s findings with regards to their agencies. This will help them to address any specific issues identified for their ministries with current outsourced services, and to improve the way they plan and manage these services in the future,” the DG added.

Read the full report and civil service statement in the CNS Library

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Government Administration, Politics

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Um..why is there no requirement for school busses to have AC for our kids??
    The tourist busses must have AC tho.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The private sector can only rip-off CIG when and where CIG reps allow it. It is the purchaser who is responsible to ensure it receives value for money. Clearly if a private sector service provider sees where it can inflate costs for its product/service and no one will question, it will!

    Ethics are not inherent and public funds should be protected with the views that many persons are trying to rip-off CIG, expecially whne it’s generally known that no one pays attention. Of course, there are often kick-backs, which introduce intentional and immoral behaviour on both sides.

    3
    1
  3. Anonymous says:

    4:14pm understood your point. But some parents are jobless and also they do not receive any form of financial help at all.

    5
    1
  4. Anonymous says:

    Private sector trying to rip off Government again.

    This report is actually encouraging if you read the document.

    Major changes in procurement and the introduction of reverse auctions .

    Of course contracts could be managed better
    That is the same in any organisation.

    Kudos to CIG.

    5
    7
  5. Anonymous says:

    Need to get that constitution changed so the OAG cannot go interfering in all our private corruption of public contracts. I mean, how dare they ask for accountability? Here in Cayman! Whatever next?

    12
    4
  6. Anonymous says:

    #WORLDCLASS

  7. Anonymous says:

    No surprise on these findings but it’s about time they are revealed to the public! Kudos to OAG! I was a Senior Manager in an SAGC and encountered similar practices with my colleagues and underlings as the norm. It astounded me! On one occasion I challenged a project manager about his failure to seek competitive pricing on a small project and the idea seem alien to him. He later thanked me for introducing that concept to his attention, notwithstanding that there existed internal and external processes for comparative bid assessments for larger projects! I was amazed that there was a general failure to apply common sense cost-saving measures except where specifically required by laws and regulations!

    This is the culture throughout the entire public service!! “Government” money is theirs to waste!!

    24
    2
  8. Anonymous says:

    kickbacks? or kongfu?

    12
  9. Anonymous says:

    yep…this was said in miller shaw and e&y reports too….
    political parties here have no desire of appetite to reform the civil service…

    18
    2
  10. Say it like it is says:

    Until there is accountability from senior management in the Civil Service and Govt. agencies(i.e. perform or depart), nothing will ever change.

    23
  11. Johnny Rotten says:

    Thank you Ms. Winspear, but your findings are indicative of another rigged system, well entrenched and a normal part of CIG culture. Any change for the better will require considerable housecleaning and a cull of key personnel that have been abusing and personally benefiting from the system their whole careers.

    The back scratching buddy system will most likely continue well beyond your tenure.

    23
    1
  12. Anonymous says:

    John .A. Cumber primary school bus service suppose to be a now government given contract to a longtime private school bus company. But children is still left behind to walk the streets to school and from school on a daily basis. Should the government given school bus service contract suppose to have being the solution to the problem once and for all. Or is it too much children for one bus? If so get as much buses that is needed right away to resolve this longtime ongoing problem for our precious innocent children. But this time around please have all parents/guardians to sign-up if they need bus service and how many children each parent/guardian have that will need the bus service so that the students numbers can be more accurate and as the numbers keep increasing just add them to the list so that children will not be left behind in the future. Look forward seeing this done just in time for the end of August 2019 school term.

    15
    • Anonymous says:

      I used to use their bus service until they got this new government contract. Now it’s useless. For example, there’s just one bus for all students so for a journey that should take 5 minutes takes one hour, and the bus broke down twice in the month I used it (so a one hour journey took two). Imagine trying to get a child to do homework then at 5pm after spending two hours on a steaming hot bus!

      I wish they could go back to the “private” service that cost minimal amount ($10 a month was it?) but actually provided a worthwhile service.

      10
  13. Anonymous says:

    Please, please, please award a school bus contract to a company that has seatbelts fitted and also speed limiters fitted on all buses. The majority of buses that I have seen are driving way above the speed limit and also driving without due care and attention for other road users.

    17
    2
  14. Anonymous says:

    Yawn!

    6
    7
    • Anonymous says:

      Hey guys! I found one of the expats that doesn’t really care about our infrastructure.

      Buddy, this matters to those that make Cayman their real home.
      If you don’t like the headline, don’t read the article.

      7
      2
  15. Anonymous says:

    Any links between companies receiving substantial payments, and senior civil servants?

    38
    3

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Please support independent journalism in the Cayman Islands