One breach occurred when a contractor favored by the Department of Energy started untendered work before any potential competitors were noticed, reports Blacklock’s.
“An advance contract award notice should not be used where work has already begun”, wrote Alexander Jeglic, Procurement Ombudsman in Procurement Practice Review.
Jeglic questioned the “the fairness and openness of this process”, while asserting that such “actions are in breach of the Treasury Board Contracting Policy and the regulations, since the Department of Environment could not have confirmed only one person was capable of performing the contract until the advance contract award notice process was complete”.
Another case raised red flags when a contractor was awarded eight untendered contracts, each valued just under $25,000 per contract, the threshold for open bidding.
“This creates the perception the total requirement for these goods was known in advance and unnecessarily divided into a number of smaller contracts, thereby avoiding contract approval authorities, i.e. contract splitting, […] This practice is explicitly prohibited by trade agreements and the Treasury Board Contracting Policy”, Jeglic wrote.
Of the forty contracts examined by Jeglic, nearly half of them were found to be missing “key documents”, which according to Blacklock’s “include[ed] the names of employees who evaluated the bids.”
These irregularities and discrepancies may point to a systemic problem in McKenna’s Department of Energy where tendered offers and contracts seem to follow a pattern of non-transparency.