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The Office of the Contractor General conducted a number of workshops and meetings last year, to discuss specific issues relating to government procurement procedures.
As stated in the Office’s annual report for the calendar year 2005, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday July 25, the agency’s inspectorate, on identifying a number of deficiencies in methods of procurement on the part of government agencies, advised the entities to request a presentation/workshop, or referred the matter to the communications officer to initiate training.
“In other instances, seminars, workshops or meetings were initiated by the government entity, which invited the Office to participate, either as a sole-presenter or co-presenter,” the report informed.
In anticipation of the increase in the number of workshops and other related activities, the Office established three teams of presenters, which comprised staff from the Inspectorate and Technical Services Division, who presented on contract values and advertising, tender procedures, evaluation of tenders, and the role of the inspectorate.
The objective of the workshops/seminars was to ensure that the procurement process was fair, equitable, transparent and efficient by improving understanding of the process; to increase knowledge of the guidelines contained in the Procurement Handbook; and to highlight how public sector entities are expected to conduct the procurement process.
The Office also continued to distribute copies of the Information CD ROM at the workshops and this is to be updated next year with revised versions of the handbook and the Power Point presentation.
Meanwhile, the new options for advertising of public sector contracts that had been previously developed, were approved by the National Contracts Commission (NCC) in September, and posted on the Office of the Contractor General and the NCC’s websites. In addition, these were included in the September issue of the UPDATE bulletin and distributed to public sector entities, media houses and professional organizations.
The Office continues to issue monthly press releases of the contracts and variations endorsed by the NCC. These were sent to media houses requesting publication, and for general information. In October, the contracts endorsement press release was generated for the first time using the contract endorsement module of the contracts management system. Once the system is fully functional, the report said, it will generate a web page that can be automatically posted to the websites, as well as produce a press release for dispatch to media houses.
However, the document noted: “The Procurement Notice Board web site continues to be under-utilised by public sector entities. It is anticipated that, with the issue of the new advertising options, this situation will improve. We continue to take the opportunity at workshops to inform entities of the importance and convenience of utilizing this service”. The Office continues to answer queries through its website at www.ocg.gov.jm to provide information to members of the public and to assist students and others conducting research in the area of procurement.
Also, two survey questionnaires were developed. The first, a workshop evaluation questionnaire, is intended to identify any areas of the presentation that may be improved, such as context quality and suitability, use of materials and presentation and methodology.
The second questionnaire, the report said, was prepared in collaboration with the Information Systems Division, a follow-up to another conducted between December 2003 and January 2004, the objective of which was to “determine the preferred method of distributing the government’s public sector procurement handbooks”. The survey sought to determine, from entities, among other things, the adequacy of information, the ease with which information is obtained, and preferred methods of acquiring this information.