Disclosure of wrongdoing under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) 2013-2014
Disclosures of wrongdoing under the PSDPA were received by the RCMP Senior Officer designated under the PSDPA in 2010. Following a thorough administrative investigation for the purposes of the PSDPA, Commissioner Paulson concluded that the allegations revealed systemic issues in the: (a) administration of a contract for services with a third party service provider ("the Contract"); and (b) exercise of financial signing authorities inconsistent with policy directives. It was determined that these allegations amounted to wrongdoing in breach of section 8(b) of the PSDPA, specifically a misuse of public funds.
The investigation identified that the systemic issues in the administration of the Contract occurred as a result of differing interpretations between the RCMP and the contractor regarding the compensation structure in the Contract. There was a degree of ambiguity regarding the billing practices to be applied under the Contract and there were varying interpretations of how the billing should occur. The investigation identified that the RCMP paid some excess billing to the contractor. Therefore, while payments were made that were not in compliance with the terms of the Contract, the investigation did not identify any deliberate attempt to violate the provisions of the Contract.
No improper payments or any losses of public money occurred as a direct result of any financial signing authorities which were exercised inconsistently with policy directives.
The Contract has since expired. Corrective action has been initiated in relation to the findings of wrongdoing and as explained below is in various stages of implementation. No employee profited as a result of this founded wrongdoing.
Recommendations in relation to the founded wrongdoing:
- Engage an industry subject matter expert to assist in the procurement process for all future similar contracts with private industry so future contracts use terms that are well more precisely defined.
- Ensure clarity within the terms of future contracts with similar third party service providers. In particular it was recommended that in future, the contractual terms should include:
- Specific payment provisions and well-defined roles and responsibilities for future similar third party service providers, which are recognized and respected;
- Specific parameters for referrals to similar third party service providers;
- An effective conflict resolution mechanism for any disputes between the RCMP and a similar third party service provider.
- Examine the requirements for full-time legal counsel within the Program ("the Program").
- Carry out an internal review of the third party service provider's billing and expense invoices to determine whether this was consistent with the terms and conditions of the Contract and ensure compliance with s. 34 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). The RCMP should take the necessary steps to recover any overpayment, if applicable.
- Perform a comprehensive Management Review of the Program covering governance, accountability and stewardship within the RCMP.
- Carry out a review of the internal controls in place for all aspects of the Program to evaluate compliance with the Financial Administration Act and other related policy directives.
Corrective action taken in relation to the findings of wrongdoing:
Under the direction of the RCMP Commissioner, management has taken corrective action in response to the designated Senior Officer's recommendations to be implemented. The actions taken include the following steps:
- In consultation with industry experts, the RCMP conducted a comprehensive review of the Program's then-business model, including governance, accountability and stewardship. As a result of the review, an action plan was formulated and is now being implemented. Recommendations to be implemented include refinement and standardization of existing process, examination of current capacity and delegated authorities, changes in governance, strengthening of accountabilities, and improvement of control mechanisms.
- The RCMP revised its business model for the Program, which no longer includes a third party provider for such services. As part of the revised business model, a permanent position to lead the Program will be classified and staffed.
- If in future there is a need to engage a third party service provider for the Program, the RCMP accepts the recommendations concerning the terms of future contracts with a similar third party service provider.
- Management conducted an internal review of the third party service provider's billing and expense invoices. As a result it was determined that there are no outstanding, recoverable overpayments.
- During the fiscal year 2010-2011, the RCMP Chief Financial and Administrative Officer undertook a comprehensive review of the Program's internal controls with respect to FAA compliance and other related policy directives. The review resulted in the identification and implementation of measures to enhance existing procedures for financial management and reporting practices.
- With regard to the recommendation concerning full-time legal counsel within the Program, this matter is being assessed on an ongoing basis.
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