Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you for giving us an opportunity to discuss Shared Services Canada's progress on the Auditor General's report.
We would be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have on the report.
With me today is Stéphane Cousineau, senior assistant deputy minister of corporate services.
I would like to begin by thanking the Auditor General for the report and state, as she did, that we fully support its recommendations, which will help make the Government of Canada procurement activities even more effective, open and transparent.
The report acknowledged the progress that Shared Services and its partners have made toward adopting agile procurement practices for large IT systems, and we appreciate that we were acknowledged for our application of new procurement approaches and for our engagement with end-users and private sector suppliers.
We acknowledge that further work is needed, and to further make those advancements, the report expressed the need to build on these experiences in three key areas: first, by ensuring that governance and partner engagement mechanisms are in place; second, by updating the guidance and training for procurement officers, especially on new agile procurement methods; and third, by leveraging data analytics and information management to better monitor the integrity in our procurements.
Shared Services Canada is working closely with the Treasury Board Secretariat and with Public Services and Procurement Canada on transformational IT procurements. We are ensuring that our employees have a more comprehensive understanding of agile and collaborative procurement methods through refinements to guidance, training and ongoing support.
This includes the launch of a specialized training program to equip procurement officers with the skills, competencies and experience they need to manage complex IT procurements.
SSC is pleased to report that the processes are already in place with respect to the enhanced governance mechanisms. The department has had a procurement governance framework since July 2019 that facilitates procurement oversight and control as well as risk management and decision-making approaches to support transparency and accountability. The mechanisms help us engage stakeholders, articulate roles and responsibilities and match decision-making with firm commitments.
On data analytics, SSC is augmenting its capabilities through the development of an analytics strategy and road map. Our dedicated data and analytics team, which we've just established, will input procurement data into the department’s repository this fiscal year. We will then obviously mine that data to see opportunities. We'll use this as a pilot. We'll be looking at artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify potential integrity issues and move more quickly.
Since the time of the audit, the department has implemented a number of information management tools and procedures to ensure fairness and to demonstrate that procurements are indeed fair. The department has developed guidelines on procurement file organization and makeup and on procurement file documentation lists and compliance and quality assurance programs, which contribute to sound information management practices, consistency in all of our files and completeness in all of the files.
With respect to the next-generation human resources and pay initiative, SSC continues to work with the office of the chief human resources officer at Treasury Board Secretariat, as well as with senior officials and users in other departments and agencies, to refine the business needs and anticipate change management requirements.
The exploratory phase announced last fall has been completed. This phase established the technical capability of the government to adopt softwares in service as a solution and undertook a gap analysis of the proposed solution against existing business requirements.
The next phase will be to design and experiment. We will configure and test the proposed solution using real employee data. Further tests with more complex pay groups will also be undertaken.
As the initiative moves through more substantive phases, decision makers will be engaged thoroughly. Our new integrated enterprise governance structure prioritizes key accountability, program assurance and challenge functions and extensive stakeholder consultation and engagement, as well as regular updates and advice sought from our external expert advisory committee.
All the work is being informed by lessons learned from Phoenix and other large-scale enterprise transformation activities. Decisions on the way forward will be driven by user insights obtained during this initiative.
Thank you. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.