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Auditor General Colin Younker carries copies of his report into the lock up for waiting media. (Brendan Elliot/CBC)

P.E.I.'s Department of Tourism is contracting out for hundreds of thousands of dollars in professional services with inadequate documentation, and in some cases no written documentation at all, says the province's auditor general.

Colin Younker looked at a sample of 31 contractual arrangements over a two-year period from 2009-2011. Of those, he found significant deficiencies in 17. Of those 17, 12 had nothing in writing.

"If there's no documented contract it's difficult to enforce getting work done that you want to get done," Younker told media in the lock up, shortly before his report was tabled in the legislature Tuesday.

Younker described in some detail two contracts signed with the same party worth $1.125 million.

"The contractual arrangement was a letter signed by the Deputy Minister outlining the contract value and referring to two separate documents," wrote Younker.

"In one case, the document was a funding application and in the second it was a business case. The vast majority of the minimum required standard [treasury board] clauses were not included in the terms and conditions of these long-term financial commitments."

Younker did not name who the contractor was in this case.

Contracts short of signatures

Younker also found that bypassing policies requiring competitive tenders, treasury board approval, and multiple signatures appeared to be the norm.

Of the 31 contracts examined by Younker's office:

  • Eight should have undergone a competitive process under treasury board rules — three did.
  • Nine exceeded $100,000 in value and required treasury board approval — three sought it.
  • 21 exceeded $25,000 in value and required the signatures of two senior managers — three had those signatures.

Younker noted Tourism PEI's listing of professional services by vendor was lacking in information required by treasury board, such as the dates of the contract, approval levels, and a brief note of the contract's purpose.