Nova Scotia

N.S. co-ordinates IT consultants to drive down costs

The Nova Scotia government says it can save about $3 million dollars a year on information technology by centralizing its purchasing of consultants, laptops and printers.

More than 150,000 hours billed last year

The Nova Scotia government says it can save about $3 million dollars a year on information technology by centralizing its purchasing of consultants, laptops and printers.

"We are looking for efficiencies in the way we buy goods and services," said Gary Porter, who is leading the Treasury Board Strategic Procurement Initiative.

In the last week, the provincial government issued 10 requests for proposals designed to streamline the purchase of goods and services. It hopes to save $11 million overall.

The most recent tender was a request for a managed service provider of information technology consultants.

The government said last year, IT consultants billed more than 150,000 hours of work to the Nova Scotia government.

The request for proposals highlights shortcomings with the current system where individual departments hire IT consultants on an ad hoc basis.

The request for proposal says:

  • Managers repeatedly hire the same individuals or vendors with no obligation to review the marketplace or give other vendors an opportunity
  • Jobs specifications may be written by the supplier
  • Hiring mangers are not receiving the same prices for the same work

"We should achieve better market rates," said Porter.

Digital Nova Scotia represents the industry. Its chair, Jason Powell, said this exercise is all about saving money.

"I would be concerned about trying to drive its rates down, a one size fits all approach. At the end of the day, IT is very complicated," Powell told CBC News.

"We're not talking big stuff," he said. "It's not a big number in terms of spending."

Powell said some of the efficiency concerns identified in the requests for proposals occur whether the government or the private sector is doing the hiring.

The government intends to hire a manger for IT consulting by February, a move that could affect more than 700 individual contractors.

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