Experiencing a contract dispute with a supplier? – Canadian Government Executive

NEWS

SEARCH

Procurement
November 24, 2014

Experiencing a contract dispute with a supplier?

As difficult as they may be to accept, we all know that disagreements and disputes are unavoidable in life. The world of federal procurement is no exception.

Given the large number of contracts the federal government issues each year, disputes with suppliers are inevitable. And we know these disputes often have negative repercussions that can distract both parties from what their real focus should be – completing the contract on time and within budget.

Suppliers contacting our office often lament that disputes lead to increased costs and damaged reputations. Government program managers express their frustration to us about how the dispute is jeopardizing the completion of the contract and its impact on the looming deadline. All too often we’re approached when disputes have become drawn-out and complicated, and resulted in loss of time and money. The situation has unravelled to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, to keep the lines of communication open and to find common ground.

So what have we learned in helping resolve these types of disputes?

At their root, most disputes we mediate are a result of some sort of ineffective communications. Often, the terms and conditions of the contract are vague, roles and responsibilities are unclear, or the obligations of the parties are not clearly defined. In these instances, it is little wonder things have gone off the rails.

We have also seen cases where performance indicators are either absent, weak or simply not used, representing a missed opportunity to keep things on track during the course of the contract. Other times, amendments which were neither anticipated nor discussed when the contract was put in place are informally made, or undocumented verbal agreements are reached placing both parties to the contract at risk.

Occasionally, these ineffective communications are the result of a simple disconnect or lack of interaction between the program manager requiring the good or service, the procurement officer tasked with putting the contract in place, and the suppliers who have to deliver the good or service.

The best fix? Avoid these pitfalls at the outset through clear terms and conditions, ongoing communication with your procurement officer and suppliers, and regular monitoring of the work.

And in situations where you encounter that dreaded unavoidable contract dispute, my office can help. Our services allow you to take a step back, reduce the “noise” and focus energy on resolving issues. Our certified mediators help clarify issues and promote constructive dialogue. The parties to the contract retain control over the outcome and any agreed-to solution is legally binding. In short, our no-fee service is less stressful and quicker than litigation, and can go a long way in restoring your relationship with the supplier.

So if you are experiencing a contract-related dispute, call us…we are here to help!

 

For more information on OPO’s services, please visit: opo-boa.gc.ca, or follow OPO on Twitter @OPO_Canada.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Procurement
 
We are excited to announce that the October issue of Canadian...
 
Does your organization have a very narrow view of what digital...
 
In the last few years, we’ve seen various federal governments warning...
 
In this special episode of CGE Radio, your host John Jones...
 
Risk is always present in any undertaking, no matter the size...
 
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with its 28 independent member countries...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Even as talks between the government and federal workers affected problems...
 
The largest effort in 20 years to seek public input on...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
The government has to move quickly in replacing its fleet of...
 
The Liberal government is taking steps to rein in the National...
 
Canada is severely in need of a maritime vessel that can...
 
By Jason Zhang  The best way to cost effectively manage the retention...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
OMX , known for disrupting supply chain management primarily in the defence...
 
It took me more than 20 years in the public service...
 
I have often written about what to me are the unusual...
 
The release of the Defence Procurement Strategy (DPS) in February 2014...
 
It is amazing how much information goes back and forth between...
 
In April 2014 the Environics Institute and the Institute on Governance...
 
The president of the Treasury Board gave a speech in November...
 
Last month I supported the argument that if a received bid...
 
Roy Wiseman’s blog, “In defence of direct negotiation,” on the CGE...
 
As difficult as they may be to accept, we all know...
 
When the government introduced the Defence Procurement Strategy in February, it...
 
I used to be responsible for managing the s9 delegation file,...
 
Last spring the government adjusted its approach to defence procurement, creating...
 
From time to time, the popular media jump on examples of...
 
The early May annual workshop of the Canadian Institute of Procurement...
 
things are improving...
 
Ten years ago I was as member of the Parliamentary Secretary’s...
 
Benjamin Franklin said that “in this world nothing can be said...
 
“This is urgent,” the poobah said. “If you don’t put this...
 
Last month I wrote about accountability for procurement. I like this...
 
A procurement is designed to deliver specified results to a client....
 
Kudos to the President of the Treasury Board for announcing that,...
 
At the May 2013 Canadian Institute for Procurement and Materiel Management...
 
You’re in a crunch to meet a looming deadline. A couple...
 
How often have you seen buyers use years or months as...
 
As the organization in National Defence responsible for procurement and management...
 
In my time the almost automatic response to austerity was to...
 
Government supply chains, in defence and elsewhere, are increasingly becoming interconnected...
 
A year since my last article on defence procurement, positive change...
 
Public Works has started a project that tries to fix an...
 
In the March edition, I put forward three stories about process...
 
My previous articles have talked about process and results-driven procurement, and...
 
Good procurement takes good people using the right tools at the...
 
When I retired there was no one to whom I could...
 
Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff has been mandated to...
 
Over the past 40 years federal procurement has incorporated many measures...
 
Preparing a detailed procurement manual for a client is like trying...
 
…well, maybe not – but there is a link. Governments must...
 
Purchasing card (P-card) systems provide decreased costs per transaction, higher purchasing...
 
Are you going to the IPAC annual conference in St. John’s...
 
Procurement is a strategic issue in the public sector. The expenditures...
 
What constitutes excellence in public procurement? How is it measured? You...
 
Every jurisdiction has a public procurement policy. In its simplest form,...
 
Government executives are responsible for ensuring the integrity of the procurement...
 
There is defence procurement, and then there is Defence Procurement. The...
 
We all know the story, the one about the high-risk project...
 
How do you know what you don’t know? How do you...
 
With few exceptions, public spending rightfully requires competition and due diligence...
 
We all know the music and the steps that go with...
 
Procurement today is often like buying horses from Thomas Hobson in...
 
Don’t pay for what you can get for free. We’ve heard...
 
Our fascination with the future has long roots. Back in the...
 
Once upon a time, the King was looking for a really...
 
Like any small part that runs our cars, procurement is largely...
 
Many policy organizations have learned from sad experience that the best...
 
The New West Partnership (NWP) cements the West as an economic...
 
Canada’s shipbuilding industry is now on the cusp of resurgence thanks...
 
In most democracies public procurement is expected to be fair, transparent...
 
In 2005, an Ontario government-sponsored task force generated a number of...
 
New ways to incorporate value into projects are maximizing the value...
 
Effective public procurement can be “make or break” in developing countries...
 
Recent high profile troubles at e-health operations in both Ontario and...
 
Anyone who has been told by a doctor to lose weight...
 
When he was younger, our son liked to play with Rubik’s...
 
Sore losers: we all know they like to involve their lawyers...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
We are excited to announce that the October issue of Canadian...

Member Login

Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.