About this Audit
Procurement of goods and services is a fundamental activity in the daily operation of the Government of Alberta. Each year, the government spends hundreds of millions of dollars contracting goods and services for large and complex projects. To ensure that Albertans realize the benefit of this spending, departments need to follow effective contract management processes.
An effective contract management system includes:
- performance measurement—setting targets, monitoring progress, and reporting on results
- compliance with contractual obligations—understanding the responsibilities and obligations of all parties and ensuring compliance
- contract evaluation—knowing what is working effectively and identifying where changes are required
Processes in each of these activities need to be working effectively and in harmony with each other to have an effective contract management system.
In order to examine each of the processes above, we needed a contract of sufficient length and complexity. The Government of Alberta’s contracts related to the Alberta SuperNet have these characteristics. In 2001, the government entered into a series of long-term contracts to build and operate the SuperNet, a telecommunications network that provides capacity for high-speed broadband services to rural Albertans.
The SuperNet is not the Internet. It provides the infrastructure for the delivery of Internet services to rural Albertans, as well as the underlying connectivity to enable public sector services across the province. See Appendix A for further details on the background and history of the SuperNet. Department management has estimated total government spending to construct and operate the SuperNet to be over the contract to be $1 billion.