Reply to post: Re: District Council

Margin mugs: A bank paid how much for a 2m Ethernet cable? WTF!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: District Council

... and then spent the lot in March before the start of the new fiscal year ...

In the rarefied heights of a Canadian crown corporation which used to be my abode, in order to get any item over $20K, and not on the approved purchase [1] list, delivered by April 1st [2] you had to start the process no later than December 1st - or you literally had no time to go through the tender and approval process. At least for the IT gear it apparently got considerably worse since that time: I hear that most of the individual departments are no longer allowed to specify and purchase their IT equipment at all: the procedure is to submit the functional requirements [3] to SSC [4], which in turn decides whether you actually need anything at all, what it's going to be, and how much it is going to cost you. After a year or three, if everything is going smoothly.

[1] For the IT equipment, the normal lag between the vendor submitting the configuration (and its fixed price) to the government-wide procurement office and it appearing on the list was somewhere between 6 months and two years - so most of the list was made up from four-year-old models at two-year-old prices.

[2] If whatever you've ordered wasn't delivered by April 1st, you effectively had to pay for it twice: the funds committed in your budget for the purchase reverted to the general revenue on April 1st, and the purchase got charged to the next year's budget. This led to rather a lot of broken hardware being shipped in time for April 1st, then immediately going back to the vendor for warranty repairs. A rumour has it that an empty crate was once shipped - by mistake, naturally - in lieu of a million-dollar supercomputer, and duly signed off with a few hours to spare before the deadline. The real thing allegedly arrived a week later, in a box labelled as "spare parts".

[3] I.e. "this is the thing I want to do". You can't say "this is the computer system I need" - not even to specify the specific CPU architecture. This makes for some really interesting specs.

[4] Shared Services Canada, created to provide government-wide IT services to all departments and Crown Agencies lacking sufficient clout with the PM office to get themselves exempted. Apparently, for the first two years after it was formed, SSC had to process all work time recording and travel requests manually, on paper - because they weren't able to get their computerized HR system to work.

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