The Provincial Auditor turned to the Government Organization Act to determine what activities fell under the definition of consultation. The Act stated ministers may “engage the services of or retain any technical, professional, or other advisors, specialist or consultants considered necessary.” This Act has since been replaced by the Executive Government Services Act, which contains similar wording.
“We focused on technical, specialized, management and systems consultants,” Jennifer Lefebvre, communications specialist for the Provincial Auditor’s office, wrote in an email. Legal and communications assistance were not included in the auditor’s count.
Students followed this general guideline. Companies that included ‘consulting’ in their company name, or that identified consulting as a major activity on their websites or in publicly available bid descriptions, were added to our list. Students searched the names of individual recipients of Goods and Services payments, and noted any that were clearly identifiable as consultants.
Where a person or company’s role was unclear, ministry officials were contacted to provide additional background information on the services the individual or company provided. People who were not involved in advising on government operations and management – whose activities ranged from mosquito control to court reporting – were removed from the calculations.
The SaskTenders registry also provided some guidance. Initially, IBM was not included as a consultant, because we felt their work would mainly involve daily operations. However, SaskTenders identified these contracts as consultancies, so IBM included. Likewise, we did not initially include Information Services Corporation, however they were indicated as playing a consultancy role in government documents, so were included in the final tally.
The acticle on Central Services goes into further detail about how companies and individuals were chosen for inclusion on the list.