Central Service is a relatively new ministry, created in 2013-2014. It offers service support to some 12,000 government employees, as well as procurement services for information technology and major government projects.

 

To provide the most accurate historical comparison, we included former ministries and divisions that were folded into Central Services over the years. This includes Government Services, the Information Technology Office, Property Management and the Public Service Commission.

 

Central Services was singled out by the Provincial Auditor for its rapidly expanding roster of consultants. She found spending of $22 million on 83 consultants, compared to $8 million spent in 2008-2009, a 175 per cent spending increase.

 

Our research identified $82 million spent on 176 consultants in 2013-2014, compared to $13.6 million spent on 39 consultants in 2005-2006 among the major agencies and ministries that would later comprise Central Services.

 

Beyond the codes

Our findings were significantly higher in all years for two reasons.

 

First, the auditor included the former Government Services ministry and Information Technology Office in her data. On the advice of retired senior civil servants, our historical comparison additionally included Property Management and the Public Service Commission, which were also folded into Central Services.

 

Second, our search was broader. The auditor used the government’s internal MIDAS system’s financial code for specialized technical, technical and management consulting, and the code for system consulting.

 

Without access to a code search, we instead did a comprehensive review of all the companies listed, searching corporate registry records, company websites, bid documents and other sources to find out how companies identified their services.

 

As a result, we found many may not have fit into the auditor’s code search but called themselves consultants, in areas such as employee recruitment, market research, organizational planning, communications strategies, and other planning and project management functions.

 

Obscure descriptions

From this list, we were highly selective which were included in the data. We found a great many described themselves as “consultants” who provide “solutions” to government – whether they were plumbing a building or leasing office equipment.

 

"A majority of the consultant websites had obscure descriptions which made it challenging to determine who did what, let alone whether or not the were really a consultant," noted researcher Kendall Latimer.

 

"(Provincial Auditor Judy) Ferguson was correct when she noted there was no real tracking of what the consultants are acutally doing for the Government of Saskatchewan."

 

Therefore, some subjective decision-making had to be employed to determine which individuals and companies were primarily involved in providing advice and/or helping design projects and systems, as opposed to primarily providing a specific good or service to a project. "There were times when I had to delete private companies off of the spreadsheet because they they appeared to be consultants, further deeper research revealed they were not," said Latimer.

 

Building the list

For example, we included IT firms that advised on systems design and management. Chief among these, IBM was included because it identifies itself as a consultant, public tenders referred to IBM's work as consultancy, and it fits within the definition of technical/systems advice used by the provincial auditor. Oracle was also included because it does similar work to IBM. This did not include capital assets, which are found elsewhere in Public Accounts.

 

Because of the major impact these companies had on the bottom line - over $30 million in 2013-2014 - we have also listed them separately on the spreadsheet.

 

There were many engineering firms listed. They were included only if they primarily identified their work as consulting, as opposed to performing specific engineering services.

 

Architects and designers were excluded with the exception of Kreate Architecture and Design. Kreate was included because the firm received $284,188 to conduct design consultations for Lean implementation in 2013-2014. The company received $325,531 the previous year as well, however it fell under capital asset aquisition, so was not included as a consulting cost.

 

Property management firms that appeared to be mainly leasing property were excluded. However, some property-related firms more broadly described their work as advising government on procurement and management of property; such firms were included.

 

Communications firms were not included. However, we noted that many provide services that cross the line into consulting, such as strategic communications planning and market research. (see 'The Communicators')

 

Findings

Even after selective culling, the list of companies was long. Consultancy in Central Services vastly outpaced growth in all other ministries. The nearest competitors in 2013-14 were Health, at $17.2 million and Highways, at $7.4 million. Aside from the $30 million IBM contract, the next-largest suppliers we identified in 2013-2014 included:

 

For a full listing of all companies contracted under Central Services – including those we excluded – readers should consult the Public Accounts Volume II reports. Our selected list is provided in a downloadable spreadsheet, below. Given the complexity of the research task, we invite readers to alert us to any errors or omissions.

 

2013-2014 Consultants

01 MILLENNIUM CONSULTING INC $54,672
101049086 SASKATCHEWAN LTD $1,194,097
ACRODEX INC $1,069,391
ACTIAN CORPORATION $91,326
ACTIVE NETWORK LTD $482,186
AEC POINT CLOUD CONSULTING $51,000
AMEC ENVIRONMENT & INFRASTUCTURE DIVISION OF AMEC AMERICAS LIMITED $122,841
AMERESCO CANADA INC $190,501
ARC BUSINESS SOLUTIONS INC $198,606
ASNET TECHNOLOGIES INC $164,666
AUGUST PROFESSIONAL GROUP INC $224,536
BLACKBOARD INC $251,845
BUSINESS SYSTEMS CONSULTING INC $2,468,033
BV02 INC $946,835
CCI GROUP INC $69,500
CGI INFORMATION SYSTEMS & MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS INC. $3,238,810
CLIFTON ASSOCIATES LTD $64,081
CLIMBIT $145,010
COMMON SENSE CONSULTING $144,690
COMPUGEN INC $1,213,517
CONDUIT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES INC $367,479
CONROY ROSS PARTNERS LIMITED $66,699
DANIELS WINGERAK ENGINEERING LTD $84,302
DAVID ANDERSON CONSULTING INC $110,800
DELOITTE INC $264,848
DESTINATION LEADERSHIP INC $57,707
DEVFACTO, TECHNOLOGIES INC $475,326
DIONA TECHNOLOGIES CANADA INC $352,385
DROBOT MANAGEMENT LTD $100,079
EAGLE PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES INC $494,004
ELITE INFORMATION SYSTEMS & CONSULTING INC $180,897
ERGO GROUP $183,237
FCI ACCELERATED SOLUTIONS INC $1,512,464
FRONTIER CONSULTING LTD. $157,115
FUJITSU CONSULTING (CANADA) INC. $4,417,415
GADSBY TECHNOLOGIES INC. $85,980
GLOBAL VILLAGE CONSULTING INC $556,542
HORIZANT INC. $385,838
IMAGINIT TECHNOLOGIES $55,526
IBM $30,078,798
INFORMATION SERVICES CORP $536,734
INFRASOFTTECH CANADA LIMITED $89,628
INFUZION TECHNOLOGIES LTD. $104,559
INSIGHTRIX RESEARCH $51,754
INTRAFINITY $258,989
INVERNESS CONSULTING LTD. $738,385
ITC INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANTS LTD $476,268
J.C. KENYON ENGINEERING INC $63,720
JETSTREAM CONSULTING INC $198,851
KAIZEN FOODSERVICE PLANNING AND DESIGN INC $79,314
KD MECHANICAL LTD $160,163
KENNEDY MANAGING CONSULTANTS LTD $295,200
KGS GROUP CONSULTING ENGINEERS & PROJECT MANAGERS $53,940
KONI AMERI TECH SERVICES (CANADA) INC $926,143
KREATE ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN LTD $284,188
KSI RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL INC $291,271
LEADINGEDGE PAYROLL GROUP INC $123,213
LEARNING BAR INC $632,400
LEIDOS CANADA INC $139,188
MARINER INNOVATIONS INC $165,601
MATRIX EQUITIES INC $147,243
MDM INVESTMENTS LTD 150682 ALBERTA LTD $357,880
MIDGARD PROJECT MANAGEMENT LTD $69,870
MNP LLP $68,409
NADINE INTERNATIONAL INC $62,936
NESTOR CONSULTING INC $71,222
NEWWEST ENTERPRISE PROPERTY GROUP (SASK) INC $1,261,661
NORTHERN STRANDS CO. LTD $289,246
ONPATH BUSINESS SOLUTIONS INC $151,636
ORACLE ULC $98,688
ORION SYSTEMS INC $98,688
OXFORD LIBERO CONSULTING LP $730,304
P. MACHIBRODA ENGINEERING LTD. N/A
PARADIGM CONSULTING GROUP INC $4,404,194
PRAKASH CONSULTING LTD $95,756
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLP $211,874
RITENBURG & ASSOCIATES $139,813
RAVEN BAY SERVICES $105,018
RMAN CONSULTING $180,718
ROCOM MANAGEMENT $303,380
ROUNDTABLE MANAGEMENT $206,041
SCOTT SMALL BUSINESS SOLUTIONS $156,776
SECCURIS SOLUTIONS $405,828
SECURITY RESOURCE GROUP $1,880,510
SIERRA SYSTEMS GROUP $1,576,288
SOLVERA SOLUTIONS $4,304,061
SOMOS CONSULTING GROUP $116,800
STANTEC CONSULTING $291,595
SWABZ SYSTEMS INC $67,026
TANNER CONSULTING $107,050
TEKSTROM LTD $63,945
TOEWS CONSULTING LTD $133,342
VANTIX Systems $385,454
VARIMAX INFORMATION $133,607
WALKER PROJECTS $52,517
WEST CENTRAL DEVELOPMENT $139,298
WESTMARK CONSULTINGLLP $735,887
   
Total $82,161,444

 

Central Services dowloadable data spreadsheet (Excel file)